Brooke Pancake plays golf for a living.
It’s her job. She competes almost every week on the LPGA Tour against the best women players in the world. With a top-70 season ranking, Pancake is in that group.
Pancake, who grew up in Chattanooga, will be competing against all of them this week in the U.S Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 — the same course where the best guys in the world played last week.
“It’s truly incredible,” Pancake said before heading to North Carolina. “I’m building off a lot of confidence.”
She will the playing in her third U.S. Open. The former Baylor School golfer — and four-time state champion — made her professional debut in the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open at Black Wolf Run in Koehler, Wis.
“The last couple of years, getting into the Open was a high,” she said over the phone. “But now I want to be a competitor.”
Pancake is No. 67 on the Race to CME Globe standings — the LPGA Tour equivalent of the FedEx Cup. She is No. 69 on the official money list for the LPGA.
She’ll be testing her skills this week against the current greats of the game, including Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Inbee Park, Karrie Webb and Lexi Thompson.
“I’m working on my game to improve its quality so I can show up in majors,” Pancake said. “If you have the game that can play at a major, then the rest of the season is great.”
Pancake has scored off-the-course victories in the last six months. She married Derek Rende, a former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfer from Hixson whom she’d met in her younger years. And Pancake agreed to be an ambassador for the fledgling clothing line Chase-54.
She will be the first golfer to be sporting the line in a U.S. Women’s Open when the tournament starts Thursday.
“She’s the perfect ambassador because she’s young, full of energy and fashionable, and she’s everything we wanted with our line,” said Chase-54 creative director Lulu Faddis. “She’s cute. She’s beautiful. And she has the game to back it up.
“We’re a young company and we’re trying to break into a big market, and the only way to do it for us is to put the clothes on somebody who gets attention.”
Pancake has enjoyed her agreement with Chase-54. The company name is based on the theory that every golfer should chase the score of 54 — a perfect round of birdies on all 18 holes in a round — and everybody should chase their own perfection on and off the course.
“I’ve always loved fashion,” said Pancake, who owns a condo on the Southside, near Enzo’s Market, with her husband. “It’s cool that I get to wear the new stuff that’s about to come out.
“It’s nice knowing that I’m an ambassador for a clothing line, because it means I’m headed in the right direction.”
The attention could grow based on Pancake’s performance this week. It could grow even more next month and on a different continent.
Pancake, this past weekend, announced on Twitter that she has been invited to compete in the British Women’s Open.
But another major is first on the schedule.
“I am trying to build my game game to be at its prime for the U.S Open,” said Pancake, whose caddie is longtime friend Tripp Harris. “I want to be be the most positive and confident person [this] week.
“Find all of the positives.”
Courtesy of: David Uchiyama