Hobart, Wisconsin — Gabby Lemieux debuted in the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic one year ago, introducing herself to the world of professional golf.
Her nervousness at the time was apparent, and Lemieux herself spoke about the experience.
This 2018 Texas Tech graduate stated on Monday at the golf course that feeling tense and anxious was the biggest memory she had of that day while recalling standing on the first tee. She continued to say how she believes the year that awaits is going to be a lot better, thanks to the professional golfing experience she has gained over the past year.
The Thornberry Creek golf course, owned by Oneida Nation, has been hosting the LPGA tournament for three years now. While the course is celebrating its third LPGA tournament, Lemieux, a sponsor invite, is celebrating her second participation in the LPGA event.
Her performance in 2018 was far from stellar, as Lemieux ranked among the last of 144 players. However, her debut meant so much more, as it represented a significant moment for the Native American community.
Lemieux, who belongs to the Shoshone-Paiute tribe in southwestern Idaho, is the only Native American woman who is an active professional golfer.
According to her, her occupation presents the Native American community of the area in a new light. She herself stated that professional golf players were not common there.
Lemieux mentioned Notah Begay, the single purebred Native American golfer on the PGA tour. At the moment, Begay is an analyst for NBC Sports and Golf Channel.
When it comes to golf, Lemieux lacked role models in her childhood and young age. She was actually more concentrated on other sports and did not watch golf regularly. However, as claimed by her, Begay was her mentor during her initial professional year.
She stated she was thankful to have him around.
Lemieux appreciates the responsibility that comes hand in hand with her current role in society. She said she was hopeful about influencing people, the generations that would follow, but does not consider what she does to be anything exceptional.
Lemieux has been collaborating with Nike N7 Fund since 2018. The program was established in 2000 with the purpose of making Nike products available to Native American tribes, and thus, supporting health promotion and illness prevention programs, as stated by the official website.
According to Lemieux, she was acquainted with Nike N7 approximately one year ago. She said she felt that they shared a common interest when it came to giving back to American youth and inspiring them to be active and engaged in practicing sports.
Lemieux spent Monday morning playing lacrosse, football, and golf with children at Thornberry Creek. She told them about her childhood in Caldwell, Idaho, and how she was not solely a golf athlete while she was growing up.
She said she had been a volleyball, basketball, and soccer athlete as well. In her opinion, such sharing can inspire children to also practice multiple sports. According to her, golf may be just an instrument for getting through college or achieving something more significant.
As a part of her work with Nike N7, Lemieux promotes an active lifestyle and healthy diet.
She said she viewed it as a good way of influencing children. Moreover, she believes that, from their perspective, she represents an example of such a lifestyle and proof that they too are able to accomplish their goals.
She offered young girls and boys the most valuable piece of advice possible by encouraging them to practice.
Lemieux told them that the more engaged they were, the better. She concluded by telling them not to put the golf club down.
When commenting on her outlook on her second LPGA event, which will be her second Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic Tournament as well, Lemieux stated she did not have any expectations. During her first year as a professional golfer, she had discovered the ways of composing herself during a game of golf. Additionally, she observed the performance of other players and how they behave under pressure.
This year all she wants to do is come back to the course and enjoy the event.
She said she had come back to have a good time and experience the LPGA along with everything it provides.
The holes 1, 16, 17, and 18 represent the greatest of challenges for Lemieux.
In her opinion, overcoming the obstacles that are those holes could result in a rather satisfying outcome.
Practice rounds for professionals commence on Tuesday. The pro-am tournament will take place on Wednesday, whereas the first round is scheduled for Thursday.