GALLOWAY, N.J. – As a 24-year-old rookie on the LPGA Tour, Canadian Stephanie Sherlock is still learning the ropes. Even when it comes to signing autographs.
Sherlock, speaking to 7CsGOLF.com during the recent ShopRite LPGA Classic, said that she had never really signed autographs before joining the tour this season. At the Kia Classic in March, she ran a gauntlet of fans who were lined up to get players’ autographs.
Sherlock said she caught some good-natured grief from fellow players because she was signing her whole, long name.
“I was told, ‘Just put Steph,’” she said, unable to contain her amusement with the incident.
As she continues to perfect her signature, Sherlock is hoping to make a name for herself in the professional ranks. This week, she’s playing in her seventh LPGA Tour event, the Wegmans LPGA Championship, which also happens to be her second major.
Sherlock made the cut at her first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, one of three cuts she’s made so far. Her best finish was a T16 at the Avnet LPGA Classic.
“It’s been awesome,” she said about her rookie experience. “I haven’t really played all that much … I’m still trying to get used to everything. I’ve learned a lot already.”
Sherlock has had the benefit of Lorie Kane’s counsel. Kane, also a Canadian, is a veteran of 14 LPGA Tour seasons with four wins and nearly $7 million in career earnings to her credit.
Kane is generous in her praise of Sherlock and believes the youngster has a promising career ahead. She was even more sold on Sherlock’s ability after the two got to play the final round together at the Avnet LPGA Classic.
“She’s got everything it’s going to take to win out here,” said Kane. “… I was just pleased to see, first, how great her game was. She’s a fellow Canadian, she’s got a smile on her face, she’s appreciative of the fans and the volunteers who help us with tournaments.
“When you have that perspective already and somebody doesn’t have to tell you, that’s going to carry you a long way.”
Mechanically, Kane said, Sherlock is strong off the tee and a “fearless putter.” As far as that type of advice, Kane hasn’t needed to say much. She said the wisdom she’s passed on is more practical for surviving life on the LPGA Tour – where to stay, where not to stay, where to eat, where not to eat – the same things she got from the likes of Nancy Lopez, Patty Sheehan and Amy Alcott.
“The things that they shared with me, I’ve tried to share with her,” Kane said.
“Lorie’s awesome,” said Sherlock. “If I can handle myself like her and represent Canada like her, I’ll be really happy. She’s been really great to me.”
Sherlock said it didn’t take her long to get over any awe-factor she might get from teeing it up alongside the world’s best players. She was able to play in a couple Canadian Opens as an amateur and got to walk with Lorena Ochoa during Ochoa’s pro-am.
Now, she said, it’s just a matter of getting into a routine and adjusting to life as a professional.
Sherlock said she hasn’t set any concrete goals for herself. She said she’s done that in the past – particularly while playing at the University of Denver, where she was a three-time All-American – but it’s only served to put more pressure on her.
For now, she’s content to learn all she can and grow as a player. The wins, like a speedy autograph, will eventually come.
“My goal is to just come out here, do my best and try to have fun and see what happens,” she said. “Just bet patient. Never give up and hang in there; you never know what’s going to happen.
“Just play (my) game, block out all the distractions and try to have fun out there.”
– Chuck Curti