From Naples to Houston, Udd Brings Perspective to Champions November 12, 2017 | Houston, Texas By Lisa D. Mickey

Jennifer Udd was excited to play in the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur in her hometown of Naples, Fla., but Hurricane Irma changed those plans. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

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When Jennifer Udd earned a spot in the 31st U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, she was excited that her first USGA championship appearance would take place in her adopted hometown of Naples, Fla.

But Hurricane Irma altered those plans. The September storm barreled into Florida, damaging property and coastlines, specifically host site Quail Creek Country Club in Naples.

“My husband and I … left for Orlando,” said Udd, 31, who grew up in Phoenix, Ariz.

When the couple returned to Naples, they found the flooding had only reached their driveway.

But there also was bad news. Much of Naples, including Quail Creek, suffered serious storm damage, enough to force the championship to be postponed and eventually relocated.

“Everything was just a mess,” said Udd. “We didn’t have power or water for seven days.”

When Udd and her husband, Daniel, the Southwest Florida equipment representative for PING, relocated to Naples in September 2015, they found out the Women’s Mid-Amateur was scheduled for Quail Creek. At the urging of her mother, Becky Sun, who once qualified for a U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur, Udd filed an entry.

More familiar with courses in Arizona, Udd chose the Mesa Country Club qualifying site and shot 81 for second-alternate honors. Her chance to play in the Women’s Mid-Amateur seemed over until the championship was postponed and then relocated to Champions Golf Club. Several qualifiers withdrew, including site medalist Liz Waynick.

“I was pretty stoked when I got in,” said Udd. “But I could not believe that Houston – of all places and after everything that city went through with Hurricane Harvey – stepped up to host the event.”

Udd obviously brings some unique perspective to this week’s championship, and plans to soak it all in. She is especially thankful for the Houston community stepping up to welcome the players in the aftermath of Harvey.

“I know that so many of the volunteers who live here were affected by the flooding,” she said. “I’m sure there’s still so much damage out there, but just like in Naples, we’re starting to see some normalcy again.”

Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites.

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