Seventeen days after celebrating her 19th birthday, Emily Collins will be fulfilling her lifelong dream: Competing in the U.S Women's Open.
The Colleyville native will be playing in her first tournament against LPGA pros beginning today at the Broadmoor East Course in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Collins qualified on June 1 at the sectional qualifier at the Prestonwood Country Club in Plano by shooting a 66 in the second round to finish with an even-par score of 142. Former Arlington Heights golfer Chelsea Mocio of Texas A&M also qualified.
Collins finished with the second-lowest score, and her 66 was the lowest round of the tournament.
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A graduate of Nolan Catholic High School, Collins won the TAPPS 5A state title as a junior.
Collins is coming off her freshman season at Oklahoma and will be the second Sooners player to compete in the U.S. Women's Open.
The Star-Telegram caught up with Collins before she left for Colorado with her dad, Mike, who will be her caddie.
What are your thoughts about competing in the U.S. Women's Open? I'm excited. I really don't know what to expect because I've never played in anything professionally. I'm just trying to have fun with it and not get too nervous.
How nerve-racking was the qualifying competition? Yeah, I was pretty nervous. The first round I didn't play too great, so I was thinking I might have a chance if I play really good in the second round. Then I shot 4 under on the first nine of the second round, and I was like, wait, I really have a chance, so I got a little nervous after that, but I just try to stay focused and not think about what was going to happen after I was done.
What has been the reaction from your family? How many will attend the U.S. Open and who will attend? My family is really excited and happy. A lot of my family will be going. My parents, my brother and then all my aunts and uncles from my mom's side are going and I think one on my dad's side. So there is going to be a lot of family and some friends, too.
What do you think is the strength of your game right now? In the qualifier it was probably putting. I putted really well during the qualifier. When I go to the Open I need to make sure I'm hitting fairways and greens, so I have really been working on keeping the ball in the fairway and working on my iron play.
What do you think is the weakness of your game right now? I probably need to work on short-game shots out of the rough because the rough is going to be a lot longer than I'm used to playing.
Where does qualifying for the Open rank in your goals or accomplishments? Definitely number one so far.
When did you start playing golf? I started swinging when I was probably 8 and my first tournament I played in I was 10.
Who is your favorite golfer to watch? It used to be Tiger Woods, but right now my favorite is Rory Mcllroy and on the girls side it's Paula Creamer. She's always been my favorite.
What is your favorite golf course to play? I like my home course a lot, the TPC Four Seasons [Dallas], because it's where I play all the time so obviously I like that a lot. Boyne Highlands in Michigan, I like that course a lot and then Mira Vista [Fort Worth].
What is the toughest course you ever played? The Blessings golf course in Arkansas.
What is the one quick tip you could offer for a golfer who is just beginning to play? Don't get too down on yourself if you're not good right away, because golf takes a lot of practicing and hard work. Try not to swing as hard as you can, and just try to swing easy and the ball will flow a lot better.
Travis Detherage, 817-390-7760