How good is this, to be able to talk about playing golf again after what seemed like an eternity away from the sport due to the Covid-19 restrictions, asks Ashleigh Buhai in her latest column?
I’m sure I speak for all the ladies on Tour when I say we felt like a little kid walking into a candy store.
The first week back on the LPGA Tour and the excitement to get going among the players was visible by the body language. With everyone wearing face masks, you couldn’t see the smiles, but you knew they were there.
It was great seeing my friends again but also a little awkward as you couldn’t embrace with a hug or have a real good chat to catch up due to social distancing. But it is what’s required.
Each day, before you can get on to the golf course, you need to answer health questions. Once you have received the green light on your app you can proceed to get your temperature checked and receive your daily wrist band to let everyone know you have been cleared to be on the grounds.
For our first two weeks back on Tour we were in Toledo, Ohio. We have an event there every year so the LPGA decided to set up and fund the Drive On Championship so we could be in one place for two weeks. It turned out to be a great idea.
Our first week we played at the world-renowned Inverness Golf Club which has hosted numerous Major championships and which will be the host for the 2021 Solheim Cup.
It was quite the course to restart your season after five months off, and we sure weren’t easing into it. You really needed your ‘A’ game. The fairways started off playing firm and fast and if you missed a green you were most likely trying to get in back in play on to greens that were pure and fast.
The event played like a US Open, because the course was set up really tough. We had difficult conditions on the Sunday, with rain and wind, which made the course play even longer. There was definitely some rust and I finished T28, but overall I was happy with my performance, having not played competitive golf in so long.
The second week I returned to the site of my first LPGA tournament, for which I received an invite to play in the Marathon Classic 13 years ago. What I love most about visiting Toledo is we get to stay with the same host family every year and they are fantastic. That week I had a bit of a cold putter. I didn’t adjust well to the slower greens and had to dig deep finishing birdie, par, birdie to make the cut.
I ended up 68th and I was obviously hoping for a better week but the most important thing was to make sure I got four competitive rounds under my belt. I now head off to Scotland for two weeks to play in the ASI Ladies Scottish Open and the AIG Women’s British Open, which is being staged at Royal Troon. I love links golf and looking forward to the two weeks. Let’s just hope the weather gods are good to us.