By Jeff Babineau
BELMONT, Mich. – Amateur Rachel Kuehn, who recently helped to lead the Wake Forest women’s golf team to an NCAA championship in Arizona, is competing in this week’s Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give on a sponsor’s exemption. The two-time ACC Player of the Year will be making her second start on the LPGA.
It’s been a busy stretch for her. She arrived in Michigan having helped the U.S. team to victory in the Palmer Cup at Laurel Valley in Pennsylvania.
“Any chance you get to test kind of where your game is compared to the best players in the world, you need to jump on it,” Kuehn said Wednesday at Blythefield Country Club, “because any experience out here, even as a amateur, when you’re first turning pro, whatever it is, it’s all experience under the belt, and it’s going to be experience that can serve me when it comes down to hopefully starting on the LPGA as a professional.”
Kuehn said she has received advice (and hearty congratulations for the national championship) from Wake alum Jennifer Kupcho, who happens to be the defending champion this week at Blythefield.
“When I played my last LPGA event last spring, we had dinner and she was able to share her thoughts and she let me pick her brain,” Kuehn said. “She was really kind to let me pick her brain about turning pro, what to do, what not to do, she would’ve done differently.
“It’s really nice to be able to get insight from someone who came out and had pretty immediate success.”
Kuehn is taking her COVID year and returning to Wake Forest in the fall, looking to try LPGA Q-School in 2024. On her bag this week for the first time will be her boyfriend, Alex Fitzpatrick, who also played at Wake and now is pursuing his pro career in Europe. He planned to travel to Michigan to watch her compete, and Rachel figured, well, since you’re going to be here, you might as well get put to work …
“First time,” Kuehn said, smiling, asked if Fitzpatrick had caddie for her previously. “See how the relationship stands after the week.”
Fitzpatrick, from England, is the younger brother of Matt Fitzpatrick, who this week will try to defend his U.S. Open title at Los Angeles Country Club.