Tait Enjoying Life As A Pro
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Former UNCW women's golf standout Ashley Tait recorded her first professional victory this week with a five-stroke win on the newly-formed Grasshopper Tour.
Tait captured the title at the Silverado Golf Club stop as she led the 54-hole event wire-to-wire. She opened the tournament with an nine-under-par 63 on Monday and followed that performance with a seven-under 65 on Tuesday and a six-under 66 during Wednesday's final round to cruise to a five-shot victory and earn herself a $3,000 payday.
"The course at the Silverado Golf Club set up really well for my game," said Tait, who graduated in 2010. "The par 5s were fairly short, so I was able to take advantage of the distance and make some birdies, which helped me score low all three rounds."
Despite being on the verge of winning her first professional event, Tait said she was fairly calm as she played the final 18 holes on Wednesday.
"Heading into the final round, I was actually pretty relaxed," she said. "I had a five-stroke lead, so I knew I had to still play well, but still could make a mistake or two and still be ok. I just told myself to enjoy the moment and have fun and because of that I never really felt any pressure."
In its first season of competition, the Grasshopper Tour was started as a way for LPGA members, club professionals and up-and-coming amateur players to get experience during what is traditionally considered the off season for women's golf (Feb.-May).
"The competition on the Grasshopper Tour is awesome," said Tait. "The tour has allowed me to gain valuable experience at an affordable rate as all the events are located in southwest, so much of the costs associated with competing, such as airfare and hotels, are kept to a minimum. It's only in its first season, but the word is getting out there and I think that the Grasshopper Tour will only get better in the years to come."
In addition to her time on the Grasshopper Tour, Tait plans to have a busy summer on the links as she has full-time status for the 2012 season on the Symetra Tour, the official developmental tour of the LPGA.
In three events on the Symetra Tour, Tait has made the cut twice and finished in the top 50 in her most recent appearance in the Riviera Nayarit Classic in late April. She will also begin the process of qualifying for the 2012 US Women's Open later this month when she returns to her native Colorado for sectional qualifying at the Broadmoor Golf Club, host to the 2011 Championship.
"The ultimate goal for me is to make it onto the LPGA tour," Tait said. "I feel like I'm getting better with each round I play, I just need to make a few more birdies and limit my mistakes. I really love the lifestyle and enjoy traveling, so I am going to try to make this my career for as long as I can."
A native of Littleton, Colo., Tait was a three-time All-Conference honoree for the Seahawks as she helped the program capture back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association crowns (2007-08). The 2007 CAA Women's Golf Championships individual medalist, Tait also excelled in the classroom, earning 2009 CAA Women's Golf Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Year honors while being named a four-time National Golf Coaches Association All-Scholar Team honoree.