Spencer Heller of Turlock might have missed the final cut to compete in this weekend's final at the 71st U.S. Women's Open, but that doesn't mean that she is done with golf or with her goal of achieving a spot in the tour, this is only the beginning.
“My goal right now is to qualify for LPGA tour and from there make the majors, which are five major tournaments they have in their schedule,” she said. “For now I want to refine my game to get ready for August and get through all stages of qualifying school.”
Qualifying school is basically the Developmental Tour for the Ladies Pro Golf Tour that consists of four rounds that are played throughout the fall.
“It is the stepping stone, so I am trying to get into those events and qualifying is in August,” said Heller. “I need to get there and get through it all because then I can play in the LPGA tour after that, usually it's the way to go, but other way is to get top 10 in all tours but that is extremely hard, you'd need to be consistent.”
The first stage of qualifying school will begin at Palm Desert followed by Florida in October then December as well.
“We will see what happens,” said Heller. “They take the top 60, and I literally just got 61st last year, I barely missed it and the bad thing is I need to wait till the following year, so it all gets put in the back burner to get back and now I am looking to do better, the goal is to get top 60.”
The 2009 Turlock High School graduate first teed off at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, 30 minutes south of San Jose and only about 80 miles from Turlock, July 7 for the first round in her first U.S. Woman's Open.
Heller, 25, was a four-time All-American at Sonoma State, and after graduating in 2013, she held nearly every possible school record in woman's golf.
Heller worked at Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club after graduating and then moved to Phoenix, Arizona to play on the Cactus Tour, a women's mini-tour back in 2014.
She topped the Cactus Tour money list in 2015 and is currently ranked second for the 2016 season.
“I had aspirations to play professional since leaving Turlock High and college,” said Heller. “I was able to make it and people play for years and don't qualify for the U.S. Open so I am happy that I was able to play and hopefully I will be there again.”
Heller was a four-time NCAA Division II All-American at Sonoma State. She qualified for the Open in May at the Terravita Country Club in Scottsdale Arizona, earning one of two available berths with rounds of 73 and 71.
“I actually got to play with player who won the tournament,” said Heller of playing with U.S. Women's Open champion Brittany Lang.
Heller and Lang played a practice round of nine holes.
“She's just an all around great person, played on tour for 11 years and still took the time to play with players like me who are new and talked to me and I was shocked,” said Heller.
Heller shot two over on the first day of the Open, with a 74 and finished with a round of 80 on the second day, missing the cut by six strokes.
“I was playing fine going into the last quarter of the round, hole No. 15, and ended up getting a penalty and then followed with a double in the next one,” she added. “And I birdied but could have made birdies instead of others could have qualified for cut but cool to see I had the potential to do it, wrong swings prevented that.”
Heller finished 119 out of 156.
Next for Heller will be the Symetra Tour which will run from July 25-31 and will take place at the Staley Farms Golf Club in Kansas City, Missouri.