Lucy Bloomstran was in a hurry to get out of town.
The recent John Burroughs graduate had just shot what she called “a disappointing” 83 in the U.S. Girls Junior Championship qualifier last month at Quincy Country Club in Quincy, Ill.
“I don’t want to be here anymore,” Bloomstran recalled her thoughts at the time. “Let’s get out of here as fast as we can.”
Luckily for the 18-year-old, her father, Chris, who had accompanied her to the talent-rich affair, had other ideas.
Hungry and tired, Chris Bloomstran wanted to check out a nearby barbecue restaurant before making the 130-mile trek back to St. Louis.
So, against Lucy’s wishes, the pair headed across town to eat.
It turned out to be the best move of Lucy’s golfing career.
Minutes after sitting down to eat, Bloomstran got a text message from Brooke Biermann, a Lafayette High junior-to-be who won the tournament with a 6-over-par 77.
Biermann quickly informed Bloomstran that she needed to return to the course within the next 10 minutes to participate in a playoff for second place.
“She said, 'You better get back here as quickly as you can,' ” Bloomstran said. “I had no idea. I never thought (83) would be even close to good enough.”
The top two finishers got to advance to the 71st. U.S. Girls Junior Championship, slated for July 22-27 at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
As it turned out, Bloomstran’s score was good enough to tie for second place with Nicole Rallo, who helped guide St. Joseph’s Academy to its third successive state high school championship last fall.
So Chris and Lucy stopped eating and bolted to the car. Although Chris got stuck behind a slow moving tractor, he managed to get Lucy to the course with less than a minute to spare.
Bloomstan put on her golf shoes in the car, grabbed her bag, and ran from the parking lot to the tee box.
She hit her first drive a whopping 250 yards. Four holes later, Bloomstran recorded a par to win the playoff and gain a berth in the biggest tournament of her relatively short career.
Bloomstran’s rapid progression over the past year, coupled with Chris’ yen for barbecue, earned the long hitter the opportunity to butt heads with 156 of the best junior golfers in the world next week.
“It all happened so quickly,” Lucy Bloomstran said. “But it was still the most nervous I’ve ever been.”
Despite her displeasure with the round, Bloomstran’s 12-over-83 was impressive on the wet and unforgiving course. She carried that momentum into the playoff on the way to the landmark victory.
“A big turn of events in a hurry," she said of the hour-long twist of fate.
Bloomstran was the first to deflect some of the credit for her advancement to Biermann, who took the time to track down Bloomstran's number and call her back to the course.
“She didn’t have to do that,” Bloomstran said.
Added Chris, “Such a classy move.”
Bloomstran is a relative newcomer to golf, playing summer tournaments for only the third year in a row. Yet she has kicked her game into high gear thanks to a lot of hard work and determination.
Under the tutelage of her mentor, area women’s golfing legend Ellen Port, Bloomstran has sharpened all aspects of her game.
Port is an eight-time USGA national champion and former golf coach at John Burroughs and Washington University in St. Louis. She feels Bloomstran is just scratching the surface.
“She hasn’t come close to peaking yet,” Port said. “She’s very teachable. I just give her little tidbits and she uses them to get better.”
Bloomstran helped lead the Bombers to the Class 1 team state championship with an eighth-place individual finish last fall. She shaved seven strokes off her first-round score during the second day of the 36-hole affair as Burroughs rallied from three shots down to claim its second state title and first since 2013.
She spent most of her junior high years playing both volleyball and golf, but decided prior to her sophomore season she would concentrate on just one sport. Golf won out in a close decision — a choice she does not regret.
“It was definitely the right move,” she said.
Bloomstran enjoys the sport but is not obsessed with it. She has other interests. She works at the St. Louis Art Museum and wants to go into that field of study at Scripps College in Claremont, California, where she will be a freshman golfer this fall. She also volunteers at an area animal shelter.
Although her game is progressing rapidly, she still finds it hard to believe she has reached a top level national tournament.
“This was so unexpected,” Bloomstran said. “It’s the first time I’m going to be at one of these big events. Most of the girls have a lot more experience in tournaments like this one.
"But you’ve got to start somewhere.”
The tournament begins with two days of stroke play. The top 64 players make the cut and move into a match play format to decide the national champion.
Bloomstran said if she can reach the round of 64, she would consider it a successful tournament.
“It’s going to be so much fun,” Bloomstran said. “No matter what happens, this is only going to help me become a better player.”