Another Symetra Tour season has come and gone, and I now write to you from the middle of "Q-school season." My 2016 Symetra Tour bid was disappointing, but my game turned a corner just as the tour season wrapped up and Stage II of Q-school began.
I opted out of two Symetra events in September in order to sort out my game with some fresh eyes. I enlisted the help of Gabriel Hjertstedt, a Scottsdale area coach and former PGA Tour winner. With my game feeling rejuvenated after a few weeks of work together, I flew out to Florida for the Symetra IOA Championship raring to get back in competition. However, a hurricane by the name of Matthew also flew in that week. The tournament was cancelled and instead I spent two days inside snacking on dried goods and overusing the word “hunkering.” Thankfully, the hurricane experience was largely underwhelming in the Orlando area.
The next week’s Tour Championship was moved from the hurricane damaged Daytona Beach area back to the site of the cancelled IOA Championship- great problem solving from the tour staff and event sponsors. I could not have been luckier to have a host mom who didn’t mind letting me stay for two whole weeks (or maybe she minded, but she let me stay anyways)- THANK YOU, Kelly Hyne!
I MC’d by one shot at the Tour Championship thanks to an ice cold putter, but I kept my chin up, made a few tweaks to my putting set-up, and came back strong the next week at Stage II. I shot 69-76-71-77 to finish T-31 out of 190 women, comfortably making the cut on to Stage III by seven shots. My mindset for the week was one phrase: keep it simple. I found a basic key for each part of my game and stuck with it, resisting the urge to analyze or try harder after a bad shot or in a pressure situation.
Most of you know the drill by now: Stage III of Q-School is in Daytona Beach November 26-December 4. Approximately 150 women play five rounds for twenty full LPGA cards and twenty-five conditional LPGA cards. I've been preparing by working with Gabe, hitting the gym at Exos, and playing a couple mini-tour events to stay sharp.
To state the obvious, I’m going to Daytona Beach the most experienced I’ve ever been. I’m taking a lot of pride and comfort in this (blatant) fact. I have learned from each and every Q-school event I’ve played (seven in total), especially my near-miss at the 2015 finals. My focus will be to adhere to my mental game plan of keeping it simple all the way from hole one to hole ninety. Last year I made it to hole eighty one. This year, I will make it ninety.
I’ll skip doing more of a season-end summary right now because my focus is on what’s ahead. Thank you for continuing to stick with me on this wild ride!