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Golfer Beth Allen will be playing in the Kia Classic tournament for the first time in her professional career when it tees off next week. Photo by Tony Cagala
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No hashtag needed to get Allen into Kia Classic

CARLSBAD — Beth Allen may not be home, but she isn’t unfamiliar with San Diego either.

Allen knows San Diego well enough — she grew up a few hours to the north in Ojai until she was a teenager, when her dad, Jim Allen, got a job as the city of San Diego’s director of golf and the family moved to the county.

But lately, it’s been Europe — namely Edinburgh, Scotland — that she calls home.

Though the 35-year-old golfer is back in town now prior to the start of the Kia Classic.

The Kia Classic gets underway March 21 through March 26 at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort.

Since being in town, Allen’s played a few rounds recently at the course.

“It’s not like it’s my home course, but it’s also going to be more familiar to me,” she said.

And the familiarity makes all the difference.

“I think unfamiliarity sometimes causes anxiety and just the fact that you’ve been somewhere and you know what you’re doing and where you’re going, that makes things easier. So that’s a big deal,” she said.

And with a list of restaurants to re-visit with her mom, who still lives in San Diego, Allen doesn’t have any sense of anxiety on being back.

Still, the road bringing Allen to where she now is in her professional golf career has been a long and winding one.

After not finding much success early on in her LPGA career, Allen decided to head overseas to play in Europe on the Ladies European Tour (LET).

That move was everything, she explained.

“I think if I didn’t do that, then I probably wouldn’t be playing professionally anymore,” she said. “I was struggling and Europe was perfect because it made me happy off and on the course as well.”

On the course, Allen earned last year’s LET Player of the Year honor and Order of Merit title.

Off the course, she found love and got married last July.

“It’s been a crazy ride, but I’d never change it,” Allen said.

Meanwhile, golfers have been teeing it up all while stands are being set up and the course prepared for the tournament.

Dennis Baggett, LPGA tournament director, said that none of the wet weather the county experienced this year, has affected the course.

“The course, because it was so dry, has taken the water incredibly well,” Baggett said.

It was completely playable the day after the area got nearly 3-inches of rain, Baggett added. What the rain has brought though is greener grass and thicker rough.

Back in 2015, Baggett remembers when the tournament’s Twitter account was being inundated with tweets calling for Allen to be allowed to play.

Allen’s friend, Mike Lewis, started an “all-in-good-fun” social media campaign to try and get her into the tournament.

Lewis flooded The Kia Classic Twitter account with tweets all with the hashtag, “drivebethtokia.”

While her friends don’t have to campaign to get her into the field this year, Allen, who earned her way into the tournament this year, said her friends might have something in the works when competition begins next week.

She added it’ll be nice to have a fan base out on the course.

While Allen said he doesn’t have any immediate plans to move back to the U.S., she is bringing something from Europe back to the states with her: a sense of confidence — the confidence she gained while learning how to win on the LET.

“Hopefully, when I’m in contention here I’ll be able to deal with that, whereas I was not getting that when I was here before, because I just wasn’t good enough. And now I feel like I’m good enough and I have a lot of experience.”