Four months into the LPGA Tour season, Beth Bader has managed all of four tournament starts.
Only 10 more full-field opportunities await. Bader missed a chance at an 11th when she fell two shots shy of qualifying for the July U.S. Open in a 36-hole qualifier Monday in Florida.
In her 10th season on the premier women's golf circuit, Bader came into the new season needing only $26,000 to surpass the career $1 million mark.
She's still on that number after missing the cut in each of her first four starts.
"It's very hard to get your rhythm," Bader said. "I would rather play 10 in a row than play two weeks on, then three weeks off."
That's the new reality on a scaled-back women's professional golf circuit, said Bader, who grew up in Eldridge, Iowa.
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The 36-year-old pro played last week in a nonsanctioned event in Brazil and has found herself playing mini-tour events in Arizona just to stay competitive.
"You just try to play," she said. "When you're practicing, try to put yourself on the golf course. Don't just go to the range and bang balls. Play some games and have friends you can practice with, someone you can put some money on it with or something."
Bader will return to the Midwest in two weeks for the LPGA State Farm Classic in Springfield, Ill. That will kick off a run of four straight full-field events.
Although she is battling a nagging elbow injury and sports a scoring average of 77.25, Bader said she is on the verge of playing well.
"Golf is so fickle," she said.
"You just need one good shot, one big putt and then it changes your momentum.
"I feel good. I'm actually hitting the ball real well. I feel like every time I tee it up, things are getting better. I'm looking forward to Springfield."