Standout College Players Turning Pro this week on Futures Tour

By: Dave Andrews

Maria Hernandez

The 2009 NCAA Championship is history, and the golfers who were entered find their college careers over. This week, several top names in women's college golf will be competing for the first time as professional golfers on the Futures Tour. The new pros will be teeing it up and competing for the money in the $110,000 Ladies Titan Tire Challenge in Marion, Iowa. It is the seventh stop on the 2009 Futures Tour, and several recent college grads are anxious to see how their games will hold up against the more established pros on the LPGA's official developmental tour.

Many of the new rookies on tour were All-Americans. That is a great achievement and looks good on the resume, but it will account for nothing when it comes to cashing a check as a professional. The Futures Tour is full of players with equally impressive college credentials. Many of them have spent several years on the tour, trying to reach the next level: the LPGA.

Two names on the list of new college grads to look for in this week's field in Iowa are Pernilla Lindberg and Maria Hernandez. Lindberg, from Bollnas, Sweden, just concluded her career at Oklahoma State. She finished in third place in individual play last week at the NCAA Championship. She also won the Futures Tour's Q School tournament last fall as an amateur. Hernandez, from Pamplona, Spain, just completed her college at Purdue. She won the individual crown at last week's NCAA Division I Championship.

Amanda Blumenherst

Both Lindberg and Hernandez have a long list of achievements as amateurs and both are considered likely contenders in upcoming events on the Futures schedule. Some of other rookies on the tour to keep any eye are Jane Chin from the University of California-Irvine, Mallory Hetzel of the University of Georgia, Blair Lamb from Furman University, and Jennie Lee of Duke.

One of the best-known college players of all time will make her professional debut next week on the Futures Tour. Duke All-American Amanda Blumenherst has one of the most impressive records in the history of women's amateur and collegiate golf in this country, including a victory in last year's U.S. Women's Amateur and being named the NCAA player of the year in her first three seasons at Duke. She will go for her first check as a professional in the Michelob ULTRA Duramed Futures Players Championship in Decatur, Illinois (June 11th - 14th). That is the same event where Lorena Ochoa made her professional debut in 2002.

The Futures Tour was idle last week. This week's event in Marion is the first of four events on the tour's Midwestern swing. There are 11 events remaining in this season's schedule, culminating with the I Love New York Championship in Albany in early September. The top 10 finishers on the season's money list will earn membership on the LPGA Tour for the 2010 season.

Pernilla Lindberg

Dave Andrews is a Harvard-educated former television news reporter. He's also an avid golfer who has become a fan of the Duramed Futures Tour. His home course in Concord, N.H., is annually the site of one of the tour's events. The inspiration for Dave's 2007 novel, "Pops and Sunshine," came from meeting many of the young aspiring women golfers on that tour. Each of them has a passion, dedication and determination that he finds remarkable. His novel is a fictionalization of the dream that these young women share. To order Dave's book, visit