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Laura Baugh    

Former Professional Golfer and Substance Abuse Speaker

Laura Baugh once led a charmed life. She was the LPGA Tour's glamorous golden girl. At 16, back when she was a Rockledge High student, she won the U.S. Amateur. Some 29 years later, her name remains in the record book for the youngest golfer to win that prestigious event.

At 17, she joined the LPGA Tour and rocketed to worldwide celebrity status. But somewhere along the way, the road to happily ever after took a dark detour. Years went by and she never did what people thought she would do, which is win LPGA tournaments. She never has, though she has finished second 10 times.

Drinking eased the pain of failure, but soon it became its cause. It started innocently, at age 24, and accelerated until she would hide miniature liquor bottles in her golf bag, in her locker, in all kinds of places around her Orlando home that even years after sobriety she'd still run across them by accident. The only time she could stay sober was when she was pregnant. It also was the only time when she felt some semblance of self-worth. So she had seven children.

Laura Baugh's best playing days are behind her now, but her best years still are ahead. Yet, she looks back at all those years spent in a drunken haze and says she is "blessed." Her last drunken binge was her last brush with death, and she's had more blackouts than she can remember. Her memories from drinking are not good memories, and while she doesn't talk much about those days, she certainly doesn't steer the conversations away from her alcoholism. In 1999 she published Out of the Rough, which documents her personal battle with alcoholism. In her book, Baugh states that her biggest accomplishments have been her seven children, and her status as a recovering alcoholic.

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