A week after Fort Wayne lost a player on the LPGA Tour, another may be in the process of stepping up.
Last week, Amanda Blumenherst announced she was stepping away from the LPGA Tour to spend more time with family. Last weekend, Bishop Luers graduate Kristi O'Brien survived the first round of qualifying school in California. O'Brien tied for 42nd among 241 players in the four-day tournament to earn a spot in the second of three stages needed to qualify for the LPGA Tour.
Competing in Q-school for the first time, O'Brien, 23, shot 71, 78, 72 and 73 in Palm Springs, Calif. The top 80 scores plus ties advance to stage two of qualifying in Venice, Fla. At the very least, O'Brien has qualified for the Symetric Tour, the LPGA's version of the Web.com Tour.
"It'll be the same intensity, and I got to know what Q-school is like so now I know what to expect going there,'' O'Brien said. "I feel like I can do it again. I just have to work hard. Anything can happen. I pretty much know in golf that I need to stay patient. Things will happen. I have put the hard work in so I can't get frustrated when it doesn't happen right away. I just have to be patient.''
O'Brien got some help from her husband, Ben Moster, who caddied for her in California. They met while attending Indiana-University-Purdue University Indianapolis and were married last May.
"He keeps me very calm,'' she said. "We mesh well together on the course, and we need that. He knows my game very well. We see the same putts and the same line. We agree on club selection. Having that so much makes it a lot easier because you can fully believe it's the best shot.''
Ben works for an accounting firm in Indianapolis and the couple lives in Fishers.
The 2011 Fort Wayne women's city champion, O'Brien said she wanted to try turning professional because she didn't want to have any regrets later.
"It's fun because I get to do something I've always dreamed of doing,'' she said. "I just want to fully enjoy it. Sometimes you forget it because you want it so bad, but I've learned in a short of amount of time I've been doing this that you have to be patient. The more you force the worse you are going to play.
"You just have to worry about what you can control and staying in the moment and keeping yourself calm. Everybody is going to be nervous, but it's who handles it the best.''