LPGA’s Sophia Popov caddies for boyfriend at Canadian Tour Q-School


Sophia Popov and boyfriend Max Mehles have switched roles for the week as the major champion has picked up the bag for Mehles at the PGA Tour Canada Qualifying Tournament.

Mehles opened with a 1-under 71 on Tuesday to take a share of 12th after the first round. The couple met through the German national team and after Mehles graduated from Kentucky last May, COVID-19 put a halt to his professional plans.

He stepped in to caddie for Popov last summer at Royal Troon, and it turned out to be a magical week for the couple as Popov put together the story of the year in golf, winning the AIG Women’s British Open as the 304th-ranked player in the world with no LPGA status.

Mehles stayed on the bag for the remainder of 2020 but now looks to get status of his own this week on the Mackenzie Tour. Keenan Huskey leads the field after an opening 5-under 67.

Popov told Golfweek that she has caddied for Mehles before in smaller one-day events and that she’s not overly involved in his process.

“I help out with reads and club selections here and there,” Popov wrote in a text, “but for the most part just keeping him in good spirits!”

The 72-hole no-cut event takes place on the Tournament at RTJ Golf Trail at Highland Oaks in Dothan, Alabama, and there are 99 players in the field.

The medalist will earn exempt membership for the 2021 season. Those who finish second through sixth will be exempt through the reshuffle, which will occur approximately halfway through the season. Those who finish seventh through 25th (plus ties) earn conditional membership.

Popov actually looped for good friend Anne van Dam last summer when the LPGA season restarted at the Drive On at Inverness. She said her time on the bag helped her with course management going into the next several weeks, where she qualified for the AIG by finishing tied for ninth at the Marathon Classic, then finished in a share of second on the Symetra Tour in the Arizona desert and then won a major.

Perhaps this latest stint on the bag will lead to a similar result. The first major of the season, the ANA Inspiration, is only three weeks away and the popular Popov will make her debut at Dinah’s place.





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