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PGA/LPGA and Tour Player Updates

Hannah Yun Prepares for her rookie year on the LPGA Tour

Kip Puterbaugh with Hannah Yun
Hannah Yun

Of all the players I have had the opportunity to teach, the chance to reunite with Hannah has been one that I have really enjoyed. I enjoy working with all of my students, but the story of Hannah is unlike any I have witnessed.

When Hannah was 10 years old, she started taking lessons from me. I immediately realized that she had a great talent for the game, and she won numerous junior tournaments until she was about 12 1/2 years old. At that time her parents decided to move to Florida to enroll Hannah in the Leadbetter Academy. I followed Hannah's progress, and she graduated from high school when she was 15 years old, and enrolled in the University of Florida. Her freshmen year, at 16 years old, she was MVP. After the start of her second year of college, she was not happy with how college was developing her game, and quit college to play golf full time.

She played the Futures Tour as an amateur and when she was 18 she turned professional. Her game was not getting any better and she was getting very frustrated in putting all of the work in without getting any better results. She was so frustrated, she actually stopped playing because the quality of her golf had slowly been deteriorating for the past two years. After a lot of self reflection, she decided she wanted to play golf, but she needed to change course. At that time, I got a call from her parents and they wanted to know if I would teach Hannah again. Hannah had looked at an old VCR tape of one of her lessons when she was 12, and told her parents her swing was better at 12 than it was currently.

So in April of 2011 Hannah once again became a student. We realized she had a lot of issues to deal with because not only was her full swing a mess, her short game, sand shots and pitch shots were a mess. She worked incredibly hard on making changes and the results started to pay off as she started to get some confidence in her game. She went to the 2nd stage of LPGA Tour School and finished 8th in a field of 200 players. We kept working on her game, and she headed off to the final stage of Tour School in December. She finished T-15th at the finals, earning her full playing privileges for the 2012 year.

We all wish Hannah great success for her rookie year.

Simpson preparing for his Champions Tour debut in 2012

Kip Puterbaugh with Scott Simpson
Kip Puterbaugh with Scott Simpson

Scott and I have had a 20 year relationship and it has been great in all areas. In the first quarter of the 2011 season he decided that it was time for a change and started working with a couple of the instructors that teach the "One Plane Swing." He has stayed in contact with me and we have played some recreational rounds together since his departure from my teaching. He had a very poor year in 2011, but continued to work on his new theory during the 3 months of the off season. The week before he left for his first event in 2012, he played a round of golf with me and Hannah Yun, who is mentioned above. It was the worst round of golf I have ever seen from Scott. I kept quite, and the next day I got an email from Scott wanting to know if I had some time the next day to look at his swing before he left town. We spend 2 hours working on his game, and by the end of the time he was hitting the ball much better and mentioned that maybe it was time to discard his new swing theories.

I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Scott again, and wish him success in 2012.

Juniors Making the Cut...

Danielle Frasier is just finishing up her junior year in high school and is getting ready for a busy summer schedule. She is most excited about the fact she has been offered a full ride scholarship to Stanford. That is quite an accomplishment for her both in golf and academics. Over the winter she got to represent the United States in a 12 man team format against Australia. It was 6 boys and 6 girls in a Ryder Cup like format in the Melbourne area, and the U.S. won the match. It was quite an experience for her and all of the team members. She is currently ranked 12th in the country for junior girls, and she is working hard preparing to have another great summer like last year.

Glory Yang - 15 - Fidelity Investments Junior (Glory Yang 4 top five finishes)

Katie Sylvan - 15 - Buick Junior Open

Matt Pierce had an interesting sophomore year at Duke. After finishing his freshman year he hurt his knee playing basketball and had to have knee surgery at the start of summer. It was a complex surgery and did not get to swing a club until December. He came down to Aviara during the Christmas break and we got the swing going again with a reluctant right knee. He qualified for the traveling team after all the time missed and started to play better as the season progressed. At the ACC regional qualifier he finished 13th and was low on the team and helped them qualify for the NCAA Championships. He didn't score as well as he would have liked and is looking forward to working on his game this summer.

Rachel Morris has been working with Ted Norby for the past 3 years and as a 14 year old is really at the top of the juniors. She just won two tournaments in a row on the AJGA circuit playing against girls 18 years old and younger. In the Wellstone Communities event in Texas she won by 4 strokes.

Michael Kim works with Bob Knee and just won the LA City Amateur in the 13-14 age group. He shot rounds of 75,69 and 71 and made a 4 foot putt for birdie on the last hole to get into a playoff and then made a 25 foot for birdie on the first playoff hole to win the event.

Anton Arboleda is playing on the UCLA men's golf team, and previously won the LA City Junior Championship as a 14 year old and finish 6th in the Junior World Championship in the 13-14 age bracket.

Max Sujiwarodom is playing for Cal State San Marcos

Courtney Hooton – finished player of the year in the San Diego Junior Golf Association for the 13-14 yr. old age division. Just entered her first AJGA event, and led the qualifiers with a 69. She then went out and finished 4th in the tournament which is a great start for her. She will be playing a few more AJGA events over the summer and will play in Junior World Championships at Torrey Pines in July.

Ani Guilugan won the California Junior Girls State Amateur Championship.

Aliea Clark is a 13 year old junior I started working with about 4 months ago and she has improved dramatically over that time. Three weeks ago she played in the SCPGA Toyota Cup tournament and won her first event in that field shooting 75, 66 to win by one stroke. She just played in her first AJGA Tournament last week and finished tied for 7th. That is quite an accomplishment and she is really happy school is ending so she can play in all of the summer tournaments.

Lastly, I have to boast a little as my son Jamie won the San Diego City Amateur Championship for his 4th straight year and also qualifyied and played in the US Ameteur at Pinehurst. Unforturnately, persistent shoulder problems have sidelined him from playing since the US Amateur.