Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. - Show, don't tell.
Lauren Grogan can do both when she returns to the Central Michigan women's golf program in August for her second year as a graduate assistant to coach Cheryl Stacy.
Grogan closed with a 3-over par 75 Wednesday to finish eighth in the Michigan PGA Women's Open on Crystal Mountain Resort's Mountain Ridge course.
Grogan, 23, seized the first-round lead with a bogey-free 7-under 65 on Monday, then went the opposite direction with a 6-over 78 in Tuesday's second round. She finished at 2-over 218, 11 shots behind winner Suzy Green-Roebuck of Ann Arbor.
Grogan, a native of Columbus, Ohio, who earned four letters in golf at Michigan, turned pro last summer after a 12th-place finish in her first Michigan Women's Open.
She called this year's Open, widely regarded as the premier women's golf tournament in the state, an incredible learning experience and one she can put to good use in both her own game and when she is back on campus working with the Chippewas.
"It's relatable in how to keep your emotions in check and enjoy those great days, but also the days you have to grind," Grogan said. "The key is keeping it in play and giving yourself a chance."
Grogan's 65 on Monday was a career-best. She turned at 2-under, birdied No. 10, then hit the gas down the stretch, closing with four birdies in her last five holes. Her Tuesday round included four bogeys and a double.
The highest of highs, followed 24 hours later by a day on which she had to grind and get back to the clubhouse without shooting herself out of contention. She started Wednesday's final round just three shots off the pace.
"As much as I learned from the 65, I learned from that 78 too," she said. "You learn a lot about yourself and your emotions and how you can tame it. If you can contain a high score, that keeps you in. It's a wide range of emotions.
"It's golf. One day you can be on and everything can be off the next day. It happens. It was a learning experience. Cheryl told me the hardest round is the one that follows your career round. One of those days where you just have to buckle down."
Grogan, who played for Stacy when the latter coached at Michigan, was at 3-over on her round by the time she reached the 11th tee on Wednesday. That, and a strong charge by Green-Roebuck, took winning out of the equation.
Still, she hung in and highlighted the day by jarring a gap wedge from 105 yards on the par-4 13th hole for an eagle, one of only eight recorded by the 86-player field in the entire 54-hole event.
"Winning is the goal and what you're shooting for, but I think I learned more from battling," Grogan said. "You learn so much about your game, your emotions. Feeling like a 75, a 78 is a bad day, to me I am making tremendous progress."
Grogan said she plans to attempt to qualify for the LPGA Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio, in two weeks and later this summer she will play in the Tennessee Open and the Ohio Open.
She also may take another stab at LPGA Qualifying School in August. Last year, she didn't make it past the first stage.
No matter where Grogan plays, she knows she has the full-fledged support of Stacy, their student-athletes, and the university. She said she was in near-constant contact with Stacy and received several text messages and tweets from Chippewa players throughout the week.
"It meant a lot that they're following and they're supporting me as much as I'm supporting them," said Grogan, who enrolled in the masters of sports administration program at CMU in August, 2015. "It was really touching because in just the short time I've been at CMU, I feel like I've gotten close with a lot of the staff. It gives you a little boost."
Grogan said the year in the program working with the relatively young Chippewa program had, without question, helped her own game.
"Just coaching this year, my knowledge of the game has grown, teaching it and processing it in your head," she said. "As much as I was helping them and teaching them, they taught me a lot too in this past year (by) asking questions and making me think about what I was telling them. It definitely does play a role. You want to practice what you preach."