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Published: Thursday, 7/18/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

MARATHON CLASSIC

Blumenherst, husband on lengthy honeymoon

LPGA, MLB success follows Dec. ceremony

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Amanda Blumenherst works on her putting at the practice green ahead of the Marathon Classic. Blumenherst begins her first round at 1:45 p.m. today at hole No. 10 at Highland Meadows Golf Club. Amanda Blumenherst works on her putting at the practice green ahead of the Marathon Classic. Blumenherst begins her first round at 1:45 p.m. today at hole No. 10 at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge

Amanda Blumenherst and Nate Freiman were married this past December.

But few married couples have coped with the unique circumstances that these newlyweds have shared since their wedding day.

Blumenherst, in her fourth year on the LPGA Tour, will play in the Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows starting today. Freiman is a professional baseball player who is in his rookie season in the major leagues with the Oakland Athletics.

“We really haven’t had that full first-year-of-marriage experience that other couples have had,” Blumenherst admitted. “At the same time, it’s so exciting — especially for me to see him make it to the big leagues for the first year.

“Seeing how excited and happy he is puts a smile on my face.”

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The 26-year-old Blumenherst — who lived in Fort Wayne, Ind., from ages 3 to 14 but now lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. — joined the Tour in 2010. She has played in 20-plus events in each of her first three years and entered this season with four top-10 finishes, with her best a fifth-place tie in the LPGA Thailand in 2012.

This season started slowly — she missed the cut in five of her first seven events — but she has performed better recently. She made the cut in two of her last three tournaments, with her best finish being tied for 13th at the ShopRite LPGA Classic from May 31-June 2.

“I’m playing better than I was early in the year so I’m feeling more positive, more confident,” Blumenherst said. “The beginning of this year was a little rough, and I didn’t play as well as I wanted to last year.

“But I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I’m starting to shoot some lower numbers, and hitting it straight off the tee certainly helps.”

Freiman’s season also has been eventful. Originally drafted by San Diego in 2009, the first baseman was selected by Houston in December’s Rule 5 draft. Then Oakland claimed him off waivers near the end of spring training, forcing him to join his third team in five months.

“I was playing in the Kia Classic in California, and I got a several calls just before I teed off on Saturday,” Blumenherst said. “My heart stopped, because he knew I was about to tee off, so I knew it had to be important.

“He told me, ‘I’m on my way to Phoenix — I just got picked up by Oakland.’ ”

The couple met at Duke University, where they were named the school’s senior male and female athlete of the year in 2009.

Blumenherst said she thinks having a pair of athletes pursuing professional careers helps the couple relate to the ups and downs of their careers.

“Sometimes it’s nice to think about something else — between shots, of course,” Blumenherst said. “It’s a nice distraction to think about him playing well.”

“And if one of us doesn’t have a good day, or if one of us is playing well, we’ve been there. You know what to say — or what not to say.”

Blumenherst said staying connected to Freiman, who has hit .262 with a pair of home runs and 17 RBIs in 49 games to help the first-place Athletics in the American League West, has taken hard work.

“Cell phones help, and texting helps,” Blumenherst said. “But I get to go back and see him quite a bit.

“I’ll get to go back soon and see him for three weeks. He has a couple of off days and day games [while I’m there], so we’ll actually be able to go out and do some ‘couple’ things.”



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