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Clarence product Peters will tee it up vs. the best

It was her best round of competitive golf since heading to college but Catherine Peters didn’t think it would be good enough.

She knew the others in the field, had competed against them as a junior at the University of Michigan. Surely someone shot better than her round of 70.

Nope.

Peters was the medalist at the collegiate qualifier for the Meijer LPGA Classic scheduled for July 21-26 at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, Mich.

The former standout at Clarence who won the state high school girls title in 2012 will now have the opportunity to play in her first LPGA event and measure herself against the best golfers on tour.

“It’s a crazy opportunity that I’m getting from Meijer,” Peters said. “I just want to play the best I can. First I want to make the cut then I want to see how I measure up against these women. I am going into my senior year and next year will determine what my decision is for after college. It will be nice to see what I have to strive for this coming year.”

She earned the opportunity by shooting a 2-under round in the collegiate qualifier, also held at Blythfield on June 23.

Peters began the shotgun start on the sixth hole. She birdied No. 10 and bogeyed No. 12 to be even through her first nine. She then birdied No. 2 and made birdie on her final hole, No. 5, to finish with the best round of the day.

“It was a scrambling day for me,” Peters said of her round. “I hit my driver pretty high and a lot of the holes had cross winds on them. I’d get the ball up and the wind would take it and I’d have to work the ball right to left out of the trees and run them up to the green.

“I had a chipping session with my coach a few weeks before and getting back to the fundamentals of chipping really helped get up and down when I needed to. My putting was very solid that day.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to make it. The girls in the field, I play with them a lot and thought there would be lower scores.”

There were 36 golfers competing for the two exempt spots from throughout the Big Ten along with Michigan schools Ferris State, Grand Valley State and Davenport.

Kaitlin Park of Northwestern finished second at par (72) to earn the other exemption.

Peters finished her junior season at Michigan, earning the team’s most improved award. She averaged 76.76 strokes per round. In 13 of her 17 rounds she shot below 80 and she had seven rounds at or below 75.

Her previous career-best round was a 71, which came in the first round of the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Fla., in March.

“She’s really developed well,” Michigan coach Jan Dowling said. “She works hard all the time. One of the things about Cat is when she comes to practice or plays a qualifier or comes to workout, she absolutely brings it. She’s taken it seriously and very competitively and she brings a great attitude as well. Over time, she’s gained experience as a collegiate golfer and her game has developed.”

The strength in Peters’ game has always been her irons but her putting has become strong as well.

She will takes those to Michigan to play a practice round on the course with her father, Dale, who will also caddy for her at the LPGA event.

Peters said she will approach the opportunity like any other tournament. Dowling hopes she comes away with a great appreciation and confidence in her own game.

“Probably the most important thing is to trust what got you there,” Dowling said. “It’s still just 18 holes of golf even though you’re warming up with people you’ve been watching on TV for the last 10 years.

“Hopefully she’ll see her good shots are just as good as their good shots. Their mistakes just tend to be a little bit better.”

email: amoritz@buffnews.com