MIDLAND, MI – In 2014, Shasta Averyhardt was so frustrated and depressed after two seasons on the LPGA tour that she put down her golf clubs to become an accountant.
“I was sick of it … I was frustrated with my inconsistency and felt a little depressed,” said Averyhardt. “But I love competitive golf. I love taking part in competitions. “
The 2004 graduate of Grand Blanc High School got the boost she needed at a sports symposium in Chicago to return in 2018.
“There were great athletes and Olympians talking about their careers,” said Averyhardt. “After that I decided not to end my career. When it was over, I didn’t want to regret it. “
In the opening round of the LPGA Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational on Wednesday, Averyhardt only regretted a crooked putter, which she and her teammate Anita Uwadia after a round in alternate shot format around the age of 60.
The second round on Thursday at the Midland Country Club will be used for the only team event of the LPGA Tour in Best Ball format. Averyhardt and Uwadia won the John Shippen National Invitational at the Detroit Golf Club for an exemption for the Midland event.
“The Shippen was actually the first time I’ve ever played a team event,” said Averyhardt. “You have to get used to it. The most important thing I’ve learned is not to say “I’m sorry” after bad shots. I got tired and hit some bad shots and kept saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ Finally, Anita told me to stop apologizing.
“You feel so responsible for a bad shot, for putting your partner in a bad position. But you can’t do that. You have to keep working on it. “
Averyhardt and Uwadia both play on the Symetra Tour, both hoping for a breakthrough and a place on the LPGA Tour. Averyhardt took part in the LPGA Tour in 2011 and 2013 after playing at the US Women’s Open in 2010.
Averyhardt, who played golf for Flint Central before moving to the Grand Blanc, played collegiate at Jackson State while Uwadia played in South Carolina.
“I played with her on the Symetra Tour and was really impressed with her ability to hit the ball,” said Averyhardt. “We are both strikers and communicate well. You need to be able to speak to your teammate and we’ll do a good job.
“We really had problems putting on the first lap. We hit the ball well. We were solid. We were always on the fairway but we couldn’t get a putt to drop. If we could have done our putts, we would be in a much better position. But many golfers could probably say that. “
Four teams have the first place after one round, all at 5 under par. Defending champions Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura are at the top of the table together with the Korda sister team of the number 1 placed Nelly Korda and Jessica Korda. The other teams at the top are Jillian Hollis-Lauren Stephenson and Pajaree Anannarukarn-Aditi Ashok.
But Averyhardt had something these players didn’t have, a hometown.
“I expected it and I enjoyed playing close to home,” said Averyhardt. “It was a great experience to see so many familiar faces, family and friends.”
After Thursday’s best ball round, the field will be reduced to 35 teams, including ties. After Wednesday’s round, the projected cutting line was 1-over, which gave Averyhardt some hope.
“Our strategy for the best ball is to compete against each other, play aggressively,” said Averyhardt. “It’s the best ball so we can make up ground. But we have to play well, push each other … and do a few putts. “
The last round televised by CBS is Saturday.
5 Things You Should Know About The LPGA Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational
How to See Midlands LPGA Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational