“Let the golf speak for itself. I like that quote.”
That’s the gameplan for 23-year-old Anita Uwadia as she takes on the second week of LPGA Q-Series, fighting to become an LPGA Tour rookie next season. A four-year player for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, Uwadia embarked on her first professional season in 2020, earning Symetra Tour status through Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament in 2019.
“You know, to be here and to be able to be doing it, it's quite nice. In terms of tournament, of course you know it's a life-changing experience getting your card and so on,” said Uwadia, who also made her LPGA Tour debut at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational after winning the inaugural John Shippen Invitational alongside Shasta Averyhardt. “At the same time, you don't want to overplay it and make it bigger than it actually is, because it's just another tournament.”
She struggled in her rookie season on Symetra amid the COVID-19 pandemic and missed the cut in all three of her Tour appearances. But 2021 was a breath of fresh air. Making the weekend in eight of 12 events, Uwadia posted two top-15 results in her last five starts to ultimately finish the year 73rd in the Race for the Card, getting straight through to Stage II. In a competition where only 47 of the 179 qualified for made it into Q-Series, Uwadia said she never looked at a scoreboard and put less pressure on herself as opposed to 2019 – but the nerves were still ever-present.
“That's one of the hardest stages. To be fortunate enough to be part of the 40 girls that made it out or 29 or whatever it was, that's just great. You know that you can play. It's basically a confidence booster, but also sigh of relief, like you say. You can breathe now,” said Uwadia. “I remember I was talking to my playing partner and I was like, ‘I think my heart jumped out my mouth a couple times this round.’ Both of us were just laughing about it, and then I had a friend texting me like, ‘Are you breathing yet?’ I'm like, ‘I think I died a couple times now, but, yeah, I'm breathing.’”
Uwadia still had to make it through another cut at Q-Series in Mobile, Ala. before moving on to Dothan this week. By the third day’s end, she was T46 after a Saturday 69, but it all came down to making par on her closing hole, the par-5 18th on the Falls Course at Magnolia Grove. Uwadia now has 72 holes left to seal her fate for the 2022 season, and still thinks of that final putt from last Sunday.
“But I think the last week the funny thing is I had a putt I think it was like a 25- or 30-footer. I thought I had to make it to qualify. It just came up short. Just pin-high on the left a couple of inches. I was kind of bummed. I thought I missed it because I was like, ‘Dang it, I missed by one shot,’” said Uwadia. “Then my mom and my caddie and my best friend, she basically told me, ‘Oh, yeah, you made it right on the number.’ I was like, ‘No way. I've played my round over and over again looking at the scores. Are you sure we didn't miss something?’”
“I end up on the number. I probably should take it into this week and not look at the leaderboard and just play golf. That's probably what I should do this week.”