Rockton's Atterbury aiming for the LPGA
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ROSCOE, ILL. When his daughter, Brittany, was just 12 years old, Steve Atterbury of Rockton knew she had an excellent golf swing for a youth player. That belief was further cemented when he took Brittany to a golf clinic hosted by top PGA instructor Michael Hebron, the PGA of America teacher of the year in 1991.
“(Hebron) said, ‘Don’t mess with this girl’s swing, it’s perfect just the way it is,’” Steve Atterbury said. “And (Hebron) said, ‘I’ve never seen a girl with so much craft who wasn’t instructed by a professional golfer.’”
Steve Atterbury said he was inspired by Hebron’s words, and the dream of a professional golf career for his daughter was born.
“I told her, ‘Britt, you can take this game as far as you want. You have two of the key ingredients. You’ve got a good mental focus and a good feel for the short game,’” he told his daughter.
According to Brittany Atterbury, 23, the dream of becoming a pro golfer started a bit later, as a four-time IHSA state qualifier on the Hononegah High School golf team. She said the dream grew when she was recruited to play for the University of Northern Iowa, and it really took hold this spring when she had a 75.7 scoring average at UNI, with a low round of 69, and was named the Missouri Valley Conference golfer of the year.
“This last year was quite a year for her; she improved so much,” said UNI golf coach John Bermel. “I am surprised how fast she got good. She started to understand more about where she wants to be on the golf course and what plays into her strengths.”
Atterbury led the Panthers in just about every category as a senior. She led her team to eight top-10 and five top-five finishes, with three individual third-place finishes and two first-place finishes.
In 2010, Atterbury also had garnered a great deal of attention when she won the Illinois State Women’s Amateur tournament. She placed second at the event in 2011 and has played in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Tournament the past two years.
Now that her collegiate career has ended, and with these great accomplishments, Atterbury is ready to embark on that dream of becoming a professional golfer. In about three weeks, she will move to the Orlando, Fla., area and begin playing events in the SunCoast Ladies Series, and in September will enter stage one of the three-stage LPGA qualifying tournament.
“The last couple of years, things really have blossomed, but I still feel I have growing to do,” Atterbury said. “That’s the main reason I’m going to these tour events and trying to qualify (for the LPGA), because I still feel like there’s a lot of my game that hasn’t been exposed yet.”
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