Dec. 1, 2016
By Claire Kramer ‘18
Medalist at the 2011 Hoosier Fall Invitational. BIG EAST Sport Scholar-Athlete award winner. Team Captain. Monogram Club MVP award winner.
Becca Huffer (‘12) is no stranger to the exceptional. From her freshman season, when she led the Notre Dame women’s golf team in stroke average, to her senior year, Huffer displayed a special level of excellence, one that found a home at Notre Dame and subsequently prepared her for her professional golf career.
Now, Huffer is on the brink of yet another accomplishment, possibly the biggest one yet: LPGA Tour Player.
During her time at Notre Dame, Huffer led the team in stroke average for three of her four years playing for the Irish. She won the Hoosier Fall Invitational during the fall season of her senior year, and was selected to lead the Irish as captain that same season.
Huffer chose Notre Dame as her home for many reasons.
“It was the best fit for me academically and my coaches, Coach (Susan Holt) and Coach (Kyle Lynne Demeter), were also a great fit for me,” she said. “I loved having the opportunity to be a part of the start of the huge growth of our women's golf program in the past years.”
Huffer also has family ties to Notre Dame. Her mother, Mary Singer Huffer, graduated from Notre Dame in 1979 and was a member of the first Irish varsity tennis team. Her older brother, Christopher, graduated from Notre Dame in 2009, and her younger brother, Zach, currently attends Notre Dame.
While her time at Notre Dame readied her for an individual golf career, Huffer said that playing for the Irish gave her a unique golf experience.
“Golf is an individual sport so being a part of a team is a unique experience,” she said. “Getting to practice and play along other really good players working towards the same goals made a big difference in how I approached my own practice and schedule as well, and always motivated me to get better.”
Post-graduation, Huffer turned pro, and has played the last three seasons on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s developmental tour. In her professional career, Huffer has kept up her standards of excellence, with five wins on her resume. This past Symetra Tour season was her best yet, with two top-five finishes.
Huffer is currently competing in the final stage of Q-School, the LPGA’s series of qualifying tournaments that determine which golfers will be eligible to compete in LPGA Tour events during the next calendar year. The final qualifying tournament is underway this week at LPGA International Golf Course in Daytona Beach, Florida.
LPGA Q-School features three stages. Huffer earned an exemption from Stage I due to her career-best 37th place on the Symetra Tour money list. The top 120 on the Symetra Tour money list earn exemptions. In Stage II, held at Plantation Golf Country Club in Venice, Florida, Huffer tied for 30th (+5, 293). The top 80 players moved on to Stage III, so Huffer qualified easily.
Huffer is no stranger to the final round of Q-School, having qualified for Stage III in 2014. This time around, she looks to capitalize on her career-best year and earn herself an LPGA Tour membership. The top 20 players in Stage III will earn full membership for 2017. The following 25 will earn partial membership. After Q-School, each player that earns any type of membership is assigned a number signifying their priority for playing in LPGA events. Full membership means those 20 players have a higher chance of being included in the field for LPGA Tour events, but partial membership also provides ample opportunity to compete in those events.
After the first day of competition, Huffer was tied for 38th place at even par. After four rounds, the field will be cut to the top 70 players. Sunday, those 70 players will compete in the final round, and those results will determine LPGA Tour status. All players who do not make the cut for LPGA membership gain full membership on the Symetra Tour.
Huffer says her time under the Golden Dome prepared her to take on the challenges ahead.
“During my time at ND I learned so much about my whole golf game,” she said. “Being on a team you really care about every stroke you make, which is always huge at the professional level because one stroke can be the difference between making a cut or missing.”
Huffer will look to continue her pattern of excellence this week, all with a focus on attitude and confidence.
“Golf is such a mental game, and my coaches (at Notre Dame) really tried to help us realize the importance of attitude and staying positive during the round,” she said.
And if history tells her anything, this confidence will hopefully continue to carry her to success.
Results from Stage III can be found here: http://scoring.symetratour.com/public/QSLeaderboard.aspx#
Claire Kramer is a junior student assistant for Fighting Irish Media, working closely with the Athletics Communications Directors for the men's and women’s golf, basketball, football and cross country programs. An American Studies major with minors in Theology and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy, Kramer is from Olathe, Kansas.