In the weeks between my last column and up to writing this I have been very happy with my steady and consistent play, writes ASHLEIGH BUHAI in the latest Compleat Golfer.
After my near win at the Cambia Portland Classic I had a week off to reflect on what I did well and what I could improve on. I’ve started doing daily stats from my tournament rounds using a system called ‘Around the Ball’. It was created by Santiago Carranza, who is the boyfriend of fellow LPGA Tour player Gaby Lopez.
I’ve never been big into stats, nor have I felt the need to over-analyse things, but what I do like is the tournament summary which works out what you did well and what you can improve on.
Heading into the Shoprite LPGA Classic in October for example, my stats from Portland pointed out that I needed to work on my gap-wedge distance control and those short putts within five feet. I ground it out in practice that week, working on these two things and it paid off with a T6th finish. I book-ended that tournament with rounds of 66, with a 71 and 70 in the middle.
My next tournament was the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the famous Aronimink Golf Club just outside Philadelphia. It has hosted numerous men’s events, including the 1962 PGA Championship won by our Gary Player, who made an appearance at the tournament on the Friday.
We aren’t used to playing in the US this late in the year but it sure was pretty with the changing colours of the trees, firm fairways and undulating greens. It was a true Major test! Playing as a par 71 with only two par fives you needed to be patient to hit big spaces on the greens and hopefully hole a few 20-30 footers.
I started the week off really strong with scores of 70 and 68 and was lying in the top five. Unfortunately, the course had a way of punishing you even if you weren’t that far off. I had two bad shots which cost me and with the course not giving up many birdies it was difficult to get back the double-bogeys. I shot 74 on Saturday and 71 on Sunday to finish T18th.
I didn’t get to see Mr Player on the Friday, but I have been fortunate enough to play with him and spend time with him at the 2016 Olympics in Rio with Team South Africa. Once I finished the tournament an LPGA Tour official gave me a hand-written note from him, congratulating me on my recent form, which was very cool!