There was already a sense of pride felt among the membership at Kenwood Country Club for hosting the Kroger Queen City Championship, the first LPGA event in the Cincinnati area since 1989. But with 10 of the club’s caddies working for players in the tournament, there was even more of a connection to the competition.
One of those caddies was Luke Brennaman, whose last name is fairly familiar to folks in the in the area; Luke’s grandfather and father, Marty and Thom, were both former Cincinnati Reds broadcasters. Luke is working with Jillian Hollis, a three-time Epson Tour winner, and earned his keep and then some before Thursday’s first round even began.
On the first tee, Luke did a last-minute club count for Hollis and noticed she had 15 clubs in the bag, one above the limit. Had the 25-year-old former University of Georgia All-American teed off with the extra club, she would have been hit with a minimum of a two-shot penalty under Rule 4.1b and potentially four shots depending on when she finally noticed the problem.
“She told him he save her round,” Dominic Parisi, the clubs caddie manager, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. (The tweet below shows a picture of Hollis and Brennaman on the tee during the Wednesday pro-am.)
Indeed, Hollis went on the shoot a two-under 70, leaving her five shots back of the early leader Nasa Hataoka and in prime position to make the cut.
Hollis is a native of Rocky River, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, who has split time in 2022 between the LPGA and Epson Tour. She came into this week’s event with some momentum, having won the Circle Raven Championship on the Epson Tour two weeks earlier to jump to eighth on the money list; the top 10 earn full exemptions on the LPGA Tour for the next season.
Hollis expected several friends and family members to make the trip and see her play. “It’s such a privilege to come here and play in my home state and to play in front of everybody like I grew up with,” she told LPGA.com earlier in the week. “Hopefully I have a lot of Ohio fans here this week. It’s just really cool anytime I get to play here. I played in Toledo the last couple years, and it’s just a very familiar feeling being here, and I have so many people around here that really love and care and support me.
Hollis said often carries her own bag on the Epson Tour or has friends loop for her. “I just wanted somebody to kind of walk with me and keep me company,” Hollis told the Inquirer on Wednesday of seeking a local caddie. “And [Luke’s] been so nice.”
Brennaman told the Inquirer he had never caddied before in a pro event, and said he’d been seeking advice from the regular tour caddies working the event. They made sure he knew to count his player’s clubs before teeing off.