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Kristi O'Brien

Kristi O’Brien
Age: 23
Current Residence: Fishers, Ind.
Hometown: Fort Wayne, Ind.
Home Golf Course: Crooked Stick Golf Club, Carmel, Ind.
College: Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Profession: Professional Golfer

Career Status
-    2011 Indiana State Player of the Year
-    2011 Indiana Women’s Amateur Champion
-    Two-time winner of the Fort Wayne City Amateur
-    Five Collegiate Victories at IUPUI
-    Lowest career stroke average at IUPUI
-    Competing on the Symetra Tour in 2014

Kristi O’Brien’s life was changed forever in June 2009.  Driving back to college from her parent’s house in Fort Wayne, she was involved in a severe car accident on Interstate 69.

“I remember everything that happened,” Kristi explained.  “I overcorrected to the right and then left to avoid a car coming up from behind me, and eventually I lost control of the car.  I spun two or three times, and then the car rolled and flipped three times.

“I didn’t know if I was going to live or die.”

Kristi’s car was totaled.  Glass shattered everywhere.  Amazingly, she walked away from the accident.  Her golf clubs in her trunk didn’t receive a scratch.

“When the paramedics took me to the hospital, they told me they expected to find a body,” said Kristi.  “They said the fact that I just had just cuts and bruises from an accident like that was nothing short of a miracle.  I was given a second chance at life.”

Kristi has been playing golf since she was five years old, and was introduced to the game by her parents.  Growing up, basketball was her first love.  But In high school, her focus switched to golf and she knew she wanted to pursue the sport in college.  She earned a golf scholarship to Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, enrolling in 2008.

The car accident, which happened during the summer after her freshman year of college, helped her realize just how much golf meant to her.

“That accident changed my life,” said Kristi.  “I realized that life is too short and you shouldn’t live life wondering, ‘What if.’ We have one life to live and I’m going to live life with no regrets.  I will always remember what the accident has taught me.  It has made me appreciate all my friends and family and the life that was given to me.  God gave me this talent on the golf course, and now I’m going to use it to the best of my ability.”

Two months after Kristi’s accident, Colby Huffman was hired as assistant golf coach at IUPUI. He immediately took her under his wing.  He and Kristi’s future husband, Ben, were her support system in getting back on her feet and, ultimately, back on the golf course.

“Colby showed me what work ethic really is,” said Kristi.  “I was absolutely devastated from the accident.  He really helped me see that getting back on the golf course and doing something I absolutely love was going to help me recover emotionally and physically.  It was like it was meant to be.”

She recorded three victories at IUPUI in the season following her accident, highlighted by the Indiana Amateur in 2011 and was named the Indiana State Player of the Year.  At the awards banquet, Colby joined her.  To Kristi receiving Player of the Year was not just her award, but their award.  

“Colby never lost faith in me, and he always pushed me to improve,” said Kristi.  “I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”

Kristi turned professional in 2013, and will compete on the Symetra Tour in 2014 after advancing to Stage II of LPGA Q-School.  When she auditioned for Big Break Florida, her goal was to take that the next step in her golf career.  She realized very quickly that participating on Big Break Florida also served another purpose: A platform to open up about her accident in 2009.

“So many doors have opened for me since my accident,” said Kristi.  “God has another plan for me, and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next.”