Good morning from Philadelphia, everyone. This isn’t what I thought I was going to be doing on my Saturday morning this week, but it does give me a chance to fill you in on so much that has been going on the past three weeks and, of course, what exactly happened yesterday. 😦
I know I’ve said this before but I will say it again, but the course we play for the ShopRite in New Jersey is definitely one of my favorite courses that we play regularly on tour. While the poa greens were a bit bumpy this year, it doesn’t change the old school design of the course that sits right on the bay overlooking the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The wind also decided to blow this year; and I just feel that wind follows me wherever I go. My apologies to the field.
This year I stayed in a condo right on the range with two of my good friends. My one friend has two small kids and it made me realize something. Playing on the LPGA is an extremely hard job. You don’t know when your next pay check is coming, the stress of always trying to figure out different parts of your game, the anxiety of travel, etc. Now, it’s hard enough for me to do this all by myself at 23, imagine doing it all with two kids in tow . To all those moms who are and who have traveled with kids on tour, I commend you for continuing to follow your dream and just making it work. Imagine taking two small kids to your office every day, would you make it to 10:00? 😉
I can also report from ShopRite that I had my best finish of the year and my first top ten. Woohoo! I feel I have been very patiently waiting for a good finish and it finally came. However, it wasn’t the 66 Sunday round I was hoping for, instead it was the “I missed three putts inside of three feet on the first seven holes and clawed my way back” kind of round. Hey, either way, a top ten is a top ten. I continue to work on my putting and am still seeing a lot of good things happening. It was on to Canada next.
I took a lot of confidence with me across the border to play in the Manulife LPGA Classic for the first time. The event was being held at a new course, so it was new to everyone, thankfully. I started the event playing some seriously solid golf and was sitting T4 at -11 going into the weekend. While I am delighted to receive so many congratulatory messages on Thursday and Friday, the game is only at half time. With two days to go I can’t celebrate two good rounds when I have two more to play. With that being said, my putting went cold on the weekend, I started steering the ball a bit on the course, and I plummeted to a final position of T43. Pretty hard to swallow. It’s like being up 3 touchdowns at half-time and then losing the game. Sometimes it just happens. In golf, one of the hardest things that people don’t really understand is that when you are playing one game over 4 days it is really hard to put 4 solid days together. You can go to bed feeling that your game has never been sharper, and wake up the next day and not hit a fairway. It’s the beauty and frustration that is the game of golf. Nonetheless, I still left Canada with a lot of positives and refocused my energy on our second major of the year, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
I arrived in Westchester, NY, just outside of New York City on Monday morning and went straight to the golf course. I could tell we were on the third week of a three week stretch. My toes and hands were getting calluses and I was starting to think of the things I wanted to do when I got back to South Dakota (mainly all the places I’m going to eat, haha). The PGA of America has partnered with KPMG and the LPGA to form what is now our very own PGA Championship. As players we weren’t really sure how this would change the event for us but once we arrived we quickly saw that this event was going to be like no other. I have to commend the PGA of America for putting on one of the absolute best events I have every played in. From courtesy cars to food on the golf course, they raised the bar for major championships.
I played what I thought was a solid round on Thursday morning and finished at even par. However, scores from the afternoon wave were lower than I thought and I knew I would need to shoot even or one over on Friday to make the cut. I don’t like to dwell on bad rounds and missed cuts, but I also know a lot of people are wondering, “What happened!?” Here’s the story. I fought and fought all day, grinder over every putt, and after FINALLY making a birdie on 15 I had three holes to go and sat at plus one. Safely inside the cut line. Hole 16: long par 5 with a narrow green in which I had yet to hit, even in practice rounds. 5 iron, middle of the green, two putt par. Feeling good, momentum was definitely on my side. Hole 17: I’m sitting middle of the fairway with a pitching wedge left to hit into the middle of the green. I hit it fat and watch it bounce off the front fringe and into one of the deepest bunkers on the course. In absolute disbelief I walk up and assess my next shot. I hit a pretty solid bunker shot but with the height needed to get out there wasn’t much spin on it so I was left with 17 feet behind the hole. After watching putts lip out and slide by all day, I finally drained it. Little fist pump, and on to the par 5 18th. Hole 18: I have exactly 96 yards for my third shot into the pin. Perfect 54 degree wedge, stick it to 7 feet. 7 feet down the hill and I’m thinking about making birdie instead of making the cut. I watch my birdie attempt slide low and just keep rolling and rolling to about 5 feet. What just happened here? What did I do? The thoughts in my head were screaming but I stepped up and hit the best come back put I could just to watch it lip out on the high side. 3 putt from 7 feet. That’s a bogey and a Saturday flight home. Just like that and all the work I had done out there was gone.
Sometimes you can spend all week preparing and practicing. You can fight and grind and wear yourself out after 10 hours of competition on Thursday and Friday and in the end you walk away with nothing. Sports can be entertaining, inspiring, and uplifting, and sometimes they can be downright cruel.
I’m sitting at PHL instead of walking the fairways of Westchester Country Club. The ONLY plus of missing a cut is going home a few days earlier. Time to forget, recharge, and refocus. Arkansas is only 13 days away.
Morgan and Laura – emcee’s for the pro am party.. they killed it.
Little putting practice in Canada.
Niagara Falls.. Canadian side really is a better view.
Westchester Beach Club with Maria Hernandez and Angela Stanford. Pretty cool place!
And how about this guy! My friend Charlie for the week. 🙂