Caroline Powers, a Bowling Green High School graduate, is looking to improve on last year’s Marathon Classic. She missed the cut. THE BLADE/LORI KING
Caroline Powers majored in elementary education while attending Michigan State University.
The Bowling Green native may end up teaching one day, but she's clearly in no rush to spend all day working in a classroom.
Unless, of course, the classroom is a golf course, and she's routinely schooling her subjects on the game she grew to love as a youth.
FULL BLADE COVERAGE: MARATHON CLASSIC
"It's a good plan B," said Powers, regarding work as an elementary teacher in her future. "I don't know if I'll teach. I'd love to coach and that could be at a college level or a high school level.
"I don't know if I'll ever teach, but somehow I think I'll always be involved with kids."
There may have been a little kidding around for Powers when she took part on Monday morning in a Pro-Am event for the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I. But otherwise, spending time this week at Highland Meadows Golf Club is no laughing matter for Powers, who received a sponsor invite to play.
Powers, who played on her high school boys team at Bowling Green, is still in pursuit of her breakthrough chance at the LPGA Tour level. She is a regular on the Symetra Tour, which is a developmental tour for the LPGA. Her best finish this season on that tour was when she tied for fourth last month at the Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek, Mich. She played in the Marathon Classic a year ago as a sponsor invite and didn't make the cut after finishing 13-over par for two rounds on the course that covers 6,512 yards.
Powers spent several days on the Sylvania course last week in an effort to prepare for the tournament. Highland Meadows head golf pro Nick Myers is Powers' cousin, and she has reached out to him for any advice or tips about the course that could make a difference this week.
Her goal entering the Marathon Classic is to at least show some improvement from last year's two rounds. Making the cut this time and playing all the way to the final round would certainly be a step in the right direction for someone who excelled with her clubs as an amateur in high school and college.
"I played last year and missed the cut and was not very happy with my performance," she said. "Coming back this year I'm a little re-energized and feeling a little better about things."
She's spent the past year working on her all-around game, but, in particular, her putting. She's breaking in a new putter for this tournament and is looking forward to stepping onto the course for the opening round set for Thursday.
"I wouldn't say the approach [this year] is different," Powers said. "I still want to go out and try and find every fairway so I have a good chance of hitting the green because the birdies are out there. If you set yourself up well on the first shot, then you're pretty good to go after that.
"I think the course sets up pretty well to my eye. I found all the areas that I didn't want to go to last year, so as long as I can keep it a little bit straighter this year, I feel good about everything, and I just want to roll some putts in and see what happens."
Powers was the 2013 Big Ten player of the year and was a three-time All-Big Ten first team selection. Her stellar play helped earn her twice the George Alderton Award, which is presented to Michigan State's female athlete of the year.
She completed her college career by being named the 2013 Dinah Shore Trophy Award winner, which is presented annually to a female collegiate golfer "who excels in both academics and athletics." The winner must have a grade-point average of 3.2 or better on a 4.0 scale and must maintain a golf scoring average of 78.00 or less. The elementary education major had little problem meeting those requirements.
Reaching the same kind of success at the professional level is currently what she's trying to accomplish.
TWO QUALIFY: A total of 26 golfers competed on Monday at the Sylvania Country Club for two qualifying spots to play in the Marathon Classic.
Rachel Rohanna of Pennsylvania and Marissa Steen of West Chester, Ohio, each shot 67 to secure spots in the tournament.
TEEING IT UP: Lee Conklin, news anchor for WTVG TV, participated in the Pro-Am on Monday and was paired in the Caroline Powers group.
"It was great," said Conklin, regarding the round of golf with Powers, whose caddie was her older brother, John.
Conklin was also joined by former Channel 13 executive John Christinson, who serves now as executive vice president of Lilly Broadcasting, which is the parent company for Channel 13.
Powers is expected to be a guest on Conklin and Company on Sunday morning at 11.
GETTING READY: The Highland Meadows Pro Shop still had boxes to be opened and unpacked to be put on display early Monday afternoon.
It's all part of preparation for the throngs of people expected to come filing through the shop later in the week when tournament play takes place.
Highland Meadows head golf pro Nick Myers said he usually orders roughly "$20,000 to $25,000" worth of merchandise to be available for purchase during tournament week. The pro shop and a tent are supplied with items that typically attract "20 to 25 percent" of the spectators who attend the LPGA event.
"Hats and golf shirts," said Myers, regarding the items sold the most during past tournaments.
Other merchandise, such as golf balls and flags with the tournament logo are also among the items that seem to draw buyers into the pro shop.