After a runner-up finish last week, Beth Bauer has greater expectations at Squaw Creek Country Club.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- One week can mean a lot in the daily grind of a professional golfer. One week has meant a lot for Beth Bauer.
Don't be surprised to see Bauer playing with a new-found confidence this week in the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Squaw Creek Country Club.
An LPGA tour rookie, Bauer, 22, put herself into position for her first victory last week in the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic. In the final round, however, Rachel Teske overtook the field for the win, dropping Bauer to second.
"As a rookie your goals are, 'I just want to make a cut. I just want to make a check,' " Bauer said. "Now, I feel like I have higher expectations -- a top 10 or trying to get in a lead and stay there."
Dominated Futures tour
Bauer, of Tampa, Fla., earned her opportunity on the LPGA tour by dominating the Futures tour last season. She won four tournaments, earning rookie and player of the year honors and over $84,000.
"It really helped to play out there and do well," said Bauer, a former standout at Duke University. "I got a lot of confidence in my game last year."
Bauer, who is second to Natalie Gulbis in LPGA Rookie of the Year points, has played in all but two of the 17 events this season.
In addition to last week's second place, Bauer has five other top-25 finishes, including a sixth-place tie at the LPGA Corning Classic.
"I'm just trying to pace myself out here," Bauer said. "I'm a player who loves to play every week, and you've really got to learn to take weeks off, which is hard."
With 20 events on the Futures tour last year, Bauer felt compelled to play every week in an attempt to gain a top ranking and her LPGA tour card. She's still in the middle of a balancing act.
"I don't think I know quite yet what my limit is, as to how many events in a row I can play," she said.
Bauer's 2002 season already has been filled with plenty of memories. Ranking at the top are last week's tournament in which she worked herself into contention and June 20-23 at the Wegmans Rochester LPGA, where she played in the same group with Nancy Lopez.
"I had every opportunity to win last week," Bauer said. "Rachel just outplayed me a little bit the last day. I didn't make some putts coming in, but overall I played really well."
Bauer has spent so much time traveling to various tour stops that she hasn't had the opportunity to fully enjoy the LPGA experience.
"After the season's over, I'll probably be overwhelmed," she said. "Right now you're just in the gist of traveling from week to week, just trying to do the best you can.
"We travel so much that you don't really have time to think about it."
Bauer traveled with her mother, Chris, for the first part of the season. Lately, the golfer, who learned the game from her parents, including her late father John, has been on her own.