LPGA Rookie Britney Yada Stops for Rest in Bass River Township

Jun 07, 2017
Courtesy of: Mayor Deborah Buzby Cope Patti Groff, Deborah Buzby-Cope, Britney Yada and Dave Cope outside Groff’s house in Bass River.

Britney Yada wasn’t happy Saturday evening. She had done well for the first day of the ShopRite LPGA Classic at the par-71 Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, but at the end of the second day, she had failed to make the cut that would have allowed her to play Sunday. The worst part was she wouldn’t get a paycheck. “If you don’t make the cut, you don’t get a penny,” said Yada. “I was six over par, and I need to be 2 over par to make it; four strokes isn’t bad, but I wish I could have made them!”

The 25-year-old from Hawaii had a good collegiate career, winning two tournaments playing for Portland State University. She now lives in Phoenix, where she won 10 tournaments on the local “Cactus Tour” before she qualified for the LPGA tour last January.

“I’ve been golfing since I was 8, but I became professional in the fall of 2013,” she explained. “The qualifying school has three stages. The first is a four-day tourney in August, the second is four days played in October, and the final is five days played in December. From the final stage, one to 20 players get a full LPGA card for the following year; 21 to 45 players get partial status, but more members get to play, up to 144. I finished 168, and my number hopefully gives me eight starts this year. I only get to play when 24 decide not to play; every week an alternate list is created.”

The competition Yada plays against includes the best golfers in the world, she noted. “It has been a little intimidating, playing with girls that you’ve seen on TV – and I’m with them. But this is only the third event of the year. Once I get comfortable, know a few more people, I’ll step up my game.

“This has been my dream for many years. I told myself that if I have the opportunity, I’ve got to take it.”

Yada said the Seaview course is a tough one. “It’s called links-style golf, and there was a lot of really tall grass just off the fairway, grass up your knees, and it’s really hard to swipe out of. You have to hit straight all day. I was in the grass a couple of times and I hit it out – I swung out of my shoes and hacked it out.”

“I need to just keep improving year to year. There’s no time limit; I’ll just keep putting myself in the tournaments and get more and more comfortable.”

On Monday, she was off to Toronto to play in the Manulife LPGA Classic.

The economics major, like other PGA rookies without commercial advertising sponsors, has to be frugal when traveling. She was lucky to hook up with the Cope and Groff families in Bass River Township, who provided her lodging, meals and transportation free of charge for the two days. For their part, the family got to attend the tour and experience the thrill of watching Yada play. Bass River Mayor Deborah Buzby-Cope and her husband, Dave Cope, are friends of a friend of Yada’s that she found through Facebook. “Facebook has been incredible for making these kinds of connections,” said Yada. Buzby-Cope’s mother, Patti Groff, had the spare bedroom in the log cabin just next store to Buzby-Cope’s horse farm. Nikita Cope, a member of her college’s equestrian team, got to meet a professional athlete. And Yada got to relax, play pool and eat home-style food in rural Bass River.

“It’s been a great experience,” said Yada. “The family has been wonderful.”

— Pat Johnson




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