Photo Courtesy of Steven Gibbons/USGA
Junior Jacquie LeMarr recently caddied for Marijosse Navarro at the USGA Girls Junior Championship from July 21-26. Together, the pair put together an incredible run that finished with a second-place finish at the tournament held at Flagstaff's Forest Highlands Golf Club. She recently wrote a blog for nauathletics.com detailing her experience.
Kudos to the Golf Channel for making caddies cool again!
Between numbers and statistics involved in the USGA's 66th U.S Junior Girls National Championship, the press was still able to create an air of celebrity normally accustomed to professional tournaments and not amateur championships.
I had the absolute pleasure this past week to carry the bag for Marijosse Navarro, a 17-year-old Texas A&M freshman from Mexico, who is certainly now a superstar in her own right. Fortunately for me I was given my share of the spotlight.
I was given the opportunity by Marijosse's college coach who was looking for some local knowledge and previous USGA Championship experience, which proved to greatly benefit Ms. Navarro all the way to the finals of the match play portion of the Championship.
The amount of press and attention that the caddies received at the championship last week was unheard of, and I didn't even hit a shot. It was a great feeling to know that people recognize that caddies are just as important in the round as players. It also made me recognize how important it is to acquire the right kind of talent on the bag with you. Throughout the weeklong event we created a bond. We discussed every shot, every angle and every putt together. We selected every club and we picked every target together as a team. I helped her keep her focus and she continued right on winning match after match, hitting a 50 foot, double-breaking putt to garner a spot in the finals on Saturday.
The Golf Channel took great delight in our "story"; local college golfer 'carrying' the bag for the next young, up and coming, future LPGA star to victory after victory. Our rapport and communication, or maybe just the sight of us enjoying being together, was often cited on-air as the reason for her weeklong success. We were both interviewed after every round, something unheard of in today's media environment, and asked equally about our relationship and its importance, as well as the shots decided and played. Comments were made abound of the observations of her gaining confidence after each round; I, commenting on her amazing shot making and ball striking, and she, on my advice and commitment to her on the course, a truly unique circumstance in this sport.
Out of the 1,118 entries for this year's championship, Marijosse and I were able to work together through 202 holes at Forest Highlands Golf course this past week to help decide the names on the trophy that boasts the likes of Pat Hurst, Nancy Lopez, and Annika Sorenstam. We learned a great deal from each other. I taught her to be confident and committed to every shot and she taught me the strength of teamwork. Our time together was memorable and powerful. Marijosse will go on to do great things and I hope to be paired with her on the tour one day and meet again.