Angela Jerman made no bones about it and attempted to hide nothing after her rapid descent from the second-round lead in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic with a 7-over 78 in yesterday's third round at Highland Meadows.
Nerves got the best of the second-year pro, whose best finish in 41 LPGA events is a tie for 11th last year.
"It was a major first for me," Jerman said. "I've never been in the lead group, and it accumulated on those first four holes. I've never been so nervous before. I was good until they announced my name, and then it was just like, 'Whoa, this is real.' "
Playing with LPGA veteran and second-round co-leader Meg Mallon in yesterday's final pairing, Jerman opened with a double-bogey-6 on hole No. 1 and a bogey-4 on No. 2.
By the turn, she had two more bogeys to fall off the pace at 2 under overall, 5-over for the day. Jerman then added bogeys on Nos. 12, 14 and 15 to go to 1-over for the tournament before closing the round with her lone birdie on No. 18 to enter final-round play at even-par.
"I didn't put good swings on it the first couple holes," Jerman said of her early downfall. "It's a learning experience. I'm so new on the tour. You've got to go through it in order to overcome it. Hopefully next time I will be a little more ready."
The Denver native now realizes battling the nerves may have been unavoidable.
"I was so glad to be playing with Meg today," Jerman said. "She knew I was nervous, my caddie knew I was nervous, everybody did. You can't tell someone not to be. It's nature.
"Meg's been there so many times. She's used to getting her name announced and having the crowds. This is definitely knowledge I'm going to take from here on out."
Jerman's decline might not have been so drastic had a few par putts rolled in.
"On all my bogeys today, I made some good putts," Jerman said. "They just didn't drop in the hole. These greens sped up a lot from [Friday to yesterday]. I found that I couldn't be as aggressive on the birdies as I wanted to be.
With some decent prize money still possible with a better round today, Jerman remains optimistic.
"I'm just going to go back and hit [on range] and try to get some rhythm back, and go with the same game plan I had today," Jerman said. "I had a good game plan, it just didn't pan out."