The past month has been busy in the United States. After having three weeks off to recharge the batteries after the European swing I restarted at the Cambria Portland Classic, in Oregon.
I was looking forward to returning to this tournament as I have fond memories from last year where I was beaten in a playoff. Unfortunately, we didn’t return to the same course but the area is always good to visit. Oregon Golf Club was the new venue, and it is very hilly.
The course wasn’t in the best condition but the greens were pure and quick which is the way I love them. The event was reduced to 54 holes after we had bad weather on the Saturday.
I had a good finish on the Sunday and ended the week tie-eighth on six under par. The second week we played in Rogers, Arkansas. It is the home of Walmart, the title sponsor of the NW Arkansas Championship.
It’s one of my favourite weeks of the year. We have great crowds and most of the players stay on-site with host families. The organisers always go above and beyond to make sure we are comfortable and have a great week.
It is generally a low-scoring tournament and being 54 holes, you need to come out the gates fast. I did this, shooting five-under 67 in the first round but after that the putter went cold and I finished the week on six under in 42nd position.
The next week was the Shoprite Classic in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and it’s one of our oldest tournaments. Seaview Golf Club, on the coast, is the shortest course we play and it relies on the wind for its defence.
It was another 54-hole event but the weather and poa-grass greens always play a big part. I shot 67, 73 and 68 and finished the week in 34th on five under.
Week four was the Founders Cup, dedicated to the 13 founding members of the LPGA Tour. With a new sponsor, Cognizant, the prize money has almost doubled and the tournament was moved from Arizona to New Jersey.
We played at Mountain Ridge Golf Club, and it was by far the best event of the year next to the Majors. I finished 51st on one under.
My ball striking has been great, but my inconsistent putting is frustrating me. My coach Doug Wood was with me for the final week and I was hoping he would pick up on what we could do to improve.
From watching me play he realised the tempo of my putting stoke during tournament play was inconsistent, leading to bad pace and more three-putts. We did a lot of work to improve this during the week, but there wasn’t an instant change.
As a pro golfer, the most difficult thing is to be patient because we want instant results, but after 13 years on Tour I know it doesn’t happen overnight.
It will eventually come if the work is put in.
– This column first appeared in the November 2021 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!