Former Georgia Golf All-American Garrett Phillips completes LPGA quest


Former Lady Bulldog golfer Garrett Phillips sank a birdie opportunity on the fourth playoff hole to end a six-year quest, qualifying for the LPGA.

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The two-time All-SEC selection and 2008 All-American officially finish 19th in the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at the LPGA International Golf Course in Daytona Beach to secure her spot on next year’s tour.

“It was about 10-12 feet and it was a left-to-right slider,” Phillips told “The pin was in a really tough location. I talked to my caddy like it was a normal putt. I wasn’t really nervous. I was thinking ‘I want to make this right now.’ We were getting the angles and talking it out and it went right in the heart.”

The putt ended an odyssey for the former Georgia Golf All-American.

After playing her first two seasons at Augusta State, the St. Simons Island native transferred to Georgia in the fall of 2006. At Georgia, she was runner-up at the 2007 SECs and placed third-place at the 2008 NCAAs.

Phillips spent 2009 and 2010 playing on the Symetra Futures Tour, posting a pair of top-10s and finishing in the mid-30s on the money list each year. In 2011, she played primarily on the Ladies European Tour, again with mixed results. When she returned home from Europe in 2011, Phillips found herself with little qualifying status to get into the fields on the LET and Futures circuits.

“I took a year off in 2012,” Phillips said. “I had no status in Europe and I had gone to (LET) Q-School and missed the final stage by a couple of strokes and I had no status on the Futures Tour because I had played mainly in Europe and only played four events here. I had nothing to do. I ended up moving to Ponte Vedra and kind of nannying, taking care of this kid who played golf.”

That relationship allowed Phillips the opportunity to return to the Futures Tour in 2013 with Eggland’s Best as a sponsor.

“The family I worked with in Ponte Vedra in 2012 had a friend who owns an egg company that distributes Eggland’s Best eggs throughout the Southeast,” Phillips said. “I met him and they really wanted to help me out. They started sponsoring me last year. Eggland’s Best has been with me for two years now. It was the first time I really didn’t have to worry about money. That was a huge relief and helped me focus completely on golf and not worry about the money part of it. That can be pretty stressful.”

This summer, Phillips recorded three top-10 and another top-20 in her final 11 Futures Tour appearances prior to Q-School.

The five rounds of the final stage of Q-School provided another roller coaster for Phillips. She was tied for 15th following a two-under 70 but slipped to 65th after shooting 76 in the second round. Her ascent back into the top-20 began with a third-round 70 followed by a 6-under 66 that vaulted her from 60th to 25th. Phillips closed with an even-par 72 and originally thought she was one-shot shy of earning an LPGA card as a top-20 finisher.

Over the past six years, my experiences and everything I’ve been through have prepared me for this.

‘When I finished on 18, they had a leaderboard and it said top-20 was 5-under and I was 4-under.” Phillips


. “At that moment, I thought ‘Oh my gosh, I missed it by one.’ I was kind of devastated and tired and was thinking ‘I can’t believe I did all this to miss it by one.'” My caddy and I went to the car and talked some stuff out and my caddy started looking at her phone. Within like 20 minutes, it literally went from ‘Oh my gosh, I missed it by one.’ to ‘OK. We’re in. We’ve got a chance.’”

About 90 minutes after she originally thought her day was over, Phillips was among seven golfers fighting for the final three LPGA cards in a three-hole playoff.

“We drew a number out of a hat,” Phillips said. “There was a threesome that went off first and then I was in the foursome. I was the last person to tee off. I birdied the first hole, bogeyed the next hole and parred the last one. There were six of us at even-par and one who was 1-over so she was out.”

From there, the remaining golfers entered a sudden-death playoff.

“They split us up again and I was in the last group again,” Phillips said. “In the sudden-death, if all three of the girls in front of us birdied, we had no chance since they were first in. That’s just how it is. Two girls parred and one birdied to get the No. 18 spot and then I birdied to get the No. 19 spot.”

Phillips did so at No. 10, the same hole she bogeyed in the initial three-hole playoff.

“The first time I went for the pin to be aggressive and I ended up over the green,” Phillips said. “I had a really difficult chip and I bogeyed it. The second time, I really cut it and tried to get on the right side of the fairway into this opening because the pin was in the back left. It was longer green and went to the left so the pin was tucked. I had a 9-iron and I hit it absolutely perfect.”

“I think I had over 30 texts right after I finished,” she said. “It’s hard to put into words. It’s been so hectic, but a good hectic. I feel like over the past six years, my experiences and everything I’ve been through have prepared me for this. I’m excited for next year.”

“I think maturity has played a huge role,” Phillips said. “I had to go through a lot of stuff. It helped me develop into who I am today. I’m just excited and ready for this experience. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, but I didn’t want to do it until I was 100 percent ready.”