Megan Osland was under no illusions that her first full season of professional golf was going to be easy.
Still, the steep learning curve that accompanies life on the Symetra Tour has only served as added motivation for the 23-year-old from Kelowna to continue pursuing her dream.
Coming off a decorated, four-year collegiate career at San Jose State University, the transition to the pro ranks has been a challenging, yet positive experience for Osland.
“Other than the LPGA, this is the best tour you can play on, there are women from all over the world on the Symetra Tour and it’s extremely competitive…the best of the best before you get to the LPGA,” said Osland. “In junior and amateur tournaments, I rarely missed a cut. Now I’m fighting every week to make it, that’s not something I’m used to.
“It’s been a good learning experience for me,” Osland added. “It’s my rookie year and I just have to be patient.”
This weekend, Osland will play in her 15th event of the Symetra Tour season, the Decatur-Forsyth Classic in Illinois.
In the previous 14 events, Osland made three cuts and collected $2,164 in earnings.
Her best finish, a tie for 23rd, came last month at the Tullymore Classic in Michigan.
In addition to contending with much deeper fields and older, more experienced players, Osland is also learning to cope with a busier and more demanding schedule.
“In college, we played nine events a year, this year I’m already up to 15,” said Osland, who won two tournaments in her last season of NCAA Div. 1 golf. “You’re in a new city every week, you’re on a new golf course every week…as a rookie you just have to learn as you go. It’s a grind every single weekend and you have to be as mentally strong as you can.”
As much as Osland would have liked to made more cuts and have more dollars to her name this season, her situation isn’t all that unusual for a rookie on the Symetra Tour. Based on past history, the Kelowna product is holding her own for a first-year player.
“If I can continue to develop, then that’s what’s important,” said Osland, who credits coach Sean Richardson from the Harvest Club for keeping her game on track. “There are a lot of players who are successful now, that if you look back, I’m doing even better than they did. It can be discouraging missing cuts, but I just need to tell myself to stick with it and keep working hard.
“For me it’s been a lot fun,” she added. “I get to travel all over the U.S., and I know I’ve grown so much as a person already.”
Like so many newcomers to the pro game, life on the Symetra Tour has presented its share of financial challenges for Osland. With a $500 entry fee for each tournament along with associated travel costs, there is a degree of pressure on players to make cuts and win money. Osland is always on the hunt for sponsors, but for now will continue to share expenses with her parents.
Osland hasn’t confirmed her schedule for the remainder of Symetra Tour season, but plans to play in least a couple more tournaments.
Then in October, Osland will head to the Plantation in Venice, Fla., for Stage 2 of LPGA qualifying.