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Ill Child Gives Postillion A New Outlook

 

By Ken Klavon, USGA

 
 

Ocala, Fla. – There was a time when Kerry Postillion had an insatiable competitive drive and the fearlessness of a tight- rope walker on the golf course.

Yet sometimes life grabs you by the collar to necessitate change. And in Postillion’s case, for a reason that nearly broke her heart. 

 
Kerry Postillion blasts out of a greenside bunker Monday in winning her first-round match. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)  

After securing a 3-and-1 victory against U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur stalwart Mary Jane Hiestand, 50, of Naples, Fla., in the first round of match play Monday, Postillion looked unaffected by the win. Always accommodating, always polite, - “It’s a shame I had to play against someone so nice, super nice,” joked Hiestand - Postillion’s eyes darted to her left wrist when asked how she kept Hiestand at bay throughout the battle.

The rubber band that rested snugly around the wrist said, ‘Never Give Up.’  Hiestand continually applied pressure in the match, but could never cut into a deficit that vacillated between two and three holes down.

For the 46-year-old Postillion – a three-time Women’s Mid-Amateur runner-up – the championship isn’t so much about looking back anymore as it is about enjoying the time at hand. That’s because the reinstated amateur, along with her caddie-husband Vic, were dealt a cruel hand in May of 2007. That’s when they learned the oldest of their four children, 21-year-old Victor, was diagnosed with a pediatric form of bone cancer. So rare was it that there are only about 400 cases in the U.S. There’s no rhyme or reason for it, said Postillion, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.

 Their lives as they knew it went into a tailspin. Anyone who is a parent understands that when children hurt, you hurt. What makes it worse is the helplessness that foments inside like water reaching its boiling point.

“Extremely,” she said when asked how emotional she was during the ordeal. “We were very lucky that we had a number of family and friends behind us and praying with us.”

Victor, back at the University of Arizona today, went into Rush University Medical Center in Chicago on May 12, 2007, and walked out this past Easter with the cancer in remission. He started outpatient treatment but soon was readmitted for six or seven months, Postillion said.

The incident obviously played tug-of-war with the Postillions’ emotions and took its toll on them physically. Vic and Kerry took turns flying to Chicago to stay with their son over long spurts so he wouldn’t have to deal with treatment alone.

Postillion’s decision to skip last year’s Women’s Mid-Amateur at Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich., was a no-brainer.

So here she is again, still chasing a title that has eluded her for many years. The former LPGA tour competitor hasn’t played as much as she used to and the swing isn’t as compact as it used to be.

That’s OK.

“I don’t feel as focused as I used to,” said Postillion. “I don’t think my competitive desire is what it used to be. I feel funny saying this, but now I look forward to seeing friends more than playing when I come here.”

The silver lining is that she can thank her son, Victor, for that. Death has released its vise-like grip, which is a relief, and whether Postillion winds up winning will certainly take on new meaning.

Ken Klavon is the USGA’s Editor of Digital Media. E-mail him with questions or comments at kklavon@usga.org.

 

 

 
Championship Facts

U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur

PAR AND YARDAGE – Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club will play at 6,173 yards and a par of 35-37—72 for stroke-play rounds. For match play, the course will play at 6,193 yards.

COURSE SETUP – The USGA Course Rating® for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club is 76.5 and USGA Slope Rating® is 134.

Tees, fairways, approaches and collars, height of grass – 0.425 inches

Putting greens – 0.120 inches with a speed of 10.5 to 11 feet on the USGA Stimpmeter

Intermediate Rough – 0.75 inches (6-foot width)

First Cut, Primary Rough – 1.5 inches (15- to 20-foot width)

Second Cut, Primary Rough – 2.5 inches

ARCHITECTS – Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club was designed by Charles Pace and Lee Popple and opened in 1964. The course was redesigned by Rees Jones in 2005.

THE USGA AND FLORIDA – The 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship will be the 17th USGA championship conducted in the state of Florida. It will be the seventh national women’s championship and the third U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur to be conducted in the state of Florida. In 1988, the championship was held at Amelia Island Plantation in Amelia Island, and in 1992 it was played at Old Marsh Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens.

 

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