Two years ago, at 2021 LPGA Q-Series, Frenchwoman Pauline Roussin dominated the eight-round competition at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Magnolia Grove and Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Highland Oaks, recording a 144-hole total of 32-under to finish one shot behind medalist Narin An. Now, after competing for two years on the LPGA Tour and recording three career top-10 finishes, the 23-year-old is once again near the top of the leaderboard through two rounds at 2023 LPGA Q-Series, currently sitting in a tie for fourth at 8-under.
Roussin opened with a ho-hum 1-under 70 on the Falls Course at Magnolia Grove and then found her stride on Friday in Lower Alabama, carding seven birdies en route to a bogey-free 7-under 65 on the Crossings Course. Three of those birdies came in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 11 to 14, two of which were back-to-back on the par-5 13th and the par-3 14th holes. Overall, Roussin was pleased with her performance on day two of LPGA Q-Series and credits her putting as the reason for her low second-round number. Her positive past experiences at Magnolia Grove certainly helped as well.
“I was close on a couple of shots with a couple of wedges, but then the rest was just like six-meter putts, seven-meter putts that I did well,” said the University of South Carolina alum. “I like the greens. They are very similar to what I used to have at South Carolina, at the university. I've been practicing on this grass for the past couple of days, same in South Carolina. And then it's pretty wide off the tee, which really helps.
“Honestly from what I remember from those two weeks, I remember the course way tighter off the tee and way more just different from two years ago. I guess it helps that I know that I have good memories, so it puts good vibes in the mix.”
After a solid rookie year in 2022 that saw the two-time Ladies European Tour winner finish 69th in the Race to the CME Globe and earn five top-20 finishes, Roussin struggled this season on the LPGA Tour. She recorded one top-10 result, a tie for eighth at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, and missed 11 cuts in her 20 total starts, finishing 132nd in the Race to the CME Globe, 32 spots outside of the top-100 cutoff that would’ve allowed her to maintain full status in 2024.
“Tough” was the word that Roussin used to assess her 2023 season, and while she won on the LET earlier this year at the Aramco Team Series – Singapore in March, the 23-year-old feels like it’s taken her a long time to rekindle that positive energy she found in Asia nine months ago. But after two rounds at LPGA Q-Series, things seem to be on the up for Roussin, and she’ll be looking for that trajectory to continue throughout the next four rounds. She’ll also lean on some of the mental work that she’s been doing to bolster her positivity in recent months, something that Roussin knows is a definite key to her success on the golf course.
“It was a tough year. I had my full card and I have to play these six days to earn it back. Honestly, the last couple of weeks have been way better, and I think I'm on the right slope now, like the upward slope. It was just a grind to get there,” said Roussin. “Yes, I'm out of the woods, but I think they're close behind me, so I'm really focusing on what's happening right now and just keep enjoying myself and keep it very simple.
“I haven't been always positive. It’s because every time I was getting positive and pumped up, every time was even harder to get back because the slap was even harder in the face. So, I was surrounded by the right people. My parents, my team, and my boyfriend especially, because he was the one helping me take the tears away and wiping them out, especially after Pelican. I’m reading a couple of books that are helping me keep a better mindset, and honestly, seeing Amy Yang win at CME, she's an amazing player, she's so inspiring, and so I think about the way she plays and the way she handles herself. She's just the best.”