Bocra hopes Futures Tour helps launch pro career

first_img By tim morris MANALAPAN — Gia Bocra is a late-bloomer in the world of golf. She didn’t start playing until she was 16, and even then, basketball was her sport. At Rutgers Prep, the Monroe native was a 1,000-point scorer and a three-time All-State Prep School selection at point guard. But there was something about golf, that once she was exposed to it (by her father Bill Bocra), it made her stick with it. “It’s definitely habit-forming,” she said. “You’re always thinking. It’s similar to shooting free throws. You have to repeat your routine and keep your focus. You have to stay in the moment.” Despite the late start, Bocra played her way onto the Rutgers Prep golf team her senior year, where she was playing with the boys. And when she discovered there wasn’t a lot of interest in small point guards in women’s college basketball, Bocra turned to golf. She played two years at South Alabama before transferring to Rutgers where she played her final two years. Bocra is a teaching professional now at the Fairview Golf Club in Greenwich, Conn. Despite the enjoyment that it brings her, there is a burning desire to be a professional golfer on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. That craving brought her to Knob Hill last week for the SBC Futures Golf Tour stop there. The SBC Futures Tour has been the official developmental tour of the LPGA since 1999. The tour provides direct ways for women to qualify for the LPGA. The top three money winners at the completion of this year’s Futures tour will automatically receive exempt status on the 2002 LPGA Tour while those finishing fourth through 10th will be entered into the LPGA’s Final Qualifying Tournament where they will have the chance to play their way onto the tour. All of this is down the road for Bocra, who was making her professional tournament debut at Knob Hill (she had earned her way there by playing in a tour qualifier last year in Florida). “I wanted to get an idea on what it’s like to be on the tour,” she explained. “There is a lot of camaraderie among the players. I’ve had a good time. I like what I’ve seen, and I enjoyed myself.” Bocra chose to make the Knob Hill stop her first one, because it would enable her parents Bill and Lucille, who still live in nearby Monroe, the chance to see her play. Bocra harbors no illusions of instant success. She knows that she is playing catch-up against women who have been playing the sport much longer than she has, women who have been playing since they were old enough to swing a club. It was the reason she looked to the SBC Futures Tour as a measuring stick to judge herself against the pros and better gauge what she needs to do to be a serious contender. She would find out that from fairway to green, she is on par with the pros. The big gap was off the tee, where she conceded too many yards. “I’ve got to hit the ball farther,” she pointed out. “I have to work on gaining more strength, so that I can hit it farther. “My biggest attribute is my accuracy,” she added. “I keep the ball in the fairway and I’m pretty good around the greens.” Bocra learned enough this week to know that she has the potential, if she makes the commitment. “I’m going to put my life aside and put in the time and that is what it takes to get better,” Bocra remarked. “I’m going to work on my game all winter. I’m going to find my niche and work towards it. “I was an average college golfer, but I don’t want to be an average professional,” she added. “It’s my ambition to make the tour.” The SBC Future Tour was made for golfers like Bocra, who plans on joining the tour full time next year. Bocra was playing Knob Hill for the first time last week and liked what she saw. The par-71 course was designed by PGA pro Mark McCumber. “They did a really good job, the course is in great shape and the greens are rolling well,” she noted. “It’s a tough course. The fairways are narrow. And it’s long.” One of Bocra’s first jobs in golf after graduating Rutgers was with Don Brigham at the Rumson Country Club last summer. Corey Brigham, Don’s son, an ex-high school star at Rumson-Fair Haven who is playing golf at the University of Maryland, was Bocra’s caddy at Knob Hill. Staff Writer last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *