Ember Schuldt Heads to LPGA Qualifying School
Aug. 23, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Recent Illinois graduate Ember Schuldt is just days away from the newest chapter of her life…LPGA Qualifying School. The Sterling, Illinois, native will play practice rounds at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, on Sunday and Monday before beginning stage one competition on Tuesday, August 26.
Schuldt is one of 285 competitors battling for the ultimate prize of LPGA membership. All competitors will play 72 holes in the first stage with a minimum of the top-60 competitors earning second stage entry. The second stage is slated for September 30 – October 3 at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida. The top 80 golfers will then move to the third stage of Qualifying School held from December 3-7. Top finishers of the third round will receive LPGA membership while all other participants completing 72 holes will obtain Symetra Tour status.
The former Illini golfer took up golfing at the age of seven when she began junior lessons. By the age of 10 Schuldt knew that she wanted to golf in college. Around that same time she realized that her dream job was to be an LPGA golfer.
Now, less than a week before qualifying school starts, the three-time NCAA Regionals qualifier shared her thoughts: “I’m excited that the time is finally here after putting in a lot of hard work. I’m ready to go out and play my game”.
Head coach Renee Slone and Schuldt both believe that golfing at Illinois has prepared the 22 year-old for this competition thanks to the opportunity to travel the nation and play in every condition imaginable. The pair also agreed that Schuldt has had the chance to play a multitude of course styles and layouts during her time with the Fighting Illini, an invaluable experience.
Slone expressed that Schuldt will be able to draw from the different situations that she experienced during her time at Illinois and that the competitive schedule against some of the top players will benefit the former Illini.
Coach Slone is one of Schuldt’s nine predecessors from UI to attend Qualifying School. Ember’s forerunners include Karen Karmazin, Lorette Lyttle, Lia Biehl, Terrie Berto, Megan Godfrey, Michelle Campbell, Laurin Kanda, Seul Ki Park, and her own coach. Biehl and Slone played together on the 1995 LPGA Tour as rookies. Slone’s knowledge and experience from Qualifying School and the Tour has helped prepare Ember as to what she should expect of the opportunity.
Schuldt has kept busy since the conclusion of her collegiate career. After graduation this past spring, she competed at the Illinois Women’s Open in Romeoville, Illinois. Ember shot rounds of 72-77-72 respectively at the Mistwood Golf Course placing her in a final tie for second place. The two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar also qualified for the second straight year for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Competition. Schuldt shot rounds of 72 and 71 during stroke-play to tie for 15th. Her score was also enough to make the cut where she then made it to the round of 32 at the Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, New York.
As the Illinois graduate heads into her first stage of Qualifying School she knows that she’ll need to play her game and not to worry about the other competitors, to just keep grinding. Her advice to aspiring young golfers is to “follow your dream, we might as well do it while we’re young”. Schuldt also shared “I am so grateful for coach Slone and all of her help, support and encouragement throughout my four years. I could not have had a better coach and mentor.”
Coach Slone’s advice to Ember is to stick to her routine and treat it like any other tournament. She continued to share that “people get caught up in making [qualifying school] a huge deal and to approach it as any tournament she has competed at in the past”. The veteran coach reminds Schuldt to have confidence in her game and to keep in mind that Ember knows what she is capable of achieving and how well-prepared she is for this opportunity. And lastly, to go in and enjoy this experience.
Ember will be blogging about her experience at Qualifying School. Her posts will be available on the team’s Chip Shots blog.