PGA Professional Alisa Rodriguez, 26, knew she’d be nervous competing in her first major, but shooting 41 on her opening nine wasn’t what she had in mind. She kept looking over to her dad, and her uncle, the two men who introduced her to the game, and all three knew she could perform a lot better. So she did.

Making the turn and heading over to the par-4 first hole, Rodriguez birdied four of her first five holes on the second nine to save her round, finishing at 2-over 74. Her torrid birdie run on the front nine nearly included an ace, as she hit 6-iron an inch from the cup at the 169-yard fourth hole.

She has two career aces, and said if she were to add one more this week at the Highlands Course, she’d rather it be on the 17th hole, where is car is being awarded.

Rodriguez is the PGA Associate Teaching Professional at Balcones Country Club in Austin, Texas. She had two of her junior students from Texas following along in the gallery on Thursday, and she hoped that they learned something as she hung tough and turned her fortunes around.

“Honestly, the biggest thing is even though you make the turn 5 over, you have plenty of holes left,” Rodriguez said. “It's golf. Like, I didn't think I was going to make that many birdies. I was hoping for it deep down. I was hoping to stretch them out for the whole 18, but you just never give up.”

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