Golf takes UCA's Christina Lecuyer from Canada to Conway, and maybe all the way to the LPGA By Rebecca Brockman

Golf is more than a game to Christina Lecuyer. It's a stamp on her passport, a living dream, and a tool that allows Christina to give back to her community. The game of skill is also somewhat of a family tradition. Her father, Tony Lecuyer, is an accomplished golf instructor in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Additionally, both of her brothers play, which is what motivated her to start playing recreationally. "I grew up on a golf course, and I'm a bit of a tomboy. I wanted to play with the boys," she said.
A golf scholarship is what ultimately brought the Canadian native to the University of Central Arkansas in 2003. When asked about the transition from Canada to Conway, Christina flashed a big smile and said, "Everything is 100 percent different, from the people to the cultureâ¦it's just so different here." Thankfully, one of her brothers made the move to Conway around the same time.
Although she admits that she experienced "culture shock" when she moved to Conway, she said she loves it now. She calls central Arkansas home, but the game takes her all over the country. Christina had just returned from a 36-day tour when we met over coffee. She said when her flight landed in Arkansas her agenda was already full for the whole two days she was going to be in town. "I had a million errands to do, a private lesson to give, a commercial to shoot, and this interview," Christina said with a very professional tone.
After a very successful collegiate career, Christina turned professional after she graduated from UCA in 2007. At that time, she was the only person, male or female, from UCA to turn pro. According to her website, she won five collegiate tournaments and had 24 Top Ten finishes, earning 1st Team All Conference honors from 2003-2006 and twice being recognized as the Southland Conference Golfer of the Week. She was also a 2-time All-American honorable mention.
Since she grew up around golf and was constantly surrounded by the sport, it was only natural to ask if playing as a professional was a life long dream. "I thought I was going to be a lawyer," Christina said as she sipped her coffee. She said she planned to play golf at UCA and then go on to law school when she graduated.
Her plans drastically changed when corporate sponsors in Canada approached her and encouraged her to pursue the professional circuit. According to Christina, the desire to go pro was the easy part; the funding behind the scenes was the hard part. "It takes between $65,000 and $80,000 a year in sponsorships to be a pro," Christina reported. "You need sponsorships!"
Being on the mini-tour circuit for two years has allowed Christina to travel all over the country and Canada. Recently, she has played on the Futures Tour, Cactus Tour, and Texas Open. Another exciting opportunity took place when Christina was chosen as a contestant for the Golf Channel's reality show, The Big Break.
"The point is to play a lot of golf. There are no substitutes, the more you play, the more prepared you become," she stated confidently.
It was that simple mantra that got her swinging. After high school, she traveled around the world and also worked as a bartender in her hometown. Customers at the bar would host local games, and she soon joined. According to Christina, these customers were very good at the sport. "It helps to play with people who are better than you," she emphasized.
Whether she's playing professionally, giving a private lesson or traveling on tour, Christina strives to be a good role model. "My whole thing is to try to be a nice person, all the time," she said. "I want to be a good person who people look up to."
And Christina practices what she preaches. At the end of June, she was in Little Rock at a First Tee Girls Day Out camp from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. "It's good for kids to learn and play golf," she said. When Christina was a child, her parents would be okay with her and her siblings playing golf all day, because they knew what they were doing and that they were in good company, learning valuable life lessons.
In addition to the camp, she said she is always looking for ways to get involved locally. Clearly, Canada is her birthplace, but the talented golfer has strong ties here in Arkansas. "I've been here for six years and I want to have sponsors here," Christina stressed. The 26-year old is always looking for ways to market herself. "I'm a business, a corporation," she said.
This is a sweeping statement. She plans everything when it comes to selecting the right tour to promote her career, booking flights, hotels, renting cars, scheduling corporate events to attend, practicing her game, and everything in between. "I always have to know what I'm doing next."
Christina said at least two hours of her day are devoted to planning and researching the best tournament to play. She has to stay on top of it all, and she does it mostly by herself. Thankfully, she said she is a very organized person and doesn't mind planning every detail. Having a supportive family also aids the young pro and keeps her balanced. She said, "My dad is all about golf and my mom just wants me to be happy." Having a supportive boyfriend also helps Christina off and on the golf course. "He tells me to live my dream."
Living the dream involves a lot of focus and determination. She recently hired a life and mental coach to help her while she's on tour and during her daily routine. Her life coach's number will probably be on speed dial during the next few years of her career as she tries to land a spot on the LPGA. When it comes to playing on the LPGA, Christina is very confident, "I know I can do it. Whether or not I do it is up to me, it's that simple."
There is no doubt that Arkansans always support one of their own and Christina is no exception. She has represented UCA and this state well.
For information about sponsorship and to follow this local and talented athlete, visit Christina's Web site and blog at www.christinalecuyer.com