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Two local golfers will face nerves, test at Raintree

Allison Emrey and Laura Wearn have played in hundreds of amateur golf tournaments, from junior and high school events to the college ranks.

Yet they admit to a certain level of nervousness heading into their next tournament – this week’s Symetra Classic, which begins Thursday at the Raintree Country Club.

Emrey is among 10 players taking part in their first professional tournament, with the Ardrey Kell High graduate earning a sponsor’s exemption into the LPGA Symetra Tour event.

“Yeah, I’m a little nervous,” said Emrey, a senior at Wake Forest. “It’s the next stage up.”

Wearn, a Charlotte Country Day graduate, is also playing on a sponsor’s exemption, and is trying to make the cut in her first Symetra Tour event after turning pro this month.

“It’s definitely been a little bit of an adjustment, what with all the traveling and having to figure out how to enter tournaments,” said Wearn, who graduated from Furman in December with a degree in business. “It’s a lot different than college golf.

“I talked to friends about what they thought about pro golf, and some of the experiences they had. Ultimately, with all the good and the bad, I love golf and wanted to give it a try, and see how I could do.”

The past several months have also been an education for Wearn, an All-American who earned an at-large berth into the NCAA Division I championships her senior year.

She maintained her amateur status for her first two Symetra Tour events, making the cut and finishing tied for 24th in Sarasota, Fla., in late April. However, since turning pro, she has missed the cut in the past three tournaments.

“I haven’t played nearly as well I would like,” Wearn said. “I’m working on a few things in my swing and in my game that haven’t quite clicked yet. But I think it will soon.

“I’m really just trying to get better, and getting more comfortable out here. Obviously, I want to play good golf, but my goals have been changing. I’m still figuring some of that stuff out.”

That learning curve is something Emrey hopes to shorten during the Symetra Classic. She’s already played practice rounds with Wearn and former Wake Forest teammate Cheyenne Woods, who turned pro two years ago, and plans to ask lots of questions to others.

“That’s what I did in junior golf,” Emrey said. “I asked all the older girls about college (golf) and what the recruiting process was like. It makes it easier going forward.”

It also helps that Emrey – whose last competitive round came in a NCAA Division I regional tournament in Washington state two weeks ago – is playing close to home, and on a familiar course.

“I’ve played this course in middle school and high school matches with my team,” said Emrey, who won a state individual and team championship with Ardrey Kell. “I think I can score well, which will help my confidence level.

“This is where I want to go after college, so there’s a little bit of excitement and nervousness together, but it’s good. I’m excited to see where my game stacks up against some of the best players.”

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