Posted: July 11, 2015 8:25 pm
There may be no one more equipped to handle a 13-over-par 83 in a round at the U.S. Women’s Open than Liz Nagel.
More than anyone, perhaps, she has been able to keep golf in perspective for a couple of reasons.
No. 1, she’s still learning and understands that playing golf with the best women’s players in the world is a process.
No. 2, not too long ago, she came through treatments for thyroid cancer, which slides making bogey instead of par down the importance chain.
Not that she is settling for bogeys. Far from that.
She is as determined as anyone and has been that way ever since her father handed her a golf club as soon as she could hold one. The determination has helped her on the golf course but so, too, in coming through her cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Nagel, 23, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2012, her junior year at Michgan State. She had surgery, went through radioactive iodine treatments and was declared cancer free after a year.
And maybe she’s been able to handle the ups and downs of golf because of the ups and downs she faced in the aftermath of her surgery and treatments.
She spoke of dealing with how her body felt, about how the doctors couldn’t tell her what she would feel. That bugged her the most. She wanted to know how she could expect to feel. So, she went day to day.
There are some residual effects today. Nagel’s dad, John, said they are still trying to regulate her liquid intake and when and what to eat during a round.
Nagel’s dad was on the bag for Saturday’s round. He talked about her being a battler, on and off the course.
“Liz has three different gears,” said John Nagel. “It’s cruise control, where everything is positive going forward, and then there is that determination mode. Like Friday, she knew where she was on the cut line and she flipped it into determination mode, put her head down and grinded away.
“Then she has a hazy mode, and that’s where she was today.”
Nagel, playing in her first U.S. Open, recorded bogeys on the second and third holes before righting the ship with a birdie and two pars. But two bogeys followed.
“I got in my own way today,” said Nagel, who shot an opening-round 2-under 68 before a 5-over second round Friday. “I missed a couple of short putts and really let it get to me and frustrate me.”
She turned pro last year and played in her first LPGA Tournament two weeks ago. She has also played on the Symetra Tour.
One more round to go and a chance to put Saturday’s round in the rearview mirror.
“It’s just great to be here,” she said. “I shot 83 today, but it’s an honor to be here and I love every second of it.”