SANTA ANA PUEBLO — Considering Brooke Sturtevant traded in a soccer ball for a golf ball only about four years ago, just being in the combined Albuquerque Women’s Championship and New Mexico-West Texas Women’s Amateur is quite an achievement.
But the recent Hope Christian graduate, who will soon be playing for Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., come the fall, didn’t have the opening round Friday she was hoping for, shooting an 11-over 83 at Twin Warriors.
That leaves Sturtevant nine strokes behind front-runner Ashlee Garrett, and eight behind the logjam of Jennifer Delgadillo, Shanelle Tafoya, Jessica Osden and Naomi Ramirez. The tournament continues today and Sunday at Santa Ana.
Sturtevant’s round went off the rails before getting out of the tee box on the first hole after asking one of the monitors about the length to the pin.
“I wasn’t used to the first hole because I’m used to playing a lot more forward because of high school,” she said. “So I was super confused. I asked the official how far it is and he told me that, ‘Oh, you can’t hit it that far.’ So I thought, ‘OK, you should be fine.’ And I hit it out and I couldn’t find both my balls. So I had to hit a third shot, which made me get an eight.”
Starting off with a 4-over “snowman” was no way to begin her first top-level tournament, Sturtevant said, but it was a good learning experience for what lies ahead in college.
“It definitely frustrated me,” she said. “I just think that I had to make it up. I have to shoot some birdies and drop the score. I tried to keep calm and collected. But this shows how much more competitive it is out there and how much more people want to win.”
A competitive swimmer who helped Hope win the small-school state championship in 2017, Sturtevant didn’t start golfing until the spring of her freshman year.
“I didn’t want to play soccer anymore so I just decided to try it out and ended up loving it,” she said. “When I first started, it was a bit rough but I just kept practicing and it just felt normal. It was kind of like being addicted to it. You hit a good shot and you think, ‘Oh, I can hit more good shots like this.'”
By her junior year, Sturtevant started thinking she might have a shot at a college scholarship.
“I was seeing how other people were getting into these colleges for golf and seeing how I’m playing a little bit better than them so I could get a scholarship as well,” she said. “I try to go out there at least six days a week, practicing for at least two hours a day or more.”
Of the current leading contenders, Delgadillo, an accountant in El Paso, doesn’t get the chance to practice as much as she’d like, especially at Twin Warriors.
“I was a little nervous because I haven’t played Twin in about 15 years,” she said. “And I came in from El Paso (Thursday) night, so I was a little bit nervous. But I told Shanelle (Davis), ‘Wherever you are going, I’m going.’ She was a good leader. Wherever she went, I followed her.”
It led to a steady round with one birdie, four bogeys and 13 pars.
“It was odd, because usually I’m a bit dramatic, but everything was consistent,” said Delgadillo, who has played in the West Texas-New Mexico Amateur at least 10 times before, finishing as high as seventh. “It was a real good, consistent day.
“I was in play all day and I went from there. You can get into trouble so easily out there because there is so much vegetation and native land.”