ROCKFORD — As a two-time IHSA Class 1A State Championship qualifier, Rochelle golfer Megan Thiravong has earned plenty of opportunities to test her skills against elite high school players in the state of Illinois.
This month brought a whole new challenge, however, as Thiravong represented the Jane Lyons Elite program in the 43rd Annual Rockford Pro-Am, which paired prep athletes with PGA and LPGA professionals.
“Having the opportunity to play in this year’s Pro-Am was the highlight of my summer golf season,” Thiravong said. “It was an honor to represent the youth golf community and the Jane Lyons Elite program. Our team enjoyed playing on the well-tended Aldeen golf course.”
Thiravong’s amateur foursome (Finley Rock, Brooke Bunjes and Kate Chavez) scored a 17-under-par 55 to take home first prize in the tournament. Each foursome played with a tour professional, and Thiravong was fortunate enough to be paired with LPGA rookie Kristen Gillman, who fired a 6-under-par 66 to tie for first place among pro players.
“I felt very lucky to have been chosen to play with Kristen Gillman and meet other tour professionals,” Thiravong said. “Not only am I an athlete from outside the Rockford area, but I was the only incoming junior on our team. Kristen was extremely accurate with her shots and she almost never missed a birdie or par putt. She’s such an amazing woman and she’s everything I aspire to be in the future.”
Thiravong was joined by Rochelle assistant coach David Cartwright, who served as Thiravong’s caddie for the tournament. The rising junior has been grinding all summer in preparation for her third season with the RTHS program. Thiravong said her short game has allowed her to perform well in her summer tournaments.
“Having Mr. Cartwright at the tournament to support me definitely allowed me to score well while having a great time,” Thiravong said. “Chipping next to the hole and saving a par is one of the best feelings in golf. I was fitted for a new driver this summer and a new iron set about one week ago. I need to work on my approach shots because of how different the new irons feel compared to my old clubs.”