“Every summer, I get home and reevaluate.
‘What can I do to get better?’ I knew this
summer, with going to Q-School in the back
of my mind, I had three months to prepare,”
Walker, a senior majoring in media journalism,
said. “It was time to really get my game to
where it needed to be. I was really focused
on playing or practicing, trying to eke out all
She sure did.
Walker started a summer to remember by
qualifying for the Shoprite LPGA Classic
presented by Acer June 7-9 at Stockton
Seaview Hotel & Golf Club. She gained a spot
in the field by surviving a 2-for-1 playoff in
the event’s Monday Qualifier. Walker earned a
berth in that playoff by burying a 50-footer for
eagle on Seaview’s closer. In the Championship proper, she missed the cut with rounds
of 77 and 76.
Walker made sure she didn’t miss the
Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia
Match Play Championship, which took place
on her home course a month later. She defeated Old York Country Club at Chesterfield’s
Samantha Perrotta, 12& 11, in the Final for
her first title.
“At the end of the day, I played a little bit
better and had more of an advantage knowing
the course. I know the course like the back of
my hand, so it was a matter of hitting the right
shots,” Walker said. “Usually, I’ve been away
[during the WGAP Match Play Championship].
I couldn’t pass it up, playing at home. It meant
a lot because a lot of the people who have
helped me at St. Davids were able to watch me
Two weeks later, Walker traveled to Kings-
ton Springs, Tenn. to compete in the 89th
Ladies National Golf Association (formerly
known as Women’s Trans National Golf Asso-
ciation) Amateur Championship July 29-Aug.
1 at The Golf Club of Tennessee. She finished
fifth with scores of 69, 75, 71 and 68.
The Tennessee trip turned threefold. Compete in a prestigious event while adapting to
Southern heat. Spend time with sisters Colby,
24, and Devon, 26. Springboard into another
national championship: the 119th U.S.
Women’s Amateur at Old Waverly Golf Club
in West Point, Miss. Aug. 5-11.
In her fourth appearance (2014, 2017-18),
Walker finally broke the match-play barrier,
posting a 1-under-par 143 in the stroke-play
qualifying portion. She birdied the final two
holes to upend 2016 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Champion Julia Potter-Bobb, 1-up, in
the Round of 64.
Walker lost to eventual runner-up Albane
Valenzuela of Switzerland in the Round of 32.
“She birdied four of the last five. I birdied
two of the last five,” Walker said. “There’s not
a whole lot you can do there. But that was
probably the most fun national event that I’ve
And the one that assured Walker of her
Q-School prospects. She advanced through
Stage I Aug. 19-25 at Mission Hills Country
Club (Dinah and Palmer Courses) in Rancho
Mirage, Calif. and Shadow Ridge Golf Club
in Palm Desert, Calif. Walker posted a Top- 15
finish with a score of 2-under-par 286.
STAGE II of LPGA Q-School is set for October at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. Should
Walker advance, a trip to Pinehurst the
following week awaits. If she posts a Top- 50
finish in Stage III, then Walker will earn an
LPGA card. She will still complete her college
education at North Carolina.
“Literally the week after I graduate, then I’ll
be playing in my first tournament,” Walker
said. “Professional golf has always been my
dream. This is the next phase. It’s worth the
sacrifice. It’s nice to get it started. I still have a
lot to do to make it to the end, though.”
It’s a good thing that Walker loves to travel,
given her aspirations. She also enjoys exercising
(an indirect prelude for golf conditioning) and
cooking (nutrition that nurtures a golf soul).
Cedar plank salmon is a personal favorite.
“You soak the cedar plank all day. Then
you put it on the grill, and it infuses into the
salmon,” Walker said. “It’s delicious. It’s al-
ways the dish I want to cook right away when
Walker’s golf beginning isn’t fishy; it’s a
marvel. What happens if Ryan never suffered a
“I’d probably still be trying to chase my
dream of being the first girl in Major League
Baseball honestly,” Walker said. “I guess that’s
how life goes.” m