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Former Idaho standout Sophie Hausmann resumes chase of LPGA card at Circling Raven Championship

Aug. 25, 2021 Updated Wed., Aug. 25, 2021 at 8:29 p.m.

Former University of Idaho golfer Sophie Hausmann will compete in the Circling Raven Championship this week at her home course in Worley, Idaho.  (Courtesy of Ali Palma)
Former University of Idaho golfer Sophie Hausmann will compete in the Circling Raven Championship this week at her home course in Worley, Idaho. (Courtesy of Ali Palma)
By Jim Meehan The Spokesman-Review

Sophie Hausmann hasn’t missed a Symetra Tour event this season so there was no chance she’d bypass the inaugural Circling Raven Championship.

It’s the closest thing to a homecoming for the former University of Idaho standout.

She has spent the past week visiting friends and former classmates, practiced at Palouse Ridge and mixed in rounds at the UI Golf Course and Black Rock.

“I had a pretty good off week,” said a smiling Hausmann, sporting a Vandals hat after Tuesday’s practice round at Circling Raven.

The two-time Big Sky Conference individual champion would love to have a very good weekend at Circling Raven. Hausmann, who captured her first Symetra win at the IOA Championship in March, is No. 12 on the money list with five events remaining.

The top 10 at season’s end earn LPGA cards. Eight of the Symetra top 10 and a handful of LPGA regulars, including Bianca Pagdanganan, who played two years at Gonzaga before helping Arizona win the 2018 NCAA title, are among 132 players in the 54-hole event that begins Friday.

“It’s definitely an important five weeks of the year,” Hausmann said of the closing stretch. “It can be a game-changer for a few girls. I’ve put myself in good position, but you have to stick to your game plan and see where you end up. I can do it if I play well, so let’s go chase it and if it works out, great.”

Hausmann has pocketed $51,787, about $2,500 behind No. 10 Isi Gabsa. The German natives are roommates at their home base in Orlando, Florida. Lilia Vu, who has won two of the past three tournaments and tops the money list at $140,607, No. 3 Casey Danielson (third, $84,741) and No. 5 Fatima Fernandez Cano (fifth, $77,623) are in the Circling Raven Championship field.

There are additional LPGA Tour cards available for players that make it through the third and final stage of LPGA/Symetra Tour qualifying tournaments in December, but Hausmann wants to take the direct route as well as hand out a few birthday presents.

“Being in the (Symetra’s) top 10 is a better category,” said Hausmann, whose caddie this week will be Ross Button, former Idaho men’s golf assistant coach and current assistant for Gonzaga’s men’s team. “The first two weeks in December are my parents’ birthdays and my grandparents’ birthdays, so I would really want to be home (in Germany) to be honest.”

Hausmann has had an interesting season with a fast start, a lull in the middle with four consecutive missed cuts and five straight top-30 finishes leading into this weekend.

She’s a quality ball-striker, but that slipped in May and June. She rebooted during an off week and her form quickly returned, after a brief hiccup.

“The first hole at the next event I started with double bogey and I was like, ‘Sophie, it’s either miss another cut or you’d better get your game going,’ ” Hausmann recalled. “Then my mom came for two events a little later on and that really helped me.”

Hausmann, limited to 10 events as a rookie in a COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, plans on playing all 20 events this season.

“Last year it was so many new people, how do you plan traveling,” she said. “Just knowing those things better gave me more comfort of what to expect. Mentally, I’ve improved a little bit. Wedges are the part I have to work on the most, but overall I’m putting a little better.”

Hausmann estimated the winner at Circling Raven will probably have to reach at least 10 under par, but she cautioned there’s plenty of trouble awaiting errant shots and scores could rise if conditions are windy. Hausmann, Vu and Gigi Stoll, a Beaverton (Oregon) High product who played on Arizona’s 2018 national championship squad, tee off at 12:38 p.m. Friday on No. 10.

Hausmann hopes her experience on a course she played on several Idaho team retreats leads to a solid week. She should be easy to spot, likely wearing Vandals gear and an Idaho headcover, a graduation gift, visible on her golf bag.

“We had so many Idaho sweaters, and we needed them,” Hausmann joked of her UI career. “It’s kind of nice if you’re on the road all season to go to a place where I know people and where things are. You kind of feel home again.”

Former Idaho standout Sophie Hausmann resumes pursuit of LPGA card at Circling Raven Championship

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