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Experience, Perseverance Shape Perspective for Four-Ball Duo
Courtney Myhrum (L) and Lisa McGill
Courtney Myhrum (L) and Lisa McGill

Courtney Myhrum and Lisa McGill’s post-practice round dinner plans tell you all you need to know about one of the most experienced sides in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. They could spend a lovely Southern California evening hammering balls on the practice range at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., or they could make the short drive to nearby Malibu for a sunset dinner with a few friends and fellow competitors.

They obviously chose the latter.

“We only have so many shots in us,” joked Myhrum, 56, en route to dinner. “This is an endurance event. We’re doing quality not quantity. . . . We may not be out here again, so why not see parts of L.A.?”

Myhrum knows all about that hotel to golf course and back routine. She’s been a member of the USGA Women’s Committee since 2011 and volunteered as a rules official for 13 years before that. Myhrum currently serves as the committee’s vice chairman, and will begin her two-year stint as chair in February 2019. Having given so much of her time to supporting the women’s game, Myhrum is in an excellent position to have seen its growth – and to know that when you get an opportunity to add a player’s badge to your collection, you take it.

Six weeks ago, Myhrum wasn’t even sure if she’d be here. The Women’s Four-Ball, in just its fourth year of existence, is unique in its months-long qualifying period. Myhrum and McGill played their qualifier in Pennsylvania, where both call home, last October. This spring, Myrhum slipped while walking her dog and fractured her tibial plateau. She had to stay off the leg for a month, then began rehab and still wears a brace. Walking this championship would have been out of the question.

“I applied for the ADA cart so that gave the team a pulse and I was able to come out and play,” she said. “It’s a different experience. I’m happy to support Lisa and do what I can and hopefully keep the ball in play so she can fire some birdies.”

Myhrum and McGill are women’s golf stalwarts in their home state of Pennsylvania. They have a long friendship highlighted by competing against each other in various golf events. While at a senior event in September, they talked each other into playing the Women’s Four-Ball qualifier. That there was a qualifying site relatively equidistant from Myhrum in Pittsburgh and McGill in Philadelphia made it easier to say yes. The team nearly earned medalist honors, but bogeyed the final three holes coming in.

Despite extensive competitive experience – McGill, 58, has more than 30 USGA Championships under her belt while Myhrum has 12 – neither player had been to the Women’s Four-Ball before. One day in, both raved about the young team they were paired with in a Thursday practice round. Therein lies the beauty of this event: It’s not governed by age, as many USGA Championships are. There are seniors in this event, like Myhrum and McGill, but there are also mid-amateurs, college players and junior golfers.

“That’s what is so wonderful about golf, to play alongside kids and to be able to keep playing in your 50s and 60s,” Myhrum said.

McGill jokes that she and Myhrum will be successful if they can out-think their younger opponents rather than overpower them, but the three-time Rhode Island Women’s Amateur champion sells herself short there. McGill’s competitive spirit is strong, and so is her stamina. Here’s a woman who has become known for traveling the world in search of mountains to climb. Her adventures include Mount Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu and the Everest base camp, and there’s considerable perspective that comes with that.

“We keep the faith and we don’t get down on ourselves,” she said of her on-course mindset. “I really enjoy being out here. No matter where I am, any of the other USGA events, I’m just so grateful to be here.”

The young players who encounter Myhrum and McGill this week would do well to take a page from that book. And they’d do well not to underestimate this much experience, regardless of the easy-going nature that conceals it.

ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball

The U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball, the newest USGA championship, was played for the first time in 2015 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon. It immediately became one of the USGA's most popular tournaments. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those women with a Handicap Index of 14.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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