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7/17/2013 2:13:00 PM
Plourde Volunteers at LPGA US Women's Open
Bailey Plourde at the LPGA U.S. Women's Open.
Bailey Plourde at the LPGA U.S. Women's Open.
By Paula Roberts


Bailey Plourde, 13, of Newcastle, served as a volunteer standard bearer at the 2013 LPGA US Women's Open, held at Sebonack Golf Club, in Southampton, N.Y., June 28 to 30. Volunteering at the event was a huge thrill for the soon-to-be high school freshman. She was one of 2500 volunteers at the open.

Plourde and her family made three trips to New York for the event, one for orientation, another to attend a golf clinic put on by pro Paula Creamer, and a third to work the event.

"I kept the score for the people I was walking with," Plourde said. She was assigned to a group each day, and kept daily scores and a cumulative score for the weekend.

On the first day she was with Julie Inkstar, Katherine Hull-Kirk, and Christina Kim; the second day with Ryan O'Toole, Amy Meier, and Maude-Aimee Leblanc; and the third day with Maier, Meena Lee and Inkstar.

"Inkstar is in Hall of Fame. Meier's sister made last year's Open. They caddy for each other. They are up and coming stars," Plourde said.

"The first day was really nerve racking I did not want to mess up the scores. We had someone walking with us that kept the scores and told us what to put up. So it was not as tough as I thought it would be," she said.

"It was fun. It was really cool to see them and be right there with them. I learned to take my time a little bit more when hitting. They take a lot of time, especially hitting. I might visualize (the course), it just doesn't go where I want it. They look at every single angle and go on the other side of the hole for a side view. They take a long time."

Plourde said the women were friendly. "They appreciated us and talked to us... I have a hat filled with people's signatures. After they played a round, they signed autographs."

When asked how many autographs she got, Plourde said she had no clue. "There is no room left on my hat," she said. "They signed inside and outside, on the brim and on the back of strap."

All but one competitor signed her game ball and gave it to Plourde. The winner, Imbee Parks of Korea, would not sign autographs.

One golfer Jessica Korda told the group she would be back to sign autographs. Korda fired her caddy, did an interview, and then kept her word and came back and signed autographs.

"You felt all sides of it. You heard the caddy and players talking and getting ready," Bailey's father Bob Plourde said.

Bailey Plourde did not get to play on the Sebonack Golf Club course, which she said was beautiful, and located near the ocean," Bailey said.

Plourde attended a clinic put on by 2010 Open winner Paula Creamer. "The one thing I remember is she said that education is the most important thing. Do your homework first," Plourde said.

Plourde said she picked up several tips from Creamer. "She lays guide sticks to make sure she is aiming the right way." Creamer also told the group when it comes to their "golf swing, that balance is the most important thing," Plourde said. "It was cool. She hit a couple for us and told us how to hit."

Plourde started playing golf with her grandparents Barbara and Tom Wright, of Nobleboro, when she was 5-years-old. The Wrights were planning a golf outing when they were asked to babysit, so they took Plourde with them. "I putted and chipped a little, and it grew from there," Plourde said. She plays with her grandparents during the week and her father on the weekends, and is already out playing all of them. She currently takes lessons from Samoset Country Club pro Gary Soule.

Plourde is fast making a name for herself on the Maine golf scene. In 2011 she tied for first in Division II in the Midcoast Junior Golf Association 14 and under co-ed division. In 2012, she tied for second in the 12 and under co-ed division at the Maine State Golf Association (MSGA) tournament. The winner was from Massachusetts. She went into the second day down six strokes and finished three strokes behind him.

In 2012, she took first in the MSGA championship and points system. She also played in three tournaments with the Women's Maine State Golf Association (WMSGA), and finished in the middle of the pack. Most WMSGA tournaments had between 50 and 60 players.

This summer in the MSGA girls 13&14 year old division Plourde came in first at the Woodlands on June 26 with an 18 hole score of 93; first on July 2 at Martindale with an 84; and first at Clinton on July 3 with a 91

She has qualified to compete at the 2013 Women's Maine Amateur Tournament in Brunswick, to be held on July 29 to 31.

Her best nine hole score is a 37, and her personal best for 18 holes is a 79. Typically she averages in the mid to low 80's.

Plourde said she is "more focused now after going down" to the Women's Open. She hopes to have a starting role on Lincoln Academy's golf team in the fall, and down the road, hopes to earn a college scholarship for her golf talents.

Next year she plans to play in some American Junior Golf Association tournaments, which are heavily scouted by college coaches.



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