It only takes a few minutes watching Ashli Bunch to know why she is a professional. The smooth rhythm and graceful power of her swing seem to come easily to her.
Bunch has been on the tour for a dozen years and she faces some unique challenges. She has two small children, 6-year-old Gracie and 3-year-old Jake, who get Ashli's undivided attention when she is at home.
"Competitively, I'm at a little bit of a disadvantage because I probably spend a quarter of the time that 95 percent of my competitors on the golf course or on the driving range because when I'm at home I don't do a whole lot of practicing. it's worth it. I wouldn't trade places with anybody, I love what I do and I'm lucky that I'm able to balance both," said Bunch.
The LPGA does provide childcare so many times Gracie and Jake travel with Ashli. When it comes to golf, the family is a foursome. Ashli's husband Mike is her caddy.
"To answer your question, she's the final say on the golf course. I can try to help her come up with a decision you know, but you know, if it's a six iron and thats what she likes, then she's going to hit it. It was an adjustment at first, but it's pretty easy now," said Mike.
Traveling as a professional athlete can be difficult especially in a smaller place like Knoxville. However, a growing number of pros still call East Tennessee home even if the kids are split.
Ashli isn't the only pro in the area to connect with the LPGA. Suzanne Strudwick grew up in England, but now makes her home in Knoxville.