Rod Sedorcek couldn't help but laugh.
A long-time St. Louis-area golf teaching professional and swing guru, he snickered when one of his new students — Brooke Biermann — approached him with a simple request seven years ago.
"She said, 'Do whatever you have to do to get me on the LPGA tour someday,'" Sedorcek said.
"I'd heard that a lot, most of the kids say stuff like that," he recalled. "But this was different. You could tell she wanted it. And her reason — that told me she was serious."
Biermann wasn't looking for fame or fortune.
Nope, she wanted to reach the top of her game so she could start a foundation for her little sister, Ashleigh, who has been slowed by a life-altering medical condition.
"How many 9-year-olds can think like that," Sedorcek said. "She was so determined. And it wasn't for herself. It was about someone else."
Biermann, with Sedorcek as her mentor, is well on the way to reaching that lofty goal.
The junior-to-be at Lafayette High has kicked her already strong game into high gear over the last month with a host of impressive efforts on the national level.
The 16-year-old won a United States Junior Championship amateur qualifying tournament last week at Quincy Country Club in Illinois with a 6-over-par 77 to dust a highly-competitive field by six strokes. That victory qualified her for the 71st. U.S. Girls Junior Championship on July 22-27 at SentreWorld in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The event features 156 of the top junior players in the world.
Biermann also reached the semifinals of the 93rd Women's Western Junior golf tournament at Woodland Country Club in Carmel, Indiana the week before. She posted a two-day score of 4-under 140 claim the No. 1 seed and reached the final four in match play.
In addition, Biermann earned an exemption to compete in the 44th PGA Junior Girls Championship at Keney Park Golf Couse in Hartford, Connecticut next week.
Those victories, coupled with a strong summer campaign last year, have helped her develop into one of the top young players in the country.
And Sedorcek has been with her every step of the way.
"I trust him with everything about my game," Biermann said. "I mean everything. He tells me the truth and tells me what I need to work on. Then we go from there."
The 55-year-old Sedorcek, a former golf coach at Kansas State University, is cut from old-school cloth. He doesn’t tell his students what they want to hear just because they are paying him. And he isn't afraid to raise his voice if necessary.
Biermann has been taking lessons from Sedorcek ever since she first picked up a club. He says they have met at least once a week for the past nine years.
Biermann has become a polished performer with no holes in her game.
"Her dreams were grandiose at the time, when she first started," Sedorcek said. "But I've seen over the years that she possesses the drive and the ability to work hard to better herself. She's dedicated to her sport and she's committed the time.
She has a vision where she wants to go and I can't see any reason why she can’t get there."
Biermann finished second and fourth in her two high school state tournament appearances. She took her game up a notch last summer with a coming-of-age performance in the PGA Junior Girls Championship in Lexington, Kentucky. Biermann finished 31st in the talent-rich affair and tied playing partner Brooke Seay with a 71 in the third round. Seay is headed to Stanford University.
That effort against the best competition she has ever faced gave Biermann a shot of confidence that continued into this spring/summer campaign.
"I was paired with some of the best girls in the world," Biermann said. "It was an eye-opener that I could play next to those girls. Now, when I go out there, I truly believe that I could be the best player the field. Not in a cocky way, like, 'I’m the best, don't talk to me.’ More like, 'I'm going to do everything possible not to let anyone beat me.'"
Biermann has had little time off over the past few months, but still manages to squeeze in some normal teenage activities. Plus, she recently got her driver’s license.
“I’m trying to have fun and get better at my game at the same time,” she said. “So far, it’s working.”