End Of A Long Journey
Makes 21-Hour Plane Trip From Competition In Thailand To Compete
In Final Women's Amateur
David Shefter, USGA
Twenty-one hours. That's
how long it took Katie Futcher
to get to The Kahkwa Club
for this week's U.S. Women's Amateur.
wasn't your average player's journey, but then again, this wasn't
your average excursion, either.
a 23-year-old Penn State
graduate, competed at the
World University Games in Korat, Thailand
Aug. 2-5. It is an event she
won in a two-hole playoff over Thailand
after the two tied at 294.
team also took the title for the first time since 1992.
as soon as the event concluded, Futcher had a five-hour flight to
Tokyo, followed by a 10-hour flight to Los Angeles. After clearing
customs, she boarded another plane for Pittsburgh (five hours) and
then had a quick one-hour jaunt to Erie. She arrived here at 11
p.m. last Saturday night,
long enough to recover from the jet lag and get some much-needed
to say, she didn't play a practice round on Sunday, although another
World University Games participant and Women's Amateur contestant,
Carol Green, did get some practice in
wasn't in the best [condition], said Cutler, who is from The Woodlands,
I was lucky enough to play here a couple of weeks ago. I made the
one-day trip from my grandparents' house in Bethlehem
The greens were slower and the fairways weren't cut. They didn't
want to burn anything out [before the championship].
competing in her fourth Women's Amateur, had little trouble on Monday,
shooting an even-par 72, but posted an 80 Tuesday to qualify for
wasn't myself today, said Futcher after signing her card. I think
I was feeling a little bit [fatigued].
is quite used to going the extra distance at this championship.
Last year, she needed 21 holes to eliminate Kristen
in the first round and then
played 19 holes in a second-round loss to Lisa
Meldrum. Futcher is hoping for a little
better result in her last competition as an amateur. She is turning
pro next week and plans to play the final two Futures Tour events
of the season.
got to enjoy every minute of it, said Futcher, who spent the last
seven months doing an internship in Houston
to become certified to take
the Registered Nutritionist Exam. It's a fantastic course and I'm
with my boyfriend ( Rob Schutte
) and my dad flew up. I'm three
hours from Penn State.
also is happy to be back in the U.S.
where she can enjoy the little
things, like a Dairy Queen Blizzard with extra Oreos and chocolate
was a great experience, but it makes you appreciate what you have
here, said Futcher. The people over there were so hospitable.
They were very kind.
though Futcher graduated last
December, she held off turning pro so she could compete at the World
University Games and play the Women's Amateur one last time. She's
still unsure if she wants to make a career out of golf, so she'll
use these two Futures Tour events and next year on that circuit
to decide if she'll take that route.
one reason why she chose to do the internship immediately following
time away from golf put everything into perspective, said Futcher.
I knew if I turned pro right out of school, I wasn't going to want
to go back and study, so I wanted that done and out of the way.
the internship didn't give her much time to work on her game. The
competition and Thailand
served as a warm-up for the Women's Amateur. On Wednesday, she opens
match play against 2004 USA Curtis Cupper Paula Creamer.
love match play, she said. It's my favorite. I just love competing.
I love head to head competition.
is a USGA staff writer.
E-mail him with questions and comments at email@example.com.