Pro golfer Amanda Blumenherst chats with young golfers at the LIfetime Sports Academy, Wednesday.

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Amanda Blumenherst interview

Former Fort Wayne resident Amanda Blumenherst was at McMillen Park on Wednesday to give some tips and autographs to younger golfers in the Lifetime Sports Academy program. She also talked about her maternity leave from the LPGA.

Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Former Fort Wayne resident Amanda Blumenherst signs autographs for Lifetime Sports Academy youth golfers at McMillen Park on Wednesday. Blumenherst is in town to conduct a clinic for aspiring golfers.

Motherhood comes 1st for Blumenherst

Returns to city for clinic during hiatus from golf

– Former Fort Wayne resident Amanda Blumenherst decided to take a leave of absence from the LPGA tour last year. That leave has turned into a maternity leave as she and husband, Oakland A’s first baseman/designated hitter Nate Freiman, are expecting a baby Nov. 26.

“It was a tough decision because, unfortunately, sometimes sports can define us,” she said of stepping away from the game. “I had been playing golf since I was about 4 years old so it was a part of who I am.

“I really haven’t (stopped playing) yet because I am still playing in pro-ams and clinics, so I am still very much involved. I haven’t completely stepped back, but yet I am not playing in tournaments.

“It has been a completely different change. I have been able to travel a little more and spend more time with Nate. Also I get a more flexible schedule … and also start gearing up for a family.”

Blumenherst returned to Fort Wayne and took some time Wednesday to give a clinic for aspiring golfers at Lifetime Sports Academy. She gave tips and signed autographs for 30 minutes at McMillen Park.

“This is one of the events I look forward to every year,” said Blumenherst, who added it was her fifth time at the academy and tries to return to Fort Wayne once a year. “This is so much fun, and I think this is such an amazing program. I want to teach them golf is a lifetime sport. It’s such an amazing sport.

“I love it, and I hope they can keep at it and keep going strong with it.”

Blumenherst, 27, said she and Freiman, 27, began talking about her taking the leave long before she got pregnant. She married Freiman, a former player for the TinCaps, in 2012.

She revealed last August she was stepping away from tournament golf at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Blumenherst finished last season on the LPGA Tour, her fifth as a pro after graduating from Duke. She turned pro in 2009 after being named a three-time national player of the year with the Blue Devils.

Blumenherst, who returned to live in her hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona, isn’t sure whether she will return to the LPGA Tour when her maternity leave ends in February, one year from her last LPGA tournament in Evian, France.

A return is possible with the LPGA Tour’s day-care center and with help from her mother and sister. She would also return to the tour as she left it, without her status changed and not having to return to qualifying school.

“I don’t really know,” she said of her professional golf future. “This is my first baby, and I know children are game-changers. I can’t say one way or another. I am definitely keeping my options open.”

gjones@jg.net

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