If you are looking for desert connections on the LPGA this year, you won’t have to look very far.
As the LPGA starts its season in Australia this week, two players with desert roots are in the field. Nicole Smith of La Quinta, a rookie on the LPGA, has made the cut this week and will be cashing a check. That same isn’t true, unfortunately, for Jennifer Johnson, the former Desert Christian Academy star, who missed the cut in the season opener.
Two other desert golfers will make their season debuts later. One is Palm Desert’s Nicole Castrale, fresh form a successful comeback season in 2013, will start her season when the tour moves to Asia for events in Thailand and Singapore. The other desert player is La Quinta’s Irene Cho, who has played on the LPGA since leaving USC in 2006.
Of those players, Castrale is far and away the most accomplished, with a LPGA win and two Solheim Cup appearances for the United States. This is a Solheim Cup year, by the way, and the Castrale would like nothing more than to complete her comeback with another trip to the Solheim Cup.
Hopefully it will be a big year for all four of the desert players on the women’s tour.