U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
Preamchuen Taking Break From Boatwright Internship This Week
November 13, 2017 | Houston, Texas
By Lisa D. Mickey
It’s not every week that an internship converges with a national championship. But after this week’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, first-time competitor Ket Preamchuen, 26, of Thailand will be finishing her six-month P.J. Boatwright Jr. internship with the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA).
When the stint ends later this month, the Kennesaw State University graduate will have experienced most aspects of championship administration, which includes course setup and operations for the state association’s 18 competitions.
This week, however, her focus is on competing. She successfully navigated the two stroke-play rounds, posting 5-over-par 149 at Champions Golf Club to earn the No. 18 seed and advance to a Round-of-64 match on Monday against Allison Schultz at 10:51 a.m. CST.
“I’m just trying to enjoy the game and do my best,” said Preamchuen, who reached the Round of 32 in the 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur and 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links championships. “I hope I can make it to the Round of 32 again.”
Of course, the longer Preamchuen stays alive, the more days she will be away from the office. Then again, her boss won’t have to look far to keep tabs on her. GSGA executive director Matt Vanderpool is serving as Preamchuen’s caddie after attending last week’s International Association of Golf Administrators annual meeting in Arizona.
When Preamchuen qualified for this championship, it was scheduled for early October. But damage from Hurricane Irma forced a postponement and relocation of the championship from Naples, Fla., to Houston, and Vanderpool gave the intern permission to play.
Preamchuen, who regained her amateur status in May after a brief stint on the Symetra Tour, earned her undergraduate degree in sports management from Kennesaw State after starring for the Division I school for four seasons.
She completed an internship with the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) – also located in suburban Atlanta – in the spring of 2014 before trying her hand at professional golf.
But life as a professional didn’t suit Preamchuen well. She earned $450 in her first tournament, which had a $500 entry fee. That didn’t include the expenses she incurred by making the 12-hour drive from Georgia to Indiana.
In short order, Preamchuen never adjusted to the lifestyle, and she began pondering her next career move.
“When I went to Q-school, my goal was to make the LPGA Tour, but I didn’t think far enough ahead,” she said. “Pretty soon, I realized I needed to be able to make a living.”
The former member of Thailand’s National Team also discovered that she was homesick for Georgia, which had been her home since arriving in the United States to launch her collegiate career.
While competing for the Kennesaw State, Preamchuen was a two-time most valuable player and a three-time National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) Division I All-American Scholar.
The Owls also benefited from Preamchuen’s younger sister, Kaew, who followed Ket to the Atlanta-area school in the spring of 2012. The sisters pushed each other along with the rest of the team. That spring, Kennesaw State won the Atlantic Sun Conference championship and qualified for the NCAA Division I regionals for the first time.
When Preamchuen’s pro plans faltered, she headed back to Kennesaw State in 2015 to serve two seasons as the assistant women’s golf coach, while pursuing her master’s degree in sports management.
(Her sister, meanwhile, graduated from Kennesaw in 2015, and is currently the assistant women’s golf coach at the University of Central Arkansas.)
Preamchuen is hoping this Boatwright internship will help open new doors in her burgeoning golf career.
“She’s been a wonderful asset to the association this year and she’s worked extremely hard as our Boatwright intern,” said Vanderpool. “Honestly, her passion for the game is infectious.”
A former Boatwright intern himself, Vanderpool credits the program for his own path into golf administration. Through the program, established in 1991 and named for the USGA’s third executive director, the USGA provides funding that enables state and regional golf associations to hire temporary staff through paid internships. Many interns such as Vanderpool have gone on to highly successful careers in the golf industry.
“It allows us to bring along the next generation of golf administrators and leaders in the game, and has given a lot of people opportunity, including myself,” Vanderpool said. “I know Ket wants to stay in golf administration and she’s exploring some opportunities. With an internship at the AJGA, a stint in competitive golf and her internship with us as an administrator, I think wherever she lands, she’s going to be a valuable asset.”
For now Preamchuen’s focus is on Monday’s match against Schultz. Everything else can be put on hold, hopefully for a few more days.
Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites.