LONDON, Ont. – While those close to Jennifer Ha are well aware of her talents and potential on the golf course, the 20-year-old amateur brought it to the attention of a much larger audience this weekend at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.
With a world-class 156 player field – including 15 of this country’s finest golfers – competing at the London Hunt and Country Club, Ha impressed golf fans in attendance and those watching across the country by being one of the four Canadians to make the cut.
According to her Kent State head coach, Greg Robertson, it was her display of determination and mental toughness that was most impressive.
“What sticks out in my mind was that she had a double bogey on the first hole of the tournament, and then played the next 17 holes 2-under,” he said about the talented amateur from Calgary.
“And coming down the stretch in the second round, she was right on the cutline at 1-under and birdied the last two holes to make the cut by a couple of shots. I was very impressed by the way she handled those situations, added Robertson, who caddied for Ha over the weekend.
Ha’s head coach from the Canadian national team, Tristan Mullally, was also impressed by her strong showing against the LPGA Tour’s finest.
“This week Jennifer had 18 birdies and proved that she has that ability to compete with the best,” said Mullally.
“She also had quite a few mistakes,” he acknowledged of Ha’s 16 bogeys and 1 double bogey. “But if all you have to do is tidy up some mistakes and make a couple of small adjustments, those are easy things to take care of.
“Golf Canada and Kent state we’ve worked well together and we work for the best thing for Jennifer,” Mullally noted about the importance of both programs to Ha’s development. “She works really hard and takes input really well; and we are fortunate to have a player like her who does that.
“She’s got a really bright future; she’s just got to push on and work hard and continue to improve,”Mullally added about the young golfer.
When asked about her impressive showing at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, Ha credits the recent success of her teammates, Taylor Pendrith and Corey Conners, for inspiring her to step up her game.
“We all go to Kent State and we’re all on Team Canada; so Taylor and Corey are like brothers to me,” she noted with a smile.
“Seeing them play so well, it made me feel proud and more confident in my abilities; and it has motivated me to do better,” Ha added.
Ha also credits the support and resources provided through Golf Canada and the Kent State golf program for allowing her to develop her potential on the golf course; and putting her on the right path to success.
Looking towards the future, the Kent State senior has ambitions of competing full-time on the LPGA tour.
“I’m 20 years old and I’m about to graduate, so I’m definitely thinking about going to Q-school next year or the year after; and try to be back here as a professional,” said Ha after her final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.
However, the talented young amateur understands there is still a lot of hard work required to realize her goal.
“I think ball striking is the best part of my game and I love working on it,” Ha pointed out. “Definitely, think I need to work more on my putting and on the mental stuff; and gain a lot more experience by playing in professional events like these.”
While Ha’s potential and talents may have been known to her coaches and a select number of keen golf insiders, her recent performance in London, Ont. has many more observers of the game singings her praises – including one of the LPGA’s biggest stars.
After seeing Ha compete up close and personal, Lexi Thompson believes the young Canadian has what it takes to make it on the LPGA tour one day.
“She’s got a great personality and you can tell she has a really good attitude on the golf course which is important out here,” said Thompson, who was grouped with Ha in the final round of the CP Women’s Open.
“She hits it pretty far and she putts it well too,” added the American superstar about Ha. “She’s going to keep on improving with hard work I’m sure; and I think she’s going to be a great player someday.”