Gerina Piller: First Big Junior Tournament

We all have a beginning to our golfing journey. Learn all about the beginning of Gerina Piller's tournament experience as a junior golfer.


I never played in AJGA. I didn't do--

No junior--

The only tournament that I got in that was kind of well-known was-- at the time, it was called the Westfield Junior PGA Championship. And I didn't even-- I was working at the golf course. I could only play golf because I worked at the golf course to hit balls for free and stuff.

And I was washing carts one day, and the head pro was like, hey, we have a tournament tomorrow. You want to play? I'm like, sure. So I played in it, and it was the first time I broke 70 and ended up winning. And I'd-- like, oh, you won. I'm like, OK, cool. Like, oh, you get to go to Ohio. You just qualified you to go to Ohio. And I was like, really?

So there was this people from Roswell that came together, helped my parents go with me. They paid for it. And that was where, you know, Michel Wie was there. Anthony Kim-- lots of big names that-- Inbee Park ended up winning it. So it was--

Who you are friends with now, of course. You know all these people.

I mean, it was just crazy that-- you know, I get there, and, you know, I couldn't even function because my name is, like, on the range. And, you know, these-- all these other kids are so used to that. Like it was nothing.

You knew-- you knew all these from-- a little bit. You knew some of them?

No, I didn't know--

Any of them?

--anything about anybody.


Nobody. We were just excited because we got a rental car that was a brand new Impala, and we thought that was pretty special.

You like, uh, Tin Cup--

They don't let us New Mexicans out very often.

It's like Tin Cup. So you went to the tournament, and what was it like when you first saw Michelle Wie? I mean, she's like my size.

Yeah. It was pretty impressive because she was definitely a lot younger than I was. I think I was 17 at the time, and that was my last year that I was going to be eligible to play in it. And I just see these girls, and it was very intimidating. I mean, they were so young, so good, and, you know, I could--

So how did it go that week when you were there for that? Do you remember?

I don't. I think I was just excited to--

Be there.

--to finish 18 holes, sign a scorecard. I was just happy to be there.