Why this LPGA rookie has had 11 totally different caddies this season


Celine Borge is displaying what is feasible in professional golf with out a common caddie.

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SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Rose Zhang had all of the instruments when, earlier this yr, she determined to go away Stanford and switch skilled: buttery swing, deft contact, robust thoughts and work ethic.

However there was no less than one asset she was lacking: a caddie.  

Conscious the function wanted filling, Zhang’s supervisor, Kevin Hopkins, prompt she attain out to veteran LPGA looper Jason Gilroyed, who whereas carrying for the likes of Minjee Lee, Cristie Kerr and Anna Nordqvist has been a part of 26 LPGA wins, together with 4 main titles.  

Zhang and Gilroyed instantly hit it off, needing all of 1 begin collectively — final month’s Mizuho America’s Open, at Liberty Nationwide — to file their first win.  

“I do know my very own sport,” Zhang mentioned Thursday after her opening spherical one-under 70 on the KPMG Girls’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol GC in Springfield, N.J. “However he additionally is aware of his stuff, and I’ve simply been studying lots about the way to use yardages correctly, actually being exact with touchdown spots, and he does nice in any respect these issues.”

In her first main begin as an expert, Zhang added that Gilroyed has been a chilled presence. “After I’m out right here at a significant championship, when there’s a variety of stress and there’s a variety of difficulties on the golf course forward of us, I really feel very comfy with him,” she mentioned. “We consider photographs.”

Caddies…important staff, proper?


Ehh…yeah, most experts would inform you. However then there’s Celine Borge, a 24-year-old LPGA rookie by the use of Tonsberg, Norway. Borge posted a cool, three-birdie 69 on Baltusrol’s beastly Decrease course Thursday to seize a share of the clubhouse lead among the many morning-wave finishers. On her bag was Corey Birch, who wouldn’t have appeared acquainted to even essentially the most ardent LPGA fan.  

Heck, even Borge barely is aware of him.

That’s as a result of she simply employed him this week.

“I received him from the membership,” she mentioned after her spherical. “Actually simply need somebody to hold the bag, and he’s been good at that.”

Borge and her caddie at Baltusrol on Thursday.

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If that feels like one thing you would possibly hear from a participant who doesn’t put a lot inventory within the potential advantages of getting a daily caddie who is aware of her tendencies or when to attempt to discuss her out of a questionable resolution, effectively…that’s Borge. As she has traversed the tour, she has accomplished so with out a everlasting caddie, as a substitute recruiting an area looper when she will get on web site — and actually for just one objective: to schlep her bag. This season, that has meant 11 begins with 11 totally different caddies.

She likes to choose her personal golf equipment, learn her personal putts, do her personal factor — simply as she did a yr in the past on the Epson Tour, the place she even declined a push cart and carried her personal bag.

Requested what has been the hardest adjustment to LPGA life, she mentioned: “It’s to have a caddie. I’m not used to having a caddie. I simply attempt to do what I’ve all the time been doing, simply play my very own sport and simply have somebody to hold the bag.”

In Borge’s first begin of the season — the LPGA Drive On Championship — she rocketed up the leaderboard after a third-round 63 and ultimately completed 14th. Since then she had made the minimize in six of 9 begins with two top-20 finishes. This week marks Borge’s second profession main begin, and if her first spherical was any indication, she’s dealing with the swells of the Decrease course’s greens simply effective by herself.

“Simply making an attempt to play as regular as potential and see the way it goes,” she mentioned.

The Girls’s PGA area is enjoying for a file $10 million purse this week. If Borge retains up her effective play, her caddie will take pleasure in a payday he may have by no means seen coming.

Alan Bastable

Golf.com Editor

As GOLF.com’s government editor, Bastable is chargeable for the editorial course and voice of one of many sport’s most revered and extremely trafficked information and repair websites. He wears many hats — enhancing, writing, ideating, growing, daydreaming of someday breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely gifted and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Earlier than grabbing the reins at GOLF.com, he was the options editor at GOLF Journal. A graduate of the College of Richmond and the Columbia Faculty of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey along with his spouse and foursome of children.


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