Dawn Coe-Jones calls it having the best of both worlds.
The 41-year-old golfer derives great pleasure from splitting time with her 6-year-old son at their home in Tampa, Fla., and playing the LPGA Tour.
Jones, who opened with a 2-under-par 70 on Thursday in the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship to be three shots off the lead, is one of 30 active tour players who juggle motherhood and professional golf.
Until school is out for her son, James, in two weeks, Jones will be playing a limited schedule. The Asahi Ryokuken International Championship is only her fourth start of the season, which is in its ninth week.
"I'll be lucky to get in 15 tournaments, but that's my choice," Coe-Jones said. "My son is involved in hockey this year. As much as I love all the venues we have, there are certain weeks you need to see the championship of the mite division. That's only going to happen once. Definitely, priorities for me have changed."
As her son has grown, Coe-Jones' starts on the tour, which she has played since 1984, have decreased. Coe-Jones played 24 events in 1999, 20 in 2000 and 18 in 2001.
She's cutting back even more this year because her son is in first grade and has developed his own interests, which she wants to share with him.
"Up until this past fall, he traveled with me," Coe-Jones said. "Now he's got his little life, his little routine."
In her three starts this season, Coe-Jones has tied for 32nd, tied for 29 and tied for 16th, to rank 69th on the money list with $25,475.
"I'm not disappointed with the way things have gone," said Coe-Jones, who has career earnings of more than $2.7 million and three victories (1992, 1994 and 1995).
Spending time at home with her son and husband, Jimmy, doesn't cut into practice time. That's because she doesn't practice.
"I've never been one to beat balls on my weeks off," Coe-Jones said. "I know a lot of people think I should do it more, but I like to do other things when I'm off. We have a putting green by our swimming pool. So we putt and swim and swim and putt. I might play casual golf with my husband or my mother-in-law."
Even though Coe-Jones lives in Tampa, where the weather is mild during the winter, she seldom plays in the off-season.
"There's no risk of burnout here with me," Coe-Jones said.
Coe-Jones described her five-birdie, three-bogey round Thursday as "a kind of Busch Gardens kind of day, since I live in Tampa."
Asked to elaborate, Coe-Jones explained, "It was like a roller-coaster, and Busch Gardens has some of the best in the country."
She started her round with a chip-in birdie on No. 1 but bogeyed No. 2. Keeping the roller-coaster-ride theme going, she birdied No. 4 and bogeyed No. 5. Her other birdies were on Nos. 7, 12 and 15 to go with one more bogey, on No. 10.
"The pins were quite difficult today," Coe-Jones said. "It was tough to get the ball close to the pins. The birdie putts I made today weren't necessarily close."
Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851.
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