Danas on the road again
By ADAM HICKS
CHASING her dream of playing in the feature US LPGA Tour, golfer Dana Lacey has travelled right across the United States and back to Coraki.
The West Australian has spent the past four years driving around 30 American States playing in the secondary Futures Tour, trying to win a berth on the lucrative LPGA circuit.
“I know which highways go north and south and which ones go east and west,” she said.
Tomorrow she will be among 30 women professionals teeing off in the $16,500 Optus World Ladies Pro-Am at the Coraki Golf Club.
It is the third time Lacey has played in the Coraki Pro-Am, and the event will be her last in Australia before heading back to the Northern Hemisphere.
But this season, Lacey will be playing on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
“I’m flying out to the States on Wednesday. My coach is there and my boyfriend lives there, so I’m going to catch up with him,” she said.
“I’m playing in the first event on the Futures Tour then I’m heading to play the full European Tour.
“I hope it’s going to be a really good year.”
Lacey qualified for the European circuit by winning the qualification school late last year.
“I had played all the same events for four years on the Futures Tour and wanted to broaden my horizons,” the 25-year-old said.
“I went to Q-school, which is just one tournament. Why they call it a school, I don’t know.
“It is just like a qualifying tournament. You play four rounds like normal, except your whole year after that hangs on what happens at that tournament.
“I was four strokes behind coming into the last round and I shot five under to win by a shot. I was playing great all week.
“The top 30 players from Q-school get their cards for the next year so I was pretty confident heading in (to the final round).
“I just went out and had fun, and ended up winning it. I played great all week. My game came together; I was relaxed and not too nervous.”
But Lacey could not extend that form to the Australian Open and the Australian Masters.
“I missed both cuts,” she said.
“I was having some swing issues. I’ve been working with my coach for a year now.
“It was really good, then I had a break over Christmas and my game just wasn’t where I wanted it to be.”
The European Tour will be a chance for Lacey to experience new golf courses and to bankroll another shot at the US LPGA Tour.
“I’ll go all over Europe playing golf,” she said.
“I’ll be playing in all the events and a couple that are worth 500,000 Euro (A$825,000).
“I thought it might be a nice change and a chance to make some money and enter the qualifying school for the LPGA.
“I definitely still want to play on the main tour in the US.”
Coraki Golf Club president Mark Scurr said the course yesterday was in good condition and had escaped most of the rain this week.
“We have a full weekend of activities planned, including a pre-tournament dinner, so we’re really looking forward to it,” he said.
“Spectators at the pro-am are most welcome and admission is free.”
The Pro-Am sponsors include Optus World, Mid-Richmond Plumbing, Strammit Building Products, Eagles Plumbing Plus, Budget Eyewear, Greg Clark Building, M and T Tyres, Trevan Ford, Northern Rivers Izuzu, First National (Evans Head), Thomas Noble and Russell (chartered accountants), Casino Golf Pro Shop, Tooheys, the Commonwealth Bank, NBN Television, The Northern Star and 88.9-FM.