Emily Javadi is in the middle of the pack after the first round of the Ira Templeton Chattanooga Open golf tournament at Creeks Bend.
She's also doing something that's never been done before.
Javadi is the first female amateur to compete in a PGA of America Tennessee Section tournament, according to tournament director David Olinger.
"I'm not sure a lot of people know that we allow anybody to come out and play," Olinger said. "I think that it's cool that she wanted to come out and play against the men -- PGA professionals, no less. Props to her."
Javadi shot a 4-over-par 74 from the white tees, which total less than 500 yards shorter than her male counterparts -- amateur and professional -- who played the course Monday. Javadi, a former Baylor School golfer playing collegiately for Sewanee, is tied for 29th and trails co-leaders Greg Wyatt of Crossville and Walt Chapman of Knoxville by six. Bob Rice of Pikeville leads the senior division by 1 after shooting a 69 from the white tees.
"I hope this serves as a model for other girls," said Javadi, a Creeks Bend club member. "It's pretty cool that I'm the first. I'm out here playing golf and having fun."
Javadi, who finished sixth in the 2014 NCAA Division III tournament, said she wanted to play in one tournament before starting a summer internship with a neurologist in Memphis later this month. This seemed to be her best option based on the location and the facts she knows the course and has played well there in the past.
She spent practice time over the last week playing from the blue tees, which tip out the course. Then she learned Monday morning that she'd play from the white tees, where she's more comfortable. It happens often when women professionals play in TPGA events across the state.
"I was so nervous," Javadi said. "The first couple holes I was hitting it on point. Then I missed a couple of putts."
She made the turn at 1 under. Javadi closed her round by scoring bogey, bogey, double-bogey.
"I wish she would have stayed nervous," joked her father A.J., who served as caddie. "I had no worries about her playing in this tournament against guys. It's a good tournament on her home course."
It's also about the competition and not the gender of the competitors. They all play the course -- not each other. And she's played the course more than most golfers in the field.
"She wanted competition, and she's in a competition," her dad said. "I really recommend more boys and girls start playing."
A.J. Javadi shook hands with Bruce Etter, head professional at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, as Etter waited to hit his tee shot on No. 10 and Emily finished her round.
"I think it's great that she's playing," said Etter, who helped Javadi develop her swing. "I'll bet that she's beating a lot of us pros."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...