On May 26, Kennedy Swann arrived at Grayhawk Golf Club in Phoenix, Arizona, where she would tee off the day for the 2021 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships. Eighteen holes later, Swann and her team defeated the state of Oklahoma at Ole Miss, making history and memories she never expected.
“Originally, I didn’t really want to go back a fifth year. When I found out everything was canceled because of COVID, I thought, ‘I’m done like I’m not going to be a pro. I’m not interested in playing for a fifth year or going back. I’ll go into the workforce and see what happens, ‘”Swann said. “Then my assistant coach and my dad kind of teamed up against me and started calling me a bunch and sowing the seeds. At some point I got the idea and I’m so glad I did. Of course we won a national championship, that was a really cool way to go out and it was really why I came back in my fifth year. I feel like I’ve had a decent spring [season], but I wanted something more. “
After completing her college career with great success, this week in California she is ready to work towards the next chapter of her career. Swann has practiced on each of the classes this week to prepare for the long and hot days. The native Texan has experience from her amateur career which she looks back on at high level competitions which has helped her get to where she is today.
“I’m originally from Texas, so I grew up in quite a heat. I remember there was a U.S. amateur qualifier that I played in Houston and it was about the same, up to 102 degrees, but the humidity was 99% so it felt like it was around 120 degrees would be, ”said Swann.
This week, Swann not only draws from experiences like the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship or US Women’s Amateur Championship (where she finished fifth), but also from her environment. Over the past year she has been vigilant in seeking advice from as many professionals as possible who were in her position.
“I played with Bianca Pagdanganan a few times in college and then I played the first two rounds of the Marathon Classic with her and asked her a lot of questions. She started in Phase I and made it through the Q series to get LPGA Tour status which is really cool to see her so successful, so I talked to her about it, ”said Swann. “I also played the rehearsal round with Maria Fassi and it was really cool to hear from her too. I also have a couple of my old Clemson teammates here and have been through it a couple of times. I’ve also played practice rounds with girls who have been here before, so I’m quite a talkative person and tend to ask a lot of questions to get so much information. “
INSPIRED BY HER SISTER, KIM PREPARES FOR THE WEEK
From Nelly and Jess Korda to Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn to Brooke and her caddy / sister Brittany, the support and passion between the sisters who play the game they play together doesn’t seem to be lacking. This week Auston, the younger sister of Symetra Tour member August Kim, is at Rancho Mirage in hopes of accompanying August on tour through the LPGA qualifier.
“My dad took August to golf and I’m younger than her, so I was five when I started, she was 10. I just went in because I had nothing else to do. I followed in their footsteps but after a while I really got into it and enjoyed it, ”said Kim. “To see how committed she has been (throughout her career) is really impressive. As a younger sister in particular, I take great pride in watching her do what she loves. She’s the one who told me this week that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and being as stable as possible. “
Auston currently ranks 129th on the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) and recently completed her junior year at Vanderbilt University. Since she competed in the US Women’s Open last year, she has competed in the Augusta Women’s National Amateur and Curtis Cup. Looking at a weekend of golf, Auston was more excited than you’d think of 72 holes. She shared how she not only played the courses before, such as Dinah Shore for the Junior ANA Championship, but also the experience of two rounds in one day makes her happy.
“This has been on my professional timeline since I started college. I wanted to play Q-School for the summer after my junior year. On the one hand it’s crazy how much time has passed, but on the other hand I’m looking forward to starting a professional career, ”said Kim. “I really enjoy playing 36 holes. I’m not sure why, but somehow I like to know that I’ll be on the course all day where I can’t be anywhere else. I’m not worried about something that I know there is a lot of golf to play and I just enjoy shot after shot. “
Above all, Auston was able to start the week with her loved ones and celebrate her 21st birthday.
“I just started the week on a good grade, surrounded by my family, before getting involved in many holes in golf. It was good to see them and to have a good time with them because I love being with the family all the time. “
CORPUZ HOPES TO FOLLOW THE PATH OF THE FELLOW-USC TROJANS
This week, 340 players in California will be playing in hopes of status for the 2022 season and one day will compete against each other on the world’s largest stage in women’s golf, the LPGA Tour. Many players drop out of competitive golf after a few months off the week because they finished their college season in the spring.
“I can’t lie and say I’m not nervous because it’s definitely a big event, but I know that I’ve worked hard to prepare and as long as you do the right things, hopefully I’ll get through. It’s actually just a marathon, not a sprint. It’s definitely hot up here, so just try to practice, but make sure I don’t overdo it in the heat, ”said Allisen Corpuz, a graduate of the University of Southern California. “My parents are out here and my dad is actually going to be my caddy this week. My swing trainer, who I’ve worked with for the past two years, is here and then I also work with our sports psychologist from my time at USC. I think putting everything in perspective and trying to make things simple and keep it simple is keeping my head pretty clear. “
Corpuz is an excellent amateur who is currently ranked 9th on the WAGR. She won medalists twice in her career with the Trojans and was 13th in the Augusta Women’s National Amateur. To this day, she says she is most proud of the education she received at USC.
“I would actually say my two degrees. I went back for my fifth year and did my masters. I’ve heard from a lot of people that when you leave college you don’t go back and I think that I’m really happy to be finished, but at the same time it’s really nice to know that something nobody can take away from me, ” said Corpus.
Starting tomorrow, the Trojans will be represented around the world with Corpuz in California and Sophia Popov in Scotland defending their titles at the AIG Women’s Open.
“I remember when she won the British last year and just watched the highlights, putting put and taking shot after shot under pressure. I also remember watching her share her struggles with her health problems. I think that’s obviously her story, but there are so many other LPGA players who take inspiration from their stories and I think it’s great to see how successful she is using that win as a stepping stone and playing really solidly. “