Joanna Coe, PGA Director of Instruction at Merion Golf Club (Haverford, Penn.) and a member of the eight-woman Corebridge Financial PGA Team at this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA, can’t decide what makes her look forward to being back in New Jersey more: Is it all the great golf ... or is it the pizza and bagels?

Coe is playing in her fifth KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and her comfort level grows each time she competes. Coe, 2022 Philadelphia PGA Women’s Player of the Year award and Women’s Philadelphia PGA Professional Champion, has big New Jersey ties. She grew up in Mays Landing, in the southern part of the state, and she worked at Baltusrol for six years. She teed off at 7:46 a.m. on Thursday, and knows the place better than most.

Getting ready to play a major during the busiest part of her golf season is a true challenge, but Coe says she tries to sneak in as much practice and rounds as she can manage this time of year. It can be tiring, but it’s worth it.

“If I just keep my golf swing in a place where I know it can function under pressure, then that's really the goal,” said Coe, who was an NCAA Div. II national champion at Rollins College in 2008. “I have advisors helping me do that. And then it's taking care of the health. I've had some knee issues in the past, so working out, eating well, taking care of my body, taking care of those things, because golf is already hard enough.

“I'm on the lesson tee 8:30 to 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., it's exhausting. Soon as I go home I eat dinner and I'm out. This time of year, it's a grind, but I love it. I love it more than anything. I can't imagine doing anything else.”

Coe said there will be a busload of members from Merion that are headed to Baltusrol to watch her play. That’s pretty cool. And as always, there is something she will pick up this week that will be valuable in her teaching when she returns home.

“I always come back with a lesson or two from a major championship experience, and they're always very curious of that because they're never going to experience it themselves for the most part, the people I'm teaching,” Coe said. “The odds are not in your favor. So if I can bring that and help them win a club championship or a Junior (Championship), or break 90 for the first time to help them understand what it feels like to do it under pressure."

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