Jennifer Song walked out of the scorer’s tent on Thursday afternoon with a smile on her face and a 4-under-par 68 on her scorecard after the first round of the 2017 LPGA Volvik Championships at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor.
And yes, the two go hand-in-hand in the competitive world of women’s professional golf.
But Song had plenty of other reasons to smile, including the fact that she recently topped the $1-million mark in career earnings and is back home – kind of – in Ann Arbor.
“It’s great to be back here,” says Song, the only player in the 72-team field this week with the words “Ann Arbor, Mich.” after her name. “Last year when I was back I got a chance to visit some of the places including my old elementary school.”
Song, who lived in Ann Arbor for 3½ years, spent third grade at Angell Elementary School. She was born here and spent two years in Ann Arbor before moving back again for a year and a half while her father earned his PHD from U-M.
Song was raised in South Korea and holds dual Korean and United States citizenship. Her college allegiance isn’t to the Maize and Blue but to the Trojans of Southern Cal. While at the University of Southern California, she recorded 12 top-10 finishes, including two wins.
“I’m a Trojan, but I still get people yelling ‘Go Blue’ to me out on the course when I’m playing out here and it’s actually pretty nice,” she says.
She certainly feels at home at Travis Pointe, a course she feels suits her game.
“I really like this golf course,” she says. “This year it’s rained a lot so the greens are definitely softer so I can really (attack) the pins when I want to.”
Song, now 27, is in rhythm on and around the greens. She ranks ninth on the LPGA Tour in putting average (28.72) and eighth in sand saves (eighth). She is also 17th in US Solheim Cup Points with 103.
Leading up to this week’s Volvik, Song made the cut in eight of her 10 events. After her best finish of the season at the beginning of May when she tied for 17th place at the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Match Play, Song missed the cut at last week’s Kingsmill Championship.
In 2016, she made the cut 21 times in the 25 events she entered and recorded her career-best finish on the LPGA Official Money List (46th). She finished third at the CME Group Tour Championship, the best finish of her career.
In 2015, she made 16 cuts of the 25 events she played and was 67th on the money list. She finished the 2015 season strong, posting her two best finishes of the season (T12 at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational and T11 at the CME Group Tour Championship) in the final two events.
“My game is definitely better than it was last year,” she said. “My condition is good and I’m rolling it well so hopefully I will get some good results.”
She had plenty of good results as an amateur. In 2009, she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship; U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and was the low amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open.
In 2010, Song finished second on the LPGA Futures Tour season-ending money list to earn membership on the 2011 LPGA season. She recorded two victories on the LPGA Futures Tour at the 2010 Tate & Lyle Players Championship and 2010 Greater Richmond Golf Classic.