Big Break Mexico Competitor
Current Residence: Niederanven, Luxembourg
Hometown: Niederanven, Luxembourg
Home Golf Course: Golf Club Grand-Ducal
College: Vanderbilt University
Profession: Professional Golfer
- Member of the 2011 and 2012 Ladies European Tour
- Best Finish T-27 at Omega Dubai Ladies Masters
- Second Team All-SEC at Vanderbilt University
- Graduate of the Leadbetter Golf Academy at IMG
Liebelei Lawrence admits that if it wasn’t for the call to join Big Break Mexico, her professional golf career might be over.
“Big Break gave me a reason to start practicing again,” explained Liebelei when she received the phone call in December 2012. “I would probably still be at home wondering if I was going to continue to put forth the effort anymore.”
The first Big Break competitor hailing from Luxembourg competed full time on the Ladies European Tour in 2011 and 2012. Last year, however, she lost her status on the Tour, and did not earn her card back at second stage of Q-School. Throughout the year, she was battling a back injury, which eventually took its toll on her golf game and her confidence.
“At the end of last year, I had given so much that I just felt like I was empty. I didn’t have any more fight in me. So I started asking myself what I was doing. Do I keep trying until I make it or do I count my losses and walk away?”
Liebelei comes to Big Break Mexico with an impressive golf resume. Her father, an airline pilot, is a lifelong golfer who had a dream of competing professionally, and achieved his goal by competing alongside the game’s best on the European Seniors Tour.
“I’ve always been so proud of my dad and his accomplishments,” said Liebelei. Once I really got involved in golf, I realized I had the same dream that he did, to play professionally.”
Liebelei’s father introduced her to the game at age 10. Golf allowed the opportunity for father-daughter bonding time on the course, memories she cherishes.
Liebelei’s parents knew she had a natural talent for the game, and at 14 she enrolled in the Leadbetter Academy at IMG for a summer camp. The following summer, she returned to the Academy, and returned home to tell her family that she wanted to enroll full time.
“The coaches there saw my potential, and told me that it is now or never,” recalled Liebelei. “It was a nerve-wracking decision to move to the U.S., but one that I was ready to make.”
Through a lot of hard work and determination, she excelled on and off the course during her time at Leadbetter. She enrolled at Vanderbilt University on a full scholarship. During her senior year of high school and throughout college, the dream to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a professional golfer started creeping into the back of her mind.
But she also kept her options open, because she knew that playing professionally takes a lot of sacrifices and a lot of hard work.
“I didn’t want just the title of being a professional,” explained Liebelei. “If I was going to do it, I wanted to give 115 percent. I just didn’t know if turning professional right away was the right choice for me.”
Following graduation in 2008, she decided to take a sales position at a startup sports apparel company.
After 10 months of work and driving by the golf course on a daily basis, she realized she missed the game too much.
She ultimately returned home to Luxembourg in 2009 – a difficult decision to leave the U.S. after six years – and played in amateur events for a year. She finished 19th at the Ladies European Tour (LET) Q-School in 2010, earning full status for the 2011 season.
“At that point, it wasn’t a shocker for me that I made it through Q-School,” said Liebelei. “I knew that I could do it. I think my dad was more excited than I was!”
She achieved moderate success during her first year on the LET, with her best finish at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters (27th). She held partial status going into 2012 and re-entered Q-School with the goal to improve her status.
During the final stage of Q-School, her back gave out. Refusing to quit, she battled through the pain and advanced from 96th position after the opening round to finishing 9th and earning full status for 2012.
She discovered she had two slipped discs in her back and was told to take a break from golf and let her back heal. She ignored the advice and attempted to play through the pain. It is a decision she now regrets.
“I knew I couldn’t perform to the best of my ability because I was compromising my swing to avoid the pain,” explained Liebelei. “I just tried to plow through the pain and take care of everything myself. That didn’t work out at all.”
Liebelei lost her status on the LET, as well as her confidence. She didn’t know where to turn, and was unsure about continuing the grind. She was mentally and physically exhausted.
Then in December, she received the call that she was cast on Big Break Mexico. The phone call invigorated her. She now has a “team” around her – new swing coach and a trainer – to help prepare her mentally and physically for the challenges that lie ahead.
“Being on Big Break isn’t going to erase my thoughts of losing my card last year,” said Liebelei. “It can propel me to some really amazing things if I play the way I know how to play. There is a lot on the line. Doing well here can change my life.
I was at rock bottom, and that phone call to come on Big Break got me out of it,” Liebelei continued. “I am giving golf another chance, and I have Big Break to thank for it.