Emily Tubert considered quitting top level golf when she was at college, but her second round at the New Zealand Women's Open justified her perseverance.
The 25-year-old American is with a new coach and caddy in her rookie year on the LPGA tour. Today, a bogey-free 65 on Ardmore's Windross Farm course put her among the tournament leaders at nine-under-par.
Tubert pounced in calm morning conditions, punctuated by drizzle.
She secured five birdies between holes seven and 13.
On current standings, the world No.487's career earnings of US$23,654 are set for an injection.
"Things got off to a slow start, but I stayed patient after I didn't make any birdies early. I made some good putts and just tried to enjoy cold, misty New Zealand," Tubert laughed.
A highlight came when she sank a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th.
"My shot felt good off the tee but I looked up and it had flared right. My caddy Danny [Stout] said 'you made the same length putt yesterday'. It was tricky, going downhill with some break to it, but we picked a good line.
"As soon as I hit the putt it was rolling end-over-end and staying on my line. You've got to give the people what they want..."
However, her career stalled during a rough time at the University of Arkansas.
"I went into college trusting, naïve and open; I left broken with the experience I had, and how I was treated.
"It's taken me a long time to recover, but I found someone in [new coach] Kevin Craggs who has helped. Suddenly there's hope, excitement and purpose to what I do.
"It's refreshing, because it's been a long time since I played good golf. Today wasn't my best. If you'd seen my par on 18 it was all over the place, but it's nice to feel like I've hit refresh on my career through all the struggles."
Tubert switched coaches about a month ago, while Stout usually caddies for Robert Allenby.
"Kevin's in Scotland, Danny's in Florida and I'm from Los Angeles, but having consistency [with them] has felt like having people in my corner. I'm starting to hone in on an inner circle.
"There have been times I questioned why I do this, but something inside said 'don't quit' and I kept practising rather than aimlessly wandering. My parents have also been incredibly important through my struggle."
There have still been hiccups.
"I dislocated my left shoulder [in May] for the fifth time. It was under the pillow, I moved to adjust it and my hand caught the sheet, popping it out."
Perfecting her swing has been the priority since.
"Kevin has simplified it, but we took our time thinking about what to do first. He said it's like a jenga puzzle figuring out what to pull, so my technique doesn't fall apart, but he wants to get together for a boot camp because we've mainly worked together via video due to tournament pressure."