Jennifer Kupcho said she didn’t feel any differently now that she’s among those getting paid to play golf.

Kupcho, who graduated from Wake Forest earlier this month and also helped the Deacons to a runner-up finish in the NCAA championships, made her pro debut Thursday in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open.

“It was about the same,” Kupcho said after shooting an even-par 71 in the early wave of the tournament at the Country Club of Charleston in Charleston, S.C.

Kupcho, who had her father, Mike, as her caddy, wound up with three bogeys and three birdies despite hitting the ball “all over the course.”

She bogeyed her second and third holes, but got one back with a birdie on the ninth hole.

Another bogey on 12 put her at 2-over for her round, but she rebounded nicely with birdies on the 13th and 16th holes.

“I was just trying to get out there and play and do my best,” said Kupcho, who finished her amateur career last week in the NCAA championship match.

Kupcho is somewhat familiar with the course, which was the site of the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2013. It didn’t take long for Kupcho to realize that the pros playing in the U.S. Women’s Open are focused on preparing and playing for a major championship. She said there hasn’t been a lot of time to socialize.

“We are all here trying to play well and make money, and I knew that going in,” Kupcho said.

While she was warming up on the range, however, she was greeted by Emma Tally, who is in her third season of pro golf after playing at Alabama.

“Emma came by to say hello and said if I needed anything to let her know and that meant a lot to me,” Tally said.

Kupcho, who finished her round tied for 21st, will tee off today in the afternoon wave and hopes to have better ball-striking during the second round.

“I just need to hit the ball better and be ready to go in the afternoon,” Kupcho said.

Keep up with all the latest on Wake Forest athletics, from analysis to features and lots more Deacons news you won’t find anywhere else.

jdell@wsjournal.com (336) 727-4081 @johndellWSJ

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