There were a few nerves when Christine Meier stepped up to the first tee box July 5 in the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis., but none that couldn’t be taken away with a smooth swing.
“When they announce your name to start the round, it can be heard across the whole course. It was a little nerve-wracking,” the 2010 Rochester High graduate said. “I hit a really good drive off the first hole, which calmed me down a little bit.”
With that shot, Meier began her first major championship. The soon-to-be junior at Michigan State University finished with rounds of 80 and 84 for a 164 total.
“The first day, I thought I actually played really well, and I don’t think the score reflected it very much,” she said, adding that she missed on the wrong side of the green a handful of times that cost her some strokes.
“The second day, I got off to a poor start, I hit it into the junk on the first hole, but I don’t think I did too badly. I did a lot of things well and hit a lot of good shots, and I did have a birdie each day, so I was happy about that.”
Though she missed the cut, Meier said the experience was priceless, especially seeing the way her playing partner, Alison Walshe, played the first two days. Walshe finished tied for 46th, but was only two shots back from the top 10 after her first two rounds with Meier.
“It gave me a lot of confidence in seeing how the women play, and talking to Alison about how she got her start and where to go from here,” Meier said. “It gave me an idea how to get started, and the whole experience of playing in the Open was such a big step and can only benefit me in college.
“It just made me see that I’m not that far behind, that I can get there in a couple of years.”
Meier also appreciated getting a view of a major championship from inside the ropes.
“It was cool, because I got to see how they were on the putting green, how they warm up and how they interact,” she said. “It’s funny, the tour really is just a grown-up version of college. They’re all friends and know each other. You can see how that’s the next step really.”
The Open helped Meier see where she wants to go and also where she came from.
“There were so many little kids begging for an autograph, and I kept thinking, ‘I’m a no name. Why do they want mine?’ That made it real to me. I was them 10 years ago, and if I got someone’s autograph, that was the best thing that had ever happened to me,” she said. “It was really cool to see how excited they were to meet you.”