Blog 292, 1/1/2014 - Gebhardt Reflects On Up and Down Year

Jessi Gebhardt
For Bellingham's Jessi Gebhardt, 2013 certainly had its moments. She shot a 63 at a Symetra Tour event in the summer, and recorded five top-six finishes on the Cactus Tour. But inconsistencies in her game prevented it from being her breakout year which, as anyone who recognizes how talented she is and how hard she works, knows is coming sooner or later. Earlier this week, Jessi spoke with BellinghamGolfer, assessing her 2013 and looking forward to 2014.

How do you feel about your golf in 2013 - good, bad, or otherwise?

I have mixed emotions about 2013. I gave myself some opportunities to be in contention, had my best round ever, finished 37th on the Symetra Tour money list, and made it to the final round of LPGA Qualifying school. But I didn't make it to the Tour, and didn't record a win. It's tough working hard on your game but not reaching your goals. But I will use the frustration as motivation to practice even harder.

You had some good results on the Cactus Tour and a handful of good finishes on the Symetra Tour including a tie for third in Michigan. You're clearly capable of contending at Symetra Tour events, so what do you think prevented you from recording more high finishes this year?

I feel I could have had several better finishes if my ball striking had been a little better. It truly was the worst it has ever been with regard to getting the ball close to the hole to give me a chance of making birdies. I suppose it did make my short game better though. A lot of times I would be scrambling and having to get everything out of my game just to stay around par. The other thing that held me back was my mental state. I would often wait for something to happen in my round (good or bad) in order to get started. Sometimes, I waited too long before finally getting my act together and letting myself score. Next year I want to be more aggressive when I play, not worry about making a cut. I want to figure out how to win.


The 63 you shot in the second round at the Symetra Tour event in Indiana was obviously your round of the year, and followed a first round 79. How did you manage to turn it around so quickly? And what did that 63 tell you about your game?

I was able to turn it around because I just let myself play. I wasn't worrying about messing up. Things couldn't get much worseafter that first round, and I felt like I had nothing to lose. Early in the morning, Martin (caddie and now husband) and I went to the practice green to work on one thing - getting my putt to the hole or 18" past. I let go of all results and the restrictions I put on myself. The round confirmed to me I have the ability to play quality golf. If I want to continue playing golf that way I need to let go of results and figure out how to get that feeling every time I step on the course. I've got it in me which is exciting to know. 


What area(s) of your game do you think was lacking this year, if any, and what are you working on in the off-season?

I think my ball-striking was lacking along with my mental game. I ofte felt I couldn't maintain my mental strength throughout the whole tournament. As for the ball-striking, I'm going to be working hard on that and seeing an instructor to get me back on track. 


How much off-season will you allow yourself?

I am allowing myself a lot of off-season which is unusual for me. I've been away from the game for two weeks and I hate it. I'm excited to get back down to Arizona and start working on my game. The off-time has been nice though, because it is very relaxing. I was a little burnt out but the down time has made me realize I want to work hard and get better. I'll be heading back to Arizona on Friday, will start practicing right away, and play my first tournament of the year in late February.


jessiandmartinThe highlight of the year away from the course was obviously marrying Martin (left). Where did you get married, and will you be making your home in Bellingham or Arizona (the couple met at Lake Padden when Gebhardt was 15)?
You're right, it was definitely the highlight of the year. We got married at Evergreen Gardens in Ferndale on August 24th. We are making our home in Arizona. Martin is no longer caddying for me because he's going back to school (ASU) to get his Masters in Accounting. After he finishes in May, who knows where we'll make our home? It is an exciting time for both of us, and I will be changing my name to Jessi White soon.






Martin has been a constant companion for a while, but what do you think being married will do for your outlook and, in turn, your golf?

I am so happy to be married to him and I know that he is my number one supporter. I will miss him not being on my bag, but I think it will make our relationship stronger. We will have more quality time when we are together. It will be more of a personal relationship than a work relationship. I think I will be more determined than ever to play well and contribute what I can to our relationship.


You just missed out on Category 17 (restricted membership) LPGA status at qschool, shooting three-over 363 for the five rounds. How did you feel in the days following the tournament? Downhearted that you had come close again, or encouraged knowing that you have the game to do it?

I was mostly frustrated knowing I finished six shots out of where I need to be - in the top twenty to gain full membership. I would like to get my full card because I know I will be successful on the LPGA when I get there. I feel the Symetra Tour is the best place to earn my card, and I know I can play all the courses. Even if I got my Category 17 card, I wouldn't be satisfied because most girls that get that status are in limbo and usually struggle more because they don't know which tour to play. They don't get into a lot of LPGA events. It will be good to prove myself on The Symetra Tour. Like I said, I want to learn how to win and The Symetra Tour is a great place to do it. 

What are your goals for 2014?

I am confident it will be the year I break through. My goals are to win, win, and win. Nothing else matters. I want to step on to the tee every day feeling like I did the day I shot 63. Worrying about scores and results isn't the way to go. In order for me to play the golf I want to, I need to live in the moment and be aggressive.

Add comment

Security code