COLUMBIA — Julia Potter is hoping home will be as sweet to her as it was in high school.
Potter won three Indiana state titles and was named to four All-State teams in high school. Today she will start what could be her final college tournament in the familiar setting of her home state.
Potter, from Granger, Ind., and a current senior on the Missouri women's golf team, tees off today at 7:55 a.m. in the NCAA Central Regional tournament in Columbus, Ind.
Potter knows the course. Last summer, Potter took second place at the Indiana State Women's Amateur Championship played at Otter Creek Golf Club. Plus, family and friends are driving in to watch her compete.
“A lot of things are coming together for it to be a good tournament,” said Potter, who hopes to be one of 126 players to advance to the NCAA Championships will be held May 18-21 at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.
Potter’s collegiate career has been successful. She was recently named to her third consecutive All-Big 12 First Team, and she owns the top three lowest 54-hole tournament scores in Missouri history. She has won five tournaments during her career at Missouri.
“I didn’t come in thinking I was going to win,” Potter said. “I knew I had the opportunity to, but it’s different having the opportunity and actually doing it.”
After the season is over, Potter is planning to play professionally.
Her pro journey started in November, when she missed a college tournament to play an “intense” week-long qualifying tournament in Florida. Potter earned her full card for the LPGA Developmental Tour (the Duramed FUTURES Tour). She will play in her first tournament, the Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City Championship, in the Kansas City area next week. After that, Potter will compete in a qualifying tournament for the U.S. Women’s Open and continue playing in tournaments on the FUTURES Tour.
“It’s a difficult life to lead,” Potter said. “There’s not that much money out there, but I feel like I owe it to myself to pursue that dream of mine, and just try it out and see what I can do.”
Potter thinks she will find success as a professional golfer, but she does have a backup plan. Her college studies focus on event planning, and she found a passion for golf tournament planning through an internship with the Missouri Golf Association.
“I was surprised, because I didn’t know if I had a passion for watching someone else play golf,” she said.
Potter plans to balance school and golf for another year, but she knows it’s all part of pursuing her love of the game.
“I’ve played this game since I was six,” Potter said. “I can’t imagine doing something different.”