When Jennifer Kupcho stepped onto the grounds at Highland Meadows Golf Club for the Marathon Classic, memories flooded back to her amateur years.
Kupcho played in the 2018 Marathon LPGA Classic as her reward for winning the NCAA Women’s Championship earlier that year at Karsten Creek.
“I love coming back to this place. This is where I came and played my first LPGA event, so it's always special. I love playing here,” said Kupcho, who finished T-16 in 2018.
On Friday, Kupcho shot a bogey-free 65 that kept her within four shots of leader Nasa Hataoka at this week's edition of the Marathon. She closed her back nine with consecutive birdies.
“I think I was just hitting the ball really well continuously throughout the round," Kupcho said. "I just kept telling myself to finish strong and keep putting good swings on it.”
Kupcho has made over $1 million in just three years on tour. Unlike many dominant LPGA professionals who competed on the American Junior Golf Association, Kupcho didn’t play one AJGA event in her junior career and competed mostly near her home state of Colorado. Top amateurs like Rose Zhang and Rachel Heck, Nos. 1 and 2 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, respectively, have competed in many LPGA events.
The Marathon Classic was Kupcho's first and only tour event as an amateur.
“I had never been able to play any LPGA events, so just to be out among the best in the world, it was really cool," Kupcho said. "I played really well, so that was even better, just to get in contention and do that as an Am.”
Kupcho is in contention again and is looking for her first win on tour. She’s had seven total top-10s and two this year.
Her game plan for the weekend is simple: “I mean, definitely just keep going out there and shooting at pins. You've got to be aggressive.”