I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is something to learn every single week out here. That statement couldn’t be more true this past week in Phoenix. I know that most of you already know it was a big week for me because I heard from so many of you throughout the week. However, before I tell you my thoughts on the week, I just have to say “thank you” to everyone who came out to watch, and who I know was watching on T.V. at home. The amount of support I had in Phoenix was incredible! I felt like I was playing as the home town girl. Thank you to everyone!
Lets see, where do I start? I’m going to start by saying this: the last time I held a lead in an LPGA event was in Korea. It was really early in the second round and I looked up at a leaderboard and saw that I was T1. I proceeded to make several bogeys and quickly tumble out of the lead. Flash forward 5 months to Phoenix this week and I find myself leading after round 2, and T3 after round 3. Those are signs of great progress to me. I don’t have to tell you that my Sunday wasn’t what I hoped for, but overall the week was super positive. Next time, I will be better equipped to finish out stronger on day 4. Nonetheless, a T13 this past week is nothing to complain about. I have two more weeks in California now and am looking to build off what I did in Phoenix.
So what exactly am I taking away from this week? I’ll give you my top three things.
1. It is grueling to stay at the top of a leaderboard for 4 days. I know that there are sports that can go for hours on end, but having to play the same game for 4 days and think about it for 4 nights is exhausting. Hats off to those that lead after round 1 and are still leading after round 4. It is much harder than you think.
2. I can’t play to “protect” on the weekend. I played such carefree and offensive golf on Thursday and Friday and it was nearly flawless. I was committed and I wasn’t afraid of anything; it was easy. Saturday was a decent day, but by Sunday I could feel myself playing to “protect” instead of just going out for more birdies. It’s tough to explain, but its the difference in mindset between getting to a hole and thinking “I’m going to birdie this,” and “I hope I don’t bogey this.” I’m not sure when, but sometime during my two weekend rounds my mindset shifted to the latter and the results will never be good. However, the more I do that, and the more it realize that it doesn’t work, the sooner my mind will learn to stay in the present and in the “attack” mode instead of “protect” mode.
3. Finishing -13 is better than finishing -12. As poorly as I felt I was playing on Sunday and as easily as I could have just let +2 go to +3, or +4, staying in the game and finishing with a couple birdies to get back to even will always be more satisfying than throwing away a round in an “I don’t care” attitude because it didn’t go as planned. At the end of the year, all those top 20’s or top 15’s add up. I can tell you that although I would have liked to be writing about my first LPGA win, I’m much happier with my T13 check than I would have been with my T25 check. This is probably the biggest obstacle junior golfers need to overcome. It doesn’t matter how bad a round is going, 79 is better than 80, 74 is better than 75. Every shot counts. Period.
I have two more weeks in California for this stretch. I will play the Kia Classic this week in Carlsbad and then our first major of the year is next week in Palm Springs. It is what used to be called the Kraft, but is now the ANA Inspiration. I hope you all can follow along again this week, and I’ll do my best to get some TV time again! :)
Thanks for all the well wishes!