A pro was going to violate the rules. Then her caddie stepped in.
His company was good. So was his eye.
Jillian Hollis was happy for both.
The LPGA tour is playing the first-ever Kroger Queen City Championship this week, and Hollis is playing a home-state game; she’s from the Cleveland suburbs, and the Kroger, at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, is about four hours south. You want to be in good form in the weeks where folks on the other side of the ropes know your name, and Hollis has been. Late last month, she won the Circling Raven Championship on the Epson Tour; she’s eighth on the developmental tour’s money list, which grants LPGA tour cards to the top 10; and this week, the 25-year-old is playing her fifth event in the big leagues.
“It’s such a privilege to come here and play in my home state and to play in front of everybody like I grew up with,” Hollis told LPGA.com earlier this week. “Hopefully I have a lot of Ohio fans here this week. It’s just really cool anytime I get to play here. I played in Toledo the last couple years, and it’s just a very familiar feeling being here, and I have so many people around here that really love and care and support me.
“I think Ohio is such a great place to play in the summer. It’s not great in the winter, but if we can get the LPGA Tour here for five, 10, 20 more years, I think you’ll see more and more tournaments around this area, and just getting to compete in the first one is such an honor. It’s really cool.”
That takes us to shot one on hole one. And the caddie who saved Hollis up to four strokes.
As first reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Hollis was paired up with Luke Brennaman, one of 10 Kenwood caddies looping this week. If you’re a baseball fan, you may know the last name; Luke’s grandfather, Marty, was a Reds announcer, as was his dad, Thom. For Hollis, a caddie is a bonus; she told the Enquirer that she either carries her own bag, or a friend does.
“I’m just super pumped to have Luke,” Hollis told the Enquirer before the tournament. “I just wanted somebody to kind of walk with me and keep me company, and he’s been so nice.”
Ahead of her opening tee shot, Brennaman counted Hollis’ clubs. The older caddies at Kenwood told him that’s a looper must. And his pro’s bag during Thursday’s first round had 15 clubs. You’re allowed 14, the rules say. If Hollis had played the first hole with one club over the limit, she would have been hit with a two-stroke penalty. If she had played two holes, another two strokes, though Hollis wouldn’t have been assessed more than that.
These things happen, and caddies make these catches. But considering the week and the circumstances, it’s notable. After taking a club out, Hollis shot a two-under 70. And she was in a position to play the weekend in front of all of her people.
And what did Hollis say to Brennaman?
“She told him he saved her round,’’ Dominic Parisi, the Kenwood caddie manager, told the Enquirer.