Sophia Schubert didn’t waste much time telling reporters how she felt.
“You know, I want to cry,” she said just moments after missing out on a career-changing major victory Sunday at the Amundi Evian Championship, which Brooke Henderson won by sinking a 12-footer for birdie on the final hole to finish at 17 under, a shot clear of Schubert.
But make no mistake, Schubert wasn’t sad.
“I want to cry tears of happiness,” Schubert said after her breakthrough runner-up finish. “I'm proud of myself, proud of everyone that's helped me get to this point. It came just short, but I know that I'll be back, so I'm really happy.”
Schubert’s professional journey has seen few of these happy moments since the former Texas standout graduated in 2018, a year after winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur. She earned her Epson Tour card later that year at Q-School, but in two seasons she amassed just over $28,000 in prize money.
“Between a worldwide pandemic and sporadic confidence highs and lows, it was hard to find my groove,” Schubert wrote for LPGA.com at the start of this season.
In 2020, Schubert appeared to be thinking about life after competitive golf, as she accepted an opportunity to work for Golf Channel at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Schubert credits that experience, however, for rejuvenating her game.
“Karen [Stupples] reminded me that it’s ‘just golf,’ the same golf I’ve been playing my whole life,” Schubert explained. “It was important for me to hear that. Observing and commentating on the game was different. It made me become much more specific with my own thought processes and shot choices. Never would I have guessed that this opportunity would propel my own game. But it did.”
Schubert won on the Epson Tour in 2021 and parlayed that into an LPGA card. Though she posted no top-10s in 11 starts entering the Evian, Schubert didn’t lose trust. "I have a lot of support back home," Schubert said, "and they've been telling me over and over again, 'You can do this. Just be confident.'"
She also adjusted the lofts and lies on her clubs recently, a move that straightened out her ball-striking and gave her the confidence to go toe to toe with the LPGA’s best.
On Sunday, Schubert carded just one bogey – she had just two, plus two doubles, all week – and played clean golf down the stretch to secure what appeared to be a spot in a playoff. Schubert had missed a short birdie putt at the par-5 18th, but a group behind her, Henderson snap-hooked her drive and look to be making par at best.
“I was kind of nervous all day, a little more than yesterday, and Brittany just kept saying, ‘Hey, just take a deep breath. It's OK. Just keep doing what you're doing,’” Schubert said. “I think the last few holes coming in actually I just had the sense of like peace, so I just hit every shot and kept going.”
Henderson ended up recovering, sinking the winning birdie putt and ending Schubert’s hope for a playoff or outright win.
But Schubert, who was barely ranked inside the top 300 of the Rolex Rankings and had never cracked the top 50 in a major championship before this week, was happy to just have had the chance.
“It was something that I always wanted,” Schubert said of contending for a major title. “I knew I could get there. There was a little bit of doubt, but I mean, I couldn't be with better company.”
If Sunday was glimpse at what lies ahead for Schubert, she'll find herself with that company again.