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Swinging To Success

Julie Aime
Julie Aimé holds the Babe Zaharias Open trophy at the Beaumont Country Club, Sept. 18. Courtesy photo.

From Lamar University stand out to LPGA professional, Julie Aimé has worked her way to be a successful golfer.

Aimé was a three-time collegiate competition winner while at Lamar, where she won three Southland Conference team awards. Now, she has added to her accolades after grabbing the trophy at the Babe Zaharias Open in Beaumont, Sept. 18.

 “When I made that winning putt, everything went black,” she said. “The nerves just rushed through my body and at that time, I knew I finally did it.”

Aimé competes on the Symetra Tour, the qualifying circuit to the LPGA Tour, and the win earned points to take her one step closer to receiving full status on the LPGA Tour.

The Babe Zaharias Open was hosted by Beaumont Country Club, which happens to be Aimé’s home course when she is in Southeast Texas. Playing her home course has its advantages, Aimé said, but it also carries a lot of stress. 

“I’ve played this course a thousand times, and I had to figure out how to approach the tournament,” she said. “I tried to play the course like I always do, but when you are playing at home everyone expects you to win.”

Golf is a game of ups and downs, Aimé said, and the tournament started with needing a replacement caddy because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Xavier, who has been caddying for me for over a year now, went home and could not get back into the country,” she said.

Having short notice, a friend and member of the country club volunteered to help out.

“My friend, Stan, he just wanted to help out and push the bag — it was great,” she said.

When it came to the tournament, Aimé said she faced new struggles.

“I started off pretty good and I actually did better on holes that were, in my mind, playing harder,” she said. “The easiest holes, that I always birdie or felt at ease, were the tricky ones.”

Going into the last round, Aimé was tied for the lead. The final round was back and forth. And Aimé said the win was sweeter knowing she had worked hard all day to pull ahead.

“It was tough battling it out with the other two girls I was tied with,” she said. “Those two are also on the Symetra Tour. It was a grind, and I'm really happy that I fought and was able to win. It was fun.”

Aimé had faced a tough up-and-down at the final hole to seal the win.

“I had hit my chip and left myself with a decent putt,” she said. “Obviously, I wanted to go finish it right away, but you can’t. You have to mark it and make it, the last putt. I just told myself to breathe when I got up over it and put a good roll on it.”

The France native said she has had a lot of ups and downs to get to where she is today. Her experience at Lamar was a huge part of that process.

“I played four years at Lamar, and college golf is its own beast,” she said. “It teaches you that golf is a grind. It is super exciting to win, but in order to do that you have to hit a lot of walls in order to learn. You must take a few steps backwards in order to move forwards.

“I was blessed in college to have a coach (Brian White) that would see a mistake and rectify it — he made me better. College is filled with a lot of competition, so getting those reps in and having someone push you really made a difference.”      

Golf is said to be played on a six-inch field — the distance between one’s ears. Aimé said believing in one’s self is the biggest key to playing well.

“You have to be true to yourself to be a good golfer,” she said. “That can really make or break you. I used to be a perfectionist and came to realize in golf you can't be. I would get so frustrated that all my hard work isn't paying off, but then I realized I can’t play that way.

“I had to be confident and trust my game was good enough, despite the good and bad shots. Some weeks it's your week and others it is not. You just learn from it and then go after the next one.”

Golf is not about playing the opponent, but playing against the course, Aimé said, that’s just what she did at the Babe Zaharias Open.

“You have to have the mental game to come out and just play the course,” she said. “You can't worry about beating your opponent. And that is what I did, I came out here ready to play BCC.”

Aimés said she has learned a lot on her journey from college in Beaumont to being a winner in Beaumont, and has stayed true to herself.

Category: Sports