SYLVANIA, Ohio —

Two years ago, Puerto Rican golfer Maria Torres was caught in the middle of Hurricane Maria and was not sure if she would ever have the opportunity to play on the LPGA golf tour. Just finding a way to practice was the biggest challenge at the time, let alone trying to make it professionally.

“Well, I had a carpet at my grandma's house as a putting yard. And then I would use a bucket [as the hole,]” she said.

Eventually, she made her way to the States on a private plane in thanks to one of her sponsor’s. She went to the University of Florida and stayed with her college friends. Then, she would travel back and forth to Miami and back to see her golf coach.

“I was kind of driving up and down, but I am so grateful to them because they gave me housing,” she said when describing her time in Florida after the hurricane. “I’m just happy I got out of Puerto Rico, so I can play Q [Qualifying] school. At least try to give it my all. And now that everything has been accomplished and I’m here. I’m so excited.”

Now, Torres is here at the Marathon Classic as the first woman from Puerto Rico to have an LPGA Tour card. Every day is a gift, especially after her experience in the midst of a hurricane. And she is using that gift to play golf, just as she initially planned.

“I don't know how I feel after that. You are appreciative and grateful for being able to go out there and just play. I don't know how you do a sport you don't love, and I think sometimes asking those things, it helps you as a person and player.”