Gigi Stoll is still chasing her LPGA dream
The Epson Tour is the LPGA Tour's developmental circuit, providing opportunity for aspiring women professional golfers to get the seasoning necessary to hopefully someday prove themselves on the world's biggest golf stage.
Former Tigard resident and Beaverton High School alum Gigi Stoll is one of those aspiring professionals who has and continues to put all of her energy into making her dream a reality.
"My head's definitely 100 percent in golf right now," Stoll said. "I'm just doing my best to compete out here and do the best I can and hopefully move to that next stage on the LPGA Tour."
This is Stoll's third season on the Epson Tour, where she's seen both success and failure.
The 25-year-old has made $105,821 during her three shortened seasons and has six top-10 finishes, with a career-best tie for second place at the 2019 Guardian Championship.
This year, Stoll has made nine of 15 cuts and is 46th on the tour's official money list.
Despite a lull of late that has seen her miss her last four cuts, the aspiring young golfer said she's happy with her game and is looking forward to the closing stretch of the season.
"This is kind of the point in the year where you get a little tired, you have some injuries and it's about managing your energy," Stoll said. "I've learned that through the years. I feel like my game's in a good spot and that I'm close, so when everything starts to click it should be good. I had a good start to the year, but I'm looking forward to finishing the season strong."
After this past week's event in Indiana, the Epson Tour heads west in coming weeks with events in Idaho and Oregon, where Stoll will compete in the Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic at Wildhorse Golf Course in Pendleton, Sept. 2-4.
Stoll — who lives in Las Vegas now — said it's been quite some time since she played the Pendleton course, and she is excited to see how it's matured. But more than the course and tournament, she said it's the opportunity to come home that has her most excited.
"It's going to be great to be back on my native land," Stoll said. "I'm just excited to get back to Oregon, no matter where it is."
Stoll's success as a junior and amateur golfer in Oregon was legendary. The four-year letter-winner at Beaverton High School won about everything there was to win in the state and region, including three Oregon Golf Association (OGA) Junior State Championships; two OGA Women's State Championships; and one OSAA state championship. She was the OGA Junior Player of the Year seven times and a four-time Oregon Sports Awards Prep Golfer of the Year.
Additionally, Stoll was twice the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Women's Player of the Year, was a four-time Metro League Player of the Year, and even earned league Player of the Year honors on the basketball court, hooping for the Beavers, in 2015.
For her work on the links, Stoll earned a scholarship to the University of Arizona, where she helped lead the Wildcats to the 2018 women's national team title, just the third in school history.
Stoll said she enjoyed her time golfing at Arizona. But what she really enjoyed was her teammates, whom she said brought out the best in her game.
"It's really fun to have really good teammates that kind of push you to the next level," she said. "That's probably the biggest thing I miss, being surrounded by a bunch of great players that help and encourage you."
The life of a professional golfer can be lonely, and Stoll said there are moments when that idle time between rounds can get to her. She said she usually finds ways to occupy her time, but also at times, she leans on friends to help her along.
"Just being able to have some connections to pass the time is important," Stoll said. "You can get pretty bored out here just being in a hotel room by yourself."
Stoll added that playing the tour is a grind, and that one thing people don't associate with professional golf is the work — both physically and mentally — players commit to the sport.
"I just think people don't really understand how grueling it is to be out here," she said. "We're playing three to four times per week, practicing every day and then traveling, and we have to perform. It wears on your mental (health), and the lifestyle we live isn't as glamorous as it sounds."
But can Stoll one day make that leap to the LPGA Tour? She thinks so, but at the same time, she understands that in order to do so, she'll need to keep working, get better, and further understand her own game — especially in the heat of battle.
"Maintaining your putting and chipping is the biggest thing out here, but you also need to understand your game," Stoll said. "One of my goals is to get to know my game the absolute best. I can't go home and see my coach every week, so being able to fix things in the middle of a round can give you confidence and really help you perform when you need to most."
The Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic at Wildhorse Golf Course at the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton is scheduled for Sept. 2-4, and is a 54-hole event. For more information on the event visit the Epson Tour website at epsontour.com.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.