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Love of the game

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Everything’s coming together for ex-Lobo Jodi Ewart Shadoff

A standout golf game can certainly pay dividends in the world of big-time business. In fact, many executives claim the course is one of the best, if not the best, places to close a deal.

But it’s not a bad place to start a deal either – and not just with financial matters.

A golf course can also spark the flames of romance. Especially if you’re an Albuquerque sportscaster and a University of New Mexico women’s golf star.

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“I interviewed her after she won the Mountain West championship at UNM (Championship Course),” former Duke City TV sportscaster Adam Shadoff says of his introduction to ex-Lobo golfer Jodi Ewart in 2008. “That was the first time I met her. I asked her if she wanted to play golf some time. We went to Isleta and played golf, and that was it. We started dating.”

Dating, however, wasn’t all of it. That day at Isleta Eagle Golf was actually the beginning for Shadoff and Ewart. The two married this past winter.

Was she smitten by his swing?

“It didn’t hurt,” Shadoff said, when asked if his strong golf game helped during the courting.

These days, it’s Jodi’s strong golf game that’s turning heads.

And a week from today, she begins her quest to court one of the biggest prizes in golf – the Ricoh Women’s British Open – in St. Andrews, Scotland.

“It’s really exciting to go back, especially since I’m playing so well,” says Ewart Shadoff, a native of Middleham, England.

“I get to play St. Andrews, which is one of my favorite golf courses in world. I just hope the weather will be nice.

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“My parents are coming for the week. I have couple of cousins and uncles coming, and it will be great to have Adam there. He doesn’t get to watch me play too often.”

The Shadoffs make their home in Sarasota, Fla., where Adam is a television sports anchor for SNN6 TV, a 24-hour network available on cable only.

Ewart Shadoff, who says she will drop the Ewart part of her name after the season, is in her third year on the LPGA Tour.

The couple’s first date was memorable for a number of reasons.

LPGA golfer Jodi Ewart Shadoff met her husband, Adam Shadoff, in Albuquerque. Their first date was on the golf course at Isleta Eagle. (Courtesy of Cat Pennenga)

LPGA golfer Jodi Ewart Shadoff met her husband, Adam Shadoff, in Albuquerque. Their first date was on the golf course at Isleta Eagle. (Courtesy of Cat Pennenga)

“We went out on a really windy day at Isleta, and I made her play from the back tees,” says Adam, 33, who played varsity golf, soccer and ran track at Sandia Prep, from where he graduated in 1997.

“I had a really good round in the conditions and shot 1 over, and I actually beat her by one or two shots. And I know she was trying hard. She claims that she let me win, but I know that she didn’t, because she’s way too competitive for that.

“I think she was like, ‘wow, you’re actually a pretty good golfer,'” Adam says with a laugh. “But I’ve never beaten her since. We’ll play a couple times a month.”

Ewart Shadoff says, “I like to tease him that I let him win, but he really did beat me – the first and last time. He impressed me. He was very nice and I could tell he was a good player. But we played from the tips (the farthest distance from tee box to green), so he had a little advantage.”

Ewart Shadoff, 25, is in the midst of a brilliant season. The 2010 UNM graduate in psychology tied for fourth at the U.S. Women’s Open earlier this month at Sebonack, Long Island. It was her second top-10 in a major this season, having tied for seventh at the Kraft Nabisco. She led after the first round of that one.

Last weekend, she fired a bogey-free, final round 66 to tie for third at the Marathon Classic in Toledo. It was her best finish on the LPGA Tour.

With the three top 10s, she is 45th in the Rolex World Golf Rankings, her highest ever ranking. She is second on the tour in greens in regulation, 20th on the money list ($356,000), and 21st in scoring average (71.14).

She has a great shot to make the European Solheim Cup team, which she says “is a huge goal.”

If she does, she will represent Europe in the matches – the women’s version of the Ryder Cup – in Parker, Colo., in mid-August.

“I think I’m in good position. We’ll see what happens,” she says. “I’m used to playing at that altitude, which is a huge factor, and I love match play. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance.”

Ewart Shadoff excelled at altitude and everywhere else at UNM. She played in the Curtis Cup (the amateur version of the Solheim Cup) at St. Andrews, was a three time All-American and won a school record five individual titles.

Her 73.11 career stroke average is a whopping 1.27 shots better than the second best in school history.

Still, there was that one match play loss the summer between her sophomore and junior seasons. A loss that led to she and Shadoff gaining each other as spouses.

“We got along so well,” Jodi says. “It didn’t take very long at all before we got serious. We’re so similar in so many ways. We have a lot in common. We met in late April, and I went home to England for the summer. We only knew each other a month, and he came out to England for a week. That shows how serious it became so fast.”

Adam, who received a bachelor’s degree in communication’s from Syracuse in 2001 and master’s in broadcast journalism from the University of Miami in 2002, says ,”It’s difficult during the season, with her being away a lot. We spend a lot of time together in the offseason.

“Next week will be only be the second time I get to see her play a major championship, and it’s awesome because it’s on a course that’s the home of golf … and just a few hours’ drive from her home in North England. It’s pretty cool.”

Tip of the week

I play with many amateurs that prepare for their shot over the ball. This causes poor alignment. For the right handed golfer, they tend to aim too far to the right and try to swing back towards the target. This creates an over-the-top move. Arms lead, lower body lags behind and usually too much grip pressure. Ball starts left and slices back to the right. A very weak golf shot with no height.

To combat this problem, practice aligning correctly and learn to swing to your target. Come from behind the ball. Take your target and continue your eye sight back to the ball. At that point pick something in front of your ball (6 to 8 inches), then walk in and square your club face to that spot. Don’t look up at target and adjust by sight; trust your spot. After the club head is square, make your feet and shoulders are parallel to the target. For a right-handed player, feet will be left of the target and club head going to the target. Now make swings over the spot you picked so you can determine where the ball is starting. A ball starting at the target is good. If it moves left or right, that is “club face.” If it starts left or right, that is “swing plane.” Learn to put the two together for solid golf shots.

Make alignment part of your pre-shot routine and trust. If it looks wrong, start over from behind not over the ball. Remember, play ready golf. Start this process while partner is hitting.

— Wright Zimmerly, head pro, Ladera Golf Course

Product of the week

d01_jd_25july_productEver wonder what your swing looks like? Or what your playing partner is trying to tell you is wrong with it?

There’s a way to get an instant visual of your swing on your smart phone. The SwingSmart Duo system ($249.99) features a small (less than 1 ounce) Bluetooth-enabled sensor module that clips to the shaft of any club, and communicates with the company’s free app to give you an instant look at your swing from every angle and in 3D.

It’s also a great way to store information for your next golf lesson. SwingSmart functions on Android and iOS devices and features HiQ Technology.

It can show you your tempo, swing speed, face angle, shaft lean and highlights the exact route of the club head from any angle right on your smart phone or tablet.

For more information, visit swingsmart.com.

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