Now that we are into the part of the tour schedule with twelve consecutive tournaments (including two majors), many of the top players are picking and choosing events to skip to give themselves a break. This leaves room for players further down the priority list like myself to step in and play.
I kicked off this long stretch with a stop in Greenwood, SC for a Symetra Tour event. It was good to get another tournament under my belt before teeing it up on the LPGA again. My game was rough that week- I could not find the center of the club face and scoring conditions were difficult on the bumpy greens. However, it helped me to know exactly where to focus my attention when I started preparing for Williamsburg.
Next step was driving the eight hours north from Greenwood to Williamsburg, VA for the LPGA Kingsmill Championship. What a phenomenal event this was. The River Course at Kingsmill Resort is a fantastic design and had some of the purest bent grass greens I have played in a long time. Nothing makes this golfer's heart happier than seeing a true roll, and Kingsmill provided nothing less than perfection.
I shot 73-72 (+3) and missed the cut by 3. Despite the MC, I left the tournament feeling incredibly optimistic. My ball striking was back to the solid form it had been showing over the past month, I converted eight birdies in 36 holes, and most importantly, it was another week of getting comfortable inside the LPGA ropes. Three double bogeys in two days kept me from playing the weekend, but I really felt more energized than discouraged moving forward.
The next tour stop was the LPGA Volvik Championship last weekend in Ann Arbor, MI. I realized during my practice round on Tuesday that Travis Pointe reminded me of Battle Creek CC, the nearby site of my 2015 Symetra Tour victory. There is just something about Michigan golf that agrees with me. The bent grass and tight, tree-lined design is just like being back on my home fairways of Hillcrest CC in Boise.
My ball striking remained solid last week, and I took advantage of many close iron shots to make fifteen birdies in four days. I shot 69-74-70-74 to finish T-65th and earn my first LPGA check :) I was particularly happy with the fact I didn’t make any doubles, a major improvement from the week prior. I also had some great up and down saves that I am replaying on a loop in my mind.
Last week was a solid step in the right direction for me. I felt in control of my game and my scoring again, and not just comfortable but confident inside the ropes. Focus on distance control and the slow but steady effects of long-term short game improvement is starting to pay off.
I often play my best when I am in the rhythm of playing events week in and week out. So, while six or seven straight is a long haul, I am happy to finally be hitting stride for the first time in 2017. This is where I am particularly grateful for my four years of experience on the Symetra Tour- I already know how to manage myself throughout the week so as to keep my energy level steady and performance high on the weekends.
My next four weeks on the LPGA are: Atlantic City, NJ; Cambridge, Ontario; US Open Quali in MI; Grand Rapids, MI; and Rogers, AR. We will see how things shake out after that!
I’d like to give a huge thank you to all of the host families who have taken me in over the past month. I have been slacking on taking pictures along the way, but to the Childers/Gattis, Arzbergers, Kelly Carda, the Hogges, the Paolinis, and the Lindstroms: THANK YOU! The generous hospitality and encouragement from these old and new friends means the world as I travel from place to place.
I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. Thank you all for following along!