Benefield: St. Vincent grad Jessica Maynard is one determined golfer
Jessica Maynard picked a bad time to get injured, but the 2012 St. Vincent grad then went and picked a super time to make a statement that she’s fully recovered.
It was the summer of 2017 and Maynard, a professional golfer now living in Rowlett, Texas, was playing 18 holes with friends. Sometime during the round, her ball was sitting on a tree root. Maynard swung away.
Immediately, she knew something was wrong.
“I had two tears in the triangular fibrocartilage,” she said. That’s in the wrist, on the pinkie finger side, to you and me.
Maynard, 25, waited six months to have surgery in California. And she kept playing golf.
“I played all the way up until my surgery. I have a really high pain tolerance and I’m stubborn,” she said.
Surgery was in early 2018.
“(It) was only supposed to be an hour and a half, but it took three hours because I had more damage than they thought,” she said.
Then came the cast. It was nearly up to her left armpit.
“They didn’t want me to move my wrist at all, not turn my hand over or anything,” she said.
It was four months of regular rehabilitation before she was given the all-clear to chip and putt. It was five months until she was released to go to the driving range. It was six months before she could actually play a full course.
“It was slow,” she said of her recovery.
But some part of the past year had to have been worth it, because Maynard notched her first win as a pro at the Northwest Women’s Open from June 24-26 in Federal Way, Washington. It was a course with incredibly fast greens that were troublesome to nearly everyone out there, Maynard said.
“It gives me confidence, just the mental aspect,” she said. “It’s pretty big because at this level, everyone is really good at golf. It’s just playing well at the right time.”
And “this level” means the hundreds of pros who are trying to make the LPGA Tour, just like Maynard.
Qualifying School, the three-stage grinder in which golfers must survive cut after cut in order to make the LPGA, starts with Stage 1, Aug. 19-25 in Rancho Mirage. From there, qualifiers are thinned to a group that makes Stage 2 in Venice, Florida, Oct. 12-19. Stage 3, or Q-Series, is Oct. 21-Nov. 2 in North Carolina.
This will be Maynard’s second try at Q school. She said her game wasn’t on the first time around and she didn’t make it out of Stage 1.
“It’s really hard to make it straight to the LPGA,” she said. “My goal this year is at least Stage 2.”
Maynard is currently competing in the Kathy Whitworth Paris Championship in Parks, Texas. She was leading after the first day but by close of play Thursday was tied for 13th.
Maynard came to golf her freshman year at St. Vincent after watching her cousin play in a tournament. The Mustangs didn’t have a girls team competing that fall, so Maynard had to start her career with the boys in the spring.