NCGA Golf

Summer 2019

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NCGA.ORG | SUMMER 2019 35 M ina Harigae didn't actually watch the LPGA growing up in Monterey. She'd heard about Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa, but mostly went into her career of choice blind. Harigae described the depth of talent on the LPGA as a "shocker." This coming from a player who won the first of four California Women's Amateur titles at age 12, and was a member of the 2008 U.S. Curtis Cup team. "I think the general public thinks that it's this glam- orous life of private jets and fancy hotels and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for dinner," Harigae said. "In reality, some weeks we do our laundry in the bathtub because we don't want to spend $15 for our shirt to get cleaned." Harigae, 29, left Duke after one semester and turned professional in 2009. She won three events on the Symetra Tour that season to earn her LPGA card and began traveling the globe as a 20-year-old. Her highest finish on the money list, 44th, came in 2012. She's had a smattering of top-10 finishes but has never finished higher than a share of fifth. Her big goal for 2019: get back inside the top 50 on the money list. "It's like a second-coming of my career I feel like," she said, "admitting to myself that I wasn't having fun … that it was very stagnant." Harigae got engaged to Travis Kreiter over New Year's and gives herself around-the-house incentives to stay motivated. A strong week at an event means more money for a home-improvement project or back- yard putting green. Harigae calls it "adulting." Kreiter played professionally for a while until his sponsorship money dried up. He now caddies for his fiancée, who appreciates his positive and motivating mentality. Looking back, Harigae wishes she had been more prepared before she came to the LPGA – wishes she had done more research, talked to people who were better than her. Her advice to others? Go to an LPGA event and talk to players. "Every week we have a junior clinic," she said. "Just go out there and see what we have to say. Because we really are nice." Life on Tour not as glamorous as you think By Beth Ann Nichols THE PLAYER: Mina Harigae AP AP AP

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