Szeryk’s 16,000 Miles Offer Lessons On Life And Golf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reed On The Greens November 8, 2019
Szeryk’s 16,000 Miles Offer Lessons On Life And Golf
by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioGolf.com

There’s a different tone to Maddie Szeryk’s voice after her rookie season on the Symetra Tour.

The dual citizen hailing from London and living in Allen, Texas, north of Dallas, no longer talks like a star-struck rookie facing new golf courses, new faces and life on the road. After having driven her Honda Civic 16,000 miles across 15 states in her pursuit of an LPGA Tour card, the Texas A&M University Aggies graduate sounds more like a grizzled veteran hungry for victories.

This was a learning season for Szeryk who, at age 23, hopes to build upon a stellar amateur career as she chases her dream.

Golf can be the cruelest of all games. There’s a fine line between winning a tournament and finishing low on the leaderboard. But with a solid Symetra Tour season behind her and much optimism as she begins her sophomore season, the Londoner said she is better at preparing body, mind and spirit for the pro game.

Szeryk graduated from Texas A&M in 2018 as one of the Aggies’ most decorated golfers in history. She set numerous school records during her four-year collegiate career, which included four NCAA titles.

Maddie Szeryk with her Cactus Tour hardware. Photo: Twitter.

“My experience with the Aggies will definitely help me. I learned how to win. Now I just need to get more comfortable out here,” Szeryk said of life on tour. “I was a consistent golfer in college, and that will happen out here, too, once I find that comfort zone.”

A member of Golf Canada’s Young Pro squad after four years on the national amateur squad, Szeryk cut her teeth as a pro in January with a win in her first pro event – a two-stroke victory at the Cactus Tour’s Wildfire Golf Club tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona. In her next Cactus Tour event at the Las Colinas Dallas Cup Series, she finished second.

That win would be Szeryk’s only victory this year. But she finished her rookie Symetra Tour season in 19th spot on the money list with $57,983 over 20 events. At Q-Series in search of an LPGA Tour card for 2020, Szeryk fell short, tying for 71st. Only the top 10 players on the Volvik Race for the Card money list at the end of the year earn full LPGA Tour membership.

Next season, which begins in early-March 2020 in Florida, Szeryk will have full status and a fresh start as a much-learned pro. And while she is at home hitting the gym, practicing and playing casual rounds of golf, the 5’4” former No. 1-ranked Canadian amateur female golfer is taking some time away from competition.

“Right now I’m taking some time away from golf and planning for next year, and evaluating what needs to improve and what I can learn from,” she said. “Obviously my goal was to go to the LPGA Tour. But it was a great year overall, and a great rookie season.

“For the most part I was injury free, but I withdrew from our first Florida tournament with a bad back. I wanted to rest it for the good of the long term. I was just tired from all of the driving and playing. And the next week, my back was fine.”

Over 20 tournaments, Szeryk finished 21st in putts per greens in regulation (1.8), and 16th with rounds in the 60s (19). She also finished in the Top 30 in birdies, rounds under par and scoring average (29th at 71.84).

A big boost for Szeryk came with a second-place finish May 26 at the Zimmer Biomet Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez in Auburn, Alabama. The $300,000 purse was the largest in Symetra Tour history, and awarded Szeryk $28,368.

In total, Szeryk had four Top-10 finishes, but missed the cut at eight tournaments – a stat which is definitely on her radar, and one she plans on eliminating thanks to having one year of pro golf behind her.

Maddie Szeryk. Photo: Symetra Tour.

“I wasn’t used to playing so many tournaments – I played a lot before the Symetra Tour, but not so many back-to-back tournaments. So I’m working on how I can better at managing my practice schedule, because I wasn’t playing consistently good golf like I usually do. I’m trying to find that balance – still practicing a lot, but also getting some rest.”

This winter, she’ll play at two nearby clubs – The Courses at Watters Creek, and at her alma mater’s track where her name is now golf royalty.

“After college golf, you do get nervous to a degree at every tournament,” Szeryk explained, “but I think I settled down after the first few tournaments and felt more comfortable out here. You just do the best you can do and try to go low. That comes with experience of being out here on tour, getting to know the courses and how to handle everything that’s involved with being a touring pro.”

Szeryk said there’s a “big adjustment” when you leave the friendly confines of collegiate golf. She said, “It’s hard knowing that there’s a money part of the game now. But you need to learn to take that out of it and just concentrate on good golf. There’s always going to be another tournament. So I’m trying not to think about the money and keep things simple.

“At the pro level, there are expenses, and it all adds up, including travel expenses. You look at how you’re spending all this money but not making anything. So it gets a little stressful. But it’s part of the job and I just need to take that out. And if I just focus on the golf part, money will follow.”

Maddie Szeryk. Photo: Symetra Tour.

Szeryk might play some Cactus Tour events early in the New Year, but right now she’s preparing to come out of the gate fast on the Symetra Tour. She’s working with a new caddy, Chevy, from Toronto, who was introduced to her by her coach, Team Canada’s Tristan Mullally. At most tournaments this season, Szeryk used a push cart: nobody said pro golf was glamorous.

The Szeryk clan, including youngster sister Ellie, the No. 836 female on the World Amateur Golf Ranking list and a member of Canada’s national junior squad, will make their annual trek to London for Christmas.

Thankfully, Maddie won’t have to make the 1,300-mile drive from Allen, Texas to London in her Honda Civic. But during her 16,000 miles of driving this season, and from tee to green at every tournament, she had a lot of time to think about her future.

“I think I’ve grown a lot, learned how to manage myself,” she said, “(and on the course) I just need to focus on every shot. I can’t get too ahead of myself.

“I’m excited for the future.”

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Jeffrey Reed has been writing about golf for 40 years. His third book, The Canadian Seniors’ Golf Association, Celebrating 100 Years of Seniors Golf, was published in 2018. Contact Jeffrey at jeff@londonontariogolf.com.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.