Hoskin ready as she can be for ‘Q-School’

Laura Hoskin has a big opportunity in the United States this week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Laura Hoskin has a big opportunity in the United States this week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
It all seems so simple.

You rock up to a lovely swathe of fairway in California, whack a golf ball a few times, make the cut — and join the richest tour in the sport.

Otago professional Laura Hoskin knows it will not be quite that easy when she plays in the LPGA Qualifying School tournament this week.

Hoskin (25) is back in the US chasing a dream that was just a little disrupted by Covid-19 last year.

She had a taste of the demands of a major tour when she played in China in 2019, but the goal has always been to get a card in America.

At ‘‘Q-School’’, held at the Mission Hills and Shadow Ridge clubs from tomorrow, she will have a shot at earning a ticket to either the LPGA or its developmental cousin, the Symetra Tour.

It is a 72-hole strokeplay tournament with a cut after 54 holes.

Both the cut and how many golfers would qualify for the top tour were only being revealed this week.

Hoskin feels as ready as she can be before a huge week in her career.

‘‘I have done all the preparation that I need to on and off the course and that is what gives me the confidence,’’ she told the Otago Daily Times in an email.

‘‘Coming to the US early to prepare, play and get used to the heat has helped a lot mentally and physically. I also have a great support system around me which plays a huge role in my mentality throughout my time competing and training.’’

Hoskin has her father in California for company, and her mother and boyfriend Matt back in New Zealand offering plenty of support remotely.

She returned to the US, where she played college golf at Ole Miss, on June 28.

She played in two events in the Women’s All Pro Tour, one in Texas and one in Mississippi, which gave her a chance to return to her old college haunts in Oxford.

Hoskin also played in a Cactus Tour event in Palm Springs, and has just got done with two preparatory events hosted by the National Women’s Golf Association at the same courses where Q-School is being held.

‘‘When I came here, for the first three weeks my game was at the best I’ve seen it,’’ she said.

‘‘That gave me a sense of calm. It’s nice not having to focus on technique and swing thoughts when playing.

‘‘Before leaving New Zealand, most, if not all, of my focus was on my short game as it had been such a weakness for so long. But now, I can confidently say that it is one of my strengths.

‘‘I remember playing in China and I was having a really rough time where my body would not link up with the shots my mind pictured. It was the worst.

‘‘But now, thanks to a lot of help and practice behind the scenes, I can play with what I have and put a score on the board which makes the game and competing a lot less stressful’’

Hoskin enjoyed watching Lydia Ko win bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.

She was talking to a mental skills coach about how Ko looked like she was enjoying herself, and she hoped to do the same at Q-School

Life in the US was good, Hoskin said.

‘‘In regards to Covid, it is all very normal and people are getting on with life. There are mask restrictions, of course, but other than that, travel is easy and it all feels as safe as ever.’’

She will return to New Zealand on September 2, hopefully to regroup before planning a return to the US in October.


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