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Near-win at Augusta National proves to Emilia Migliaccio that she made the right call

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The edge was gone. Emilia Migliaccio acknowledged it instantly. She had reached the quarterfinals of the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst final summer season and felt … nothing.

Not adrenaline. Not pleasure. Not satisfaction.


“The hunger weren’t there,” stated her mom, Ulrika.

Something transformational was afoot.

A senior at Wake Forest, Migliaccio was considered one of the prime 10 amateurs in the world, rising as excessive as No. 3. She’d gained an ACC title and earned a gold medal for the United States at the Pan-American Games. But burnout had begun to set in after a dozen years of competitors, all at an elite degree. The professional recreation not appeared interesting.

Augusta National Women’s Amateur: Full-field scores | Full coverage

“The better she got, the more emotionally draining it became,” Ulrika stated. “For most golfers, when the swing doesn’t go well, you just work on things – there’s never an ending. It’s pretty intense all the time. There’s never an off time. It’s hard for her to never think about her golf, and that can emotionally tarnish you in other areas of life.”

Ulrika may relate. In the early Nineteen Nineties, she was an achieved participant at the University of Arizona, the place she was a teammate of future LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam. She’d felt that identical burden in the spring of ’94, whereas weighing whether or not or not to flip professional. She opted in opposition to it, wanting extra for her life. “The game had gotten to me a little bit, too,” she stated. “When I made the decision, it was like a burden was lifted off.” Ulrika went into finance, received her MBA from N.C. State and began a household.

Emilia, now 21, is forging her personal path, too. A broadcast novelist in 2018, she has had at all times had a ardour for writing. In January, she instructed her mother and father that, regardless of her lofty rating (now fifteenth) and adorned résumé, she wouldn’t flip professional after finishing her undergraduate diploma subsequent month. She accepted an internship at the Golf Channel (working for this web site, in actual fact) and can full a two-year grasp’s program in communication.

“She was conflicted in her mind, and she hadn’t listened to herself as clearly as she needed to,” Ulrika stated. “As time went on, it seemed like she has a lot of other qualities and skills, and her golf is always going to be her golf and she’ll enjoy that. But she didn’t know if she wanted to do that for the next 15 years. It’s always nice to have a choice, and she feels very content with her decision. We just want her to be happy.”

More than just a golfer: Meet Emilia Migliaccio

A clearer thoughts didn’t initially assist Migliaccio unlock her finest play. In 12 rounds this spring for Wake Forest, she carried an uncharacteristic 74.08 scoring common and solely as soon as completed amongst the prime 20. But at least she felt unencumbered.

“It wasn’t about that I’m not playing well so I’m not turning professional,” she stated. “I’m ready for something new. I’m ready for a new chapter.”

Just not fairly but.

Two years in the past, Migliaccio missed the 36-hole reduce at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and watched as her intensely pushed teammate, top-ranked Jennifer Kupcho, gained the inaugural version. Migliaccio needed to placed on her personal present this yr, however she additionally tempered expectations. No longer stuffing her summer season schedule full {of professional} and newbie occasions, she knew her world rating would proceed to slide and finally drop outdoors the cutoff for this prestigious occasion.

Tsubasa Kajitani defeats Emilia Migliaccio in playoff to win Augusta National Women’s Am

“This may be our last rodeo,” Ulrika stated, and so Emilia eschewed an area Augusta National caddie and had her mother on the bag for the first two rounds at Champions Retreat (the place she sat 4 pictures again after 36 holes) and once more in the remaining spherical right here at Augusta National.

Then one thing uncommon occurred Saturday.

Migliaccio birdied the troublesome opening gap: “I was like, OK, let’s go.” Then the third gap. At agency and quick Augusta National, she carded 5 birdies in all to signal for a 70 and put up 1-over – at the time, the chief in the clubhouse.

“That’s pretty cool,” she had stated afterward.

But over the subsequent hour, the leaders started to falter. Rose Zhang triple-bogeyed the 13th gap. Helen Fredgaard doubled the 15th. Tsubasa Kajitani took a 6 on the 17th. Four gamers bogeyed the final to miss the playoff. All of a sudden, Migliacico’s 217 whole regarded as if it would maintain up – and will even be sufficient to win.

“I was kind of shocked,” she stated, “because I didn’t think I would have a chance.”

Kajitani parred the remaining gap to match Migliaccio, which despatched her scrambling to the event apply space to put together for a playoff. After about an hourlong break, she hit 10 drivers on the vary and rushed again to the 18th tee. On the first playoff gap, after discovering the fairway, Migliaccio’s gripped-down 5-iron from 167 yards rode up the clubface and sailed extensive right of the inexperienced, leaving a fragile pitch to the flag. She dumped it in the bunker and misplaced to the 17-year-old Kajitani.

“It’s hard to bogey and lose to a par,” she stated. “If they birdie, it’s like, Well, I did everything I could. But I wanted to hit a better shot. It just didn’t work out.”

Did the shut call at the ANWA alter her latest pondering?

Just the reverse. It confirmed it. 

“I think I played so well because of my decision,” she stated.

Watching a ft away, Ulrika beamed with pleasure.

“To listen to yourself, to listen to your inner strength and what you really, truly want to do versus listening to other people and what they’re telling you you should do, that’ll be the biggest thing I take away,” she stated. “You have to listen to yourself.”

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