Hurst off injured list, teeing up at LPGA Q-School

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Vicky Hurst returned to competitive golf Wednesday for the first time in five months. Hurst, 24, had a lingering left-wrist injury that took a turn for the worse at the end of June during the LPGA’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. It effectively ended her 2014 season.

“Last off season, I took about a month off, thinking it was going to be OK, but I came back out and played,” Hurst said. “I was being stubborn, and even though I wasn’t playing great, I was in pain.”

Hurst played in 12 events during the first five months of 2014. She made one cut, missed eight, was disqualified from one and had to withdraw from two.

By June, she finally decided enough was enough. Hurst’s doctor found two cysts, a tear in her TFCC (a cartilage tear) and a lot of inflammation.

Hurst hung up her sticks for three months, and during her absence, concentrated on physical therapy to get her wrist back to health.

“I got a shot of Celestone right in the thumb area,” Hurst said. “I think the injection really took the pain from a nine to a two pretty quickly. The shot was for inflammation. … We know what the issue was.”

It was the first time in her playing career that Hurst was out with a severe injury for a significant period of time. The time off allowed her to spend time with her family, have more of a social life and take some online college courses at Northeastern University.

Hurst, who was a standout junior player and earned 2007 AJGA Rolex Player of the Year Honors, never thought about playing collegiate golf. She jumped right into the professional ranks at age 17.

Hurst insisted she is nowhere close to graduating college, but that she will continue to take online courses.

“It keeps the brain cells working,” she said.

During Wednesday’s first-round 2-under 70 on the Jones Course, Hurst said it felt good get back into it and playing under pressure. Surprisingly, she wasn’t nervous on the first tee.

Hurst has promised herself that she will want it more than ever – she still is chasing her first LPGA victory.

“Taking time off gives you another perspective and the time that I do have, it’s precious, and I have to be serious about it,” Hurst said. “I have to play well and practice hard. I can’t waste time out there, so I think getting back into the game after taking three months off, really just stepped up the efficiency of my practice and my all-around game.”

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