GREENSBORO, NC — As the season nears the end and the competition level is high, players have been furiously punching numbers at home to see what they need to accomplish to ensure they are in the top-10 at the end of the year. Last Sunday, on her final hole of the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, Fatima Fernandez Cano found herself with a putt for par. At that point, she knew.
“I knew going into the tournament that I needed at least like I think a T8 or something better to secure my card, which was my main goal for this season,” the 25-year-old Spaniard said. “I was walking on No. 18 on the final round, I looked at my caddy and I said, ‘hey you know we're not going to win this week,’ because I was looking at the leaderboard. But then I said, ‘no matter what happens I just clinched my card for next year.’ And it just kind of sank in, it was just a really cool moment.”
In 2020, despite testing positive for coronavirus twice and being forced to miss two events (FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship and Epson Tour Championship), Fernandez Cano worked her way into the top five courtesy of six top-15 performances across eight starts. One of those top-15 finishes was her first career win at the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort and Spa.
“With Covid-19, it was such an unfortunate time and was devastating to see people losing their lives and their new jobs. I still feel lucky that I had a roof over my head, and I have food on my table, but that put things in perspective a little bit for me,” said Fernandez Cano. “That helped my head space to just be a little more optimistic. I think I was always kind of a positive person before that, but it helped me be a little more positive and be a little more grateful for what I have.”
While Fernandez Cano is proud of her accomplishments, she knows that it all would not have been possible without those who have supported her journey along the way.
“I wouldn't be able to do it if it wasn't for my family back home believing in me and always following me I mean that will be when I make double-bogeys or when I make eagles, it didn’t matter, they love me the same,” said Fernandez Cano. “This year I have been able to also have the Spanish Federation behind me, but also Coach Marcelo Prieto and Patxi Amatriain providing guidance from afar. Belen, Brandt and my Mama have been following every round, it all means so much to me, it’s unbelievable.
Traveling thousands of miles away from home, she has found many people she calls family here as well. From Coach Barnes and Troy University taking a chance on a young Spaniard who never came on site to visit, to Shoal Creek and the membership who welcomed her to practice, to her sponsors and families in Birmingham taking her in and week to week on the road, Epson Tour PT Alex Herzlin, for helping her feel stronger and healthier, each party has been vital in her Road to the LPGA. Each person has helped her become who she is today.
This is a dream come true, a dream Fernandez Cano has had since she was a little girl. She is now officially, a 2022 LPGA Tour Member.
“I'm proud of it honestly it took so much work. This goes back to high school and practicing in the rain in the cold. To having bought a motorcycle so I didn't have to get my mom from work to drive me to the driving range. It goes back to college, working nonstop because I loved it honestly. It goes back to when I finished college and I was broke as I could be and had to caddying for a little bit and save my money. I am really just proud of it all.”