Less hype, less stress playing golf in Arkansas | Golf | CBC Sports

GolfLess hype, less stress playing golf in Arkansas

Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 | 09:59 AM

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Stacy Lewis, who played golf at the University of Arkansas, will garner plenty of attention from gallery fans in Rogers, Ark. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Stacy Lewis, who played golf at the University of Arkansas, will garner plenty of attention from gallery fans in Rogers, Ark. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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What a difference a week makes. Coming off the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ont., where, for me, being from Hamilton, everyone knows you and cheers for you and yells 'Go Canada!' to being in an event where you're just like everyone else.

The tour is in Rogers, Ark., this week for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G Beauty. And what a difference a week makes -- coming off the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ont., where, for me, being from Hamilton, everyone knows you and cheers for you and yells 'Go Canada!' to being at an event where you're just like everyone else.

No press conferences. No special treatment. But I'm totally okay with that.

I love playing in Canada, whether it is Ontario or one of our other beautiful provinces. Yes, I'm more well known and get asked more questions by reporters.

And yes, I love the attention and crowds that I attract when I'm playing at home. But I admit that I can be quite hard on myself and I put a more pressure on myself when playing at the CN Canadian Open and now the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. In my mind, I want to do well when I'm on home turf. I believe it is natural for any athlete to feel like this.

There is definitely more hype and, therefore, I pump myself up. But I feel a little more stressed, which can catch up with me.

After firing a hot 30 on the back nine in last Sunday's final round at Grey Silo, I packed my bags, showered and just relaxed and enjoyed an adult beverage before boarding on the LPGA charter to Arkansas. After that last putt sank, I felt like all the pressure I put on myself released. I took a deep breath and waved to the huge crowd and smiled on the inside and out. I felt a little lighter walking off the green as the tournament was over and I had shown the home crowd how I can play. Days like those -- where you just can't help but smile -- you use it as momentum for the next event.

Here in Rogers, I'm not well known. I have been working hard to get ready for the tournament -- going about my business under the radar, so to speak. Stacy Lewis went to University of Arkansas. She is always in the spotlight, but more so this week. I can't compare myself to her, but she is probably feeling the pressure of playing well in front of the home crowd, just as I felt last week.

I loved being known last week. I could get used to that. Now it is time to let my clubs do the talking and let the rest just happen.

I have been working on my swing and trying to quiet my swing thoughts leading up to the start of this event. My goal this week is to be 100 per cent into my target -- getting away from thinking about my golf swing and into playing golf for a full 18 holes. The last few events, I have had stretches of holes where

I was thinking too much about my swing and not about getting the ball into the hole. It may sound cliche, but I have committed to myself to get into playing the game for a full 54 holes this week and see where my scores fall.

I feel extremely confident in all aspects of my game.

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