What a great week we had in Waterloo, Ont. The inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic was a complete success. I was very happy to be playing close to home and I knew that the crowds would be large -- and they were huge, especially for Sunday's final round.
Grey Silo was in terrific shape. It was a fun course to play with many birdie opportunities out there, but the wind was quite challenging. The first day, the wind was very intense and, by the end of the day, thunderstorms forced the first round to spill over into Friday.
I had to play 25 holes Friday. The wind was directly opposite to Thursday, so the course played entirely different.
It was quite a whirlwind. I double-bogeyed my 35th hole and had to make a birdie on my last hole -- the tough ninth hole -- before the cut. I hit a five-iron to within six feet, the ball did a complete 360 and fell in the cup. Luckily, I made the cut and had a great weekend, finishing at 2-under par for the tournament.
On Sunday, I was paired with Michelle Wie and, as the day moved on, the crowds kept getting bigger. It was such an amazing experience for me. I hadn't played in front of large crowds like that in quite some time.
Needless to say, my last nine holes were the best nine holes I had played in a while. I shot 30 on the back nine and nearly eagled my last hole in front of a huge gallery.
I was psyched to see I was paired with Michelle. Even though I was the local girl, I knew, deep down, the crowds were there to watch her. But I feel like I won the crowd over with my play on the back nine. I fed off the crowd. I took it all in and embraced the crowd. The fans seemed to cheer equally for everyone in our group.
Michelle is used to attracting big crowds, so I think she is numb to it. But I definitely was not. I feed off the fans, especially Canadians! I get pumped up and it gets the adrenaline going.
I strung three birdies in four holes from 13 thru 16. I was in the "knowing state" -- I just knew I was going to hit it close and make the putt. I was on automatic pilot, driving off the positive energy from the crowd. In fact, 30 is probably my best nine-hole score.
It just happened. I wasn't thinking I needed to make birdies. My shots were pretty solid and the putts were dropping. It was amazing to do it in front of the home crowd.
My fellow LPGA players enjoyed Grey Silo, too, as you could shoot low. But you had to be smart about where you placed your ball off the tee and on the green.
The par-fives were particularly exciting because there was always a possibility to eagle.
As well, the players received amazing gifts from Manulife Financial for coming to play in the event. Each of us got a brand new BlackBerry Bold 9900 and $500 worth of clothing from Lululemon. Thanks to all for making all the players feel so special. Looking forward to 2013!
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