FARGO — It was back in her college playing days at the University of Portland when Lisa Schwinden attended her first LPGA Tour event. It was no ordinary day.
The Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix was buzzing when Schwinden arrived at the course. One look at the scoreboard and all the red numbers after Annika Sorenstam’s name looked almost out of place.
She shot a 59.
It was the first time an LPGA player broke 60 in a tournament, coming in the 2001 Standard Register Ping tournament. Schwinden, currently the head professional at Osgood Golf Course in southwest Fargo, has proof.
She still has the tourney brochure.
Adding spice to the story next week is Schwinden will be one of the instructors at Sorenstam’s “Share My Passion Girls Golf Clinic” on Monday before the Thursday first round of the PGA Tour’s 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities. Schwinden is going to have Sorenstam sign the brochure, on the 20-year anniversary of the feat no less.
“I can’t wait,” she said. “There is nobody in the game as big as she is.”
Schwinden was on a spring break trip that day at Moon Valley. When she got to the course, she said the first thing was to figure out which players to follow and where they were. That’s when the scoreboard caught her attention; one of those where the numbers have to be changed manually.
“Some older guy putting numbers up and I’m like, that can’t be right,” Schwinden said. “It was awesome. It was a cool atmosphere.”
Starting on the back nine, Sorenstam had eight straight birdies to start the round before a par on her ninth hole. She birdied the first four holes of her back nine for an unheard run of 12 birdies in 13 holes.
It remains the only 59 in LPGA Tour history. It’s been done 12 times on the PGA Tour with Jim Furyk holding the record as the only player to shoot a 58.
Sorenstam went on to win 72 LPGA tournament titles before retiring in 2008 to focus on her family. She has since dabbled in returning to the game.
“She did things other players weren’t able to do,” Schwinden said. “So much success. She’s a huge ambassador not only for women in golf but for golf and women. She’s always been my absolute favorite player.”
Such a favorite that Schwinden once had a cat named Annika.
The “Share My Passion” clinic will include 30 girls ages 6 to 14. They were selected based on a written letter on why they love golf. Schwinden is one of 10 instructors from Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota who are LPGA or PGA professionals.
“I’ll be teaching little girls how to hit drives,” Schwinden said. “It will be awesome.”