Maude-Aimée LeBlanc, a Montreal native, is gearing up for her second tournament as an LPGA rookie today in the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif.
She is one of only two Canadian rookies on the LPGA tour this year. But she took a decidedly American route to the professional golf circuit: She played collegiate golf at Purdue University where she helped the Boilermakers win the 2010 NCAA team championship.
To truly grasp the determination and zeal that this rising young golfer brings to the game, an anecdote from her Purdue days is revealing. To prepare to compete with golfers from southern universities where golf is played year-round, Maude-Aimee would practice in the snowy Indiana winters by driving shots from inside a garage out into the snow and then pull on her boots and winter coat to go out and retrieve the balls. That inventive persistence combined with a disciplined practice ethic and schedule makes LeBlanc a tremendous competitor.
Last week, she finished 51st in the RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup. After getting over the minor jitters of her first professional start, LeBlanc settled in to shoot an even par for the tournament.
“My game is as good as any out there,” she said. “It’s a matter of consistency and experience.”
LeBlanc felt good about her long game, driving the ball off the tee in the 290 yard range. She has been working on her putting, which is improving and will only get better as she feels more comfortable, she said.
Getting her first LPGA tournament under her belt definitely helped bolster her confidence. LeBlanc feels like she’s on her way with her good showing last week. With Garda as her main sponsor, and Callaway and RBC, LeBlanc says she can put all her attention to her golf game.
At the Kia Classic, she took a couple of practice rounds on the course before hitting the ball for real today to help her feel more comfortable out there. One thing Maude-Aimee LeBlanc knows for sure: She’s ready for the LPGA on her drive to the top.
For complete coverage, visit the LPGA Kia Classic website.