A volunteer 10 years ago, the Boardman native will compete at Squaw Creek.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDCATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- Kelly Cap remembers when she was a junior volunteer and a standard bearer for LPGA professional Lenore Rittenhouse in 1990.
Today, Cap is back at Squaw Creek Country Club where instead of carrying the standard for Rittenhouse, she'll be competing in the same field as the 20-year veteran.
Cap, a 1991 graduate of Boardman High School, is in this week's field for the 2001 Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Squaw Creek.
This is her first season on the tour and although it hasn't been that successful, she feels she is learning more and more each week.
Cap, who led Boardman to back-to-back girls golf state championships in 1990 and 1991, is a non-exempt member of the LPGA Tour.
That means that unless the tournament has less than a full field, she must qualify for the tournament on the Monday of tournament week.
Thus far, she has played in nine tournaments.
Ready for the challenge: This week will be her 10th and she didn't have to qualify since the Giant Eaglefield is not filled up.
Regardless how she got it, Cap is excited, but not nervous.
"No, I'm not nervous," she said Monday as she took the morning for a practice session. "I'm at home and you're never nervous at home.
"I slept in my own bed the last couple of nights and it was tough getting out this morning to come and practice."
Cap remembers being a junior volunteer for the then Phar-Mor in Youngstown.
"I can remember coming right out of that gate [pointing to the tennis courts at Squaw Creek] with my standard bearer and walked up to the first tee," Cap said.
"I carried the standard for Lenore Rittenhouse that year. When I saw her a little while ago, I asked her 'Hey Pineapple [the Hawaiian native's nickname] -- do you remember when I carried the standard for you in this tournament?' "
Cap thought she was going to be playing in The Vindicator Pro-Am on Monday, but she was listed as an alternate.
"I was here so I thought I'd get in a little practice before I have to go out of town this afternoon, but I'll be back early [today]," she said.
Still struggling: Cap was a last minute entry in last week's JAL Big Apple Tournament in New York and again failed to make the cut.
"I played pretty well in the second round [she shot 73], but I played terrible in the first round," she said.
"Wykagyi Country Club is an old golf course, 100 years old I think, and it is very tight and the roughs are high. You have to hit fairways and greens to score well there," she said.
"Putting was my problem in the first round and that's unusual for me since I'm usually a pretty good putter," she said.
Cap is excited about playing this week and is looking forward to the challenges of Squaw Creek Country Club.
"Everybody I talked to today tells me how beautiful the course is here and I can't wait to get out there," she said. "It's exciting to be here and I'm really looking forward to the week."