Sammi Stevens was sound asleep early Sunday morning when the phone rang. This was no ordinary call; it was from AJGA Senior Tournament Director Jeremy Freyman, offering her a chance to play at the Rolex Tournament of Champions.
A wrist injury had just sidelined Kyung Kim from the AJGA’s flagship event and Sammi was next on the list.
“I got called Sunday morning and managed to get here by Sunday night,” said Sammi, who traveled 500 miles via plane and automobile to reach Blessings Golf Club in time for Monday’s practice round.
Fortunately, Sammi’s plate was clear as she made the trek to compete in her first AJGA Invitational.
“It was the one week this summer that I didn’t have a tournament, so it worked out perfectly,” she said. “It is an honor just to be here and I’m just hoping I can make the cut and go from there.”
Her hopes of making the cut might become a bit loftier after a 1-over-par 73 left her a shot off the first-round lead. Especially given her improvement during the round.
“I had a rough front nine, shot 40, but caught fire on the back and shot 2-under,” she said. “I had birdies on 12 and 13 and I got a lot of momentum going into the last holes.”
After a string of pars on the closing holes, Sammi put the finishing touches on a fine first day. Her 73 was eight shots better than the girls’ field average, putting her not only in range of making the cut, but within striking distance of the lead.
– Rob Coleman, AJGA Communications