MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Most sports are separated by gender but every once in a while, that separation gets challenged. Such as it did this week, when Karen Paolozzi became the third woman ever and the first woman since 2007 to earn a berth in the PGA Professional National Championship.
"Well I've enjoyed the competition with the guys playing as a PGA professional and I want to show them that the woman can play and I want to get more woman out here to play," said Paolozzi, PGA assistant Professional at Druid Hills Golf Club. "We don't see many of the woman professionals out competing in the section events so I think it would be a great thing to make a good showing and encourage some of the other women to come out and play."
And while Paolozzi realizes the significance of this accomplishment and wishes more women would get out on the course and play, that wasn't her goal when she qualified last August.
"Well my goal coming here was to make the cut and I've got some work ahead of me to do that so I'm going to have to go out and play really solid golf. Make some really good puts and birdies and see what the day brings."
Her play has even caught the attention of some of her peers.
"She's gone through the program and she's a credited head professional," said Dennis Nicholl, Head Golf Pro, the dunes golf and beach club. "So I mean if you're a young girl and you want to cheer on somebody, there's your person in the field. Karen Paolozzi."
But Karen isn't the only Paolozzi pro. Her husband, Vinnie, is a golf professional as well but he didn't qualify for this Championship. However, He still showed up to support Karen and she says she appreciates that.
"He handles it very well. There are some people who give him a lot of trouble for [the fact] that his wife beats him in some competitions but then he turns around and says 'hey, she beat you too.'"