Kari Bellville graduated from Penn High School two weeks ago and will begin her golfing career at Notre Dame in August.
So she's still an amateur but this weekend she'll be playing with the professionals at the Four Winds Invitational at Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend. It's part of the Symetra Tour, which is billed as the Road to the LPGA. In fact, winning the Four Winds Invitational almost ensures a golfer an automatic spot on the LPGA Tour next season thanks to the 1st place prize money of $22,500.
But because Bellville is an amateur, she won't be going after that.
"I feel no pressure at all because I'm not playing for money," Bellville says with a smile. "I'm just here for the experience so it puts me in a position to just play well and focus on my game."
Bellville will have the comfort of playing in her backyard in front of family and friends.
"I'm really excited to have everyone come out, especially the community," she says. "It puts a different twist on it because you are the local person but I just want everyone to come on out and feel the excitement from the Symetra Tournament and Four Winds. It's a great place to be this weekend."
At 18, Bellville is the youngest golfer in the field but she's no rookie to this tournament having played in the previous two tourneys thanks to a sponsor exemption.
"It's definitely a great experience to be around these girls and learn from them a lot," Bellville says. "I take each stroke and every hole I play with them to heart and I watch carefully and I want to learn for them."
One thing she hasn't accomplished in her first two appearances is make the cut, which occurs after the first two rounds.
"If I get to play in that final round that day it will be just full of excitement and accomplishment with myself because that's my goal right now and to learn from some of the best out here on this tour," Bellville says.
Bellville will tee off for first round action Friday morning at 9am.
The Tournament runs until Sunday. Tickets are $10.