December 12, 2006 > Pat Hurst, long hitter, big winner
Pat Hurst, long hitter, big winner
by Steve Michel
LPGA champion, Pat Hurst, honed her golf skills under the eye of her stepfather, Frank Bundt, at Hayward’s Skywest Golf Course, and Tony Lema Golf Course at the San Leandro marina. She excelled while playing for San Leandro High School from 1983 to 1987. Even then, she was known for her distance off the tee, consistently driving the ball 260 to 280 yards.
After high school she attended San Jose State University and was named an All-American as one of the best female college golfers in the United States. While waiting to qualify for her tour card, Hurst worked locally as a teaching pro. Then in 1995, she was off to the LPGA tour. Three years later, she bagged her first major championship, the Nabisco Dinah Shore Classic. She had her best money year to that point, in 2001 when she collected over $800,000 in prize money.
Her golf game took a back seat for several years as she married and had two children. However it came together again this year, her best ever. She tied Annika Sorenstam for First Place at the U. S Women’s Open in Newport, Rhode Island in July. The two met for an 18-hole playoff the next day. Sorenstam, the world’s top female golfer, took the trophy by four shots over Hurst. But finishing second in the biggest tournament of the year is nothing to be ashamed of.
Hurst then went on to win the Safeway Classic in Oregon in August, which pushed her all the way to number seven on the LPGA money list at $1,073,397. This was the first year Hurst broke the $ 1 million mark in prize money for a single season. More locally, Hurst played in the Longs Drugs Classic at Blackhawk Country Club in Danville September 21 to 24.
She finished 13th, playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in many years. "It’s always a lot of fun playing with my family and friends watching me. Anytime you have people behind you it pushes you a little bit more" Hurst said. "I really enjoyed this week"
Another local golfer, Pleasanton native Paula Creamer, finished three spots behind Hurst in 16th. Keep an eye on Creamer, she was last season’s LPGA Rookie of the Year.
Hurst has not forgotten growing up in the East Bay." I remember playing Wednesday nights in the birdie league at Skywest" Hurst said. "We were playing for skins money and we would have team bets. It will always be something I will remember".
Golf fans won’t forget Hurst either. With career prize money earnings over $5.4 million, Pat Hurst may be the best female golfer ever, out of the East Bay.