Sharp: Have golf clubs, will travel

LPGA golfer Alena Sharp of Hamilton writes about the rigours of travelling as she embarks on a whirlwind week which sees her fly from New Jersey to Phoenix to Toronto to Rio to New Jersey.

The Sybase Match Play Championship was such a fun tournament. It is nice to play match play every once in a while. It's such a fun format to play and watch.

I had a tough draw, but I didn't mind being the underdog. I took down Mika Miyazato, who is ranked 22nd in the world, and the defending champion, Sun Young Yoo, who is ranked 30th. I lost in the Sweet 16 to Na Yeon Choi, the No. 1 seed in the tournament and fifth in the world.

There wasn't much difference from my game to the players I played against. I just need to keep building confidence and belief in myself and Sybase definitely gave me a huge confidence boost.

What a crazy week I have coming up — a lot of travelling in such a short time, but it will be good for my airline points!

The week didn't start off that great as I arrived two hours late in Toronto, well after midnight. I came home to participate in the annual RBC Insurance Golf Outing. I really enjoy playing it as they always raise money for a local children's hospital. So I'll be at Rattlesnake Point from 8 a.m. until after 5 p.m., then head straight to the airport to catch the red-eye to Brazil, arriving in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday morning.

The HSCB Brazil Cup is an unofficial tournament with a very small field, 27 players to be exact. I've never been to South America, so I'm looking forward to playing in Rio. We'll be playing at Itanhanga, on the course designated for the 2016 Rio Olympics. And, of course, with no cut, it's money in the bank.

I'll be in Brazil for only four days, leaving Sunday night to return to New Jersey — the Sybase was played in Gladstone, N.J. — for the next LPGA Tour event, the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway. 

Thursday is the practice round, Friday is the pro-am and then the tournament on Saturday and Sunday. Seems like a long way to go for a two-day event, doesn't it. But it's another opportunity to get competition under my belt and, obviously, a chance to get my first win.

'Tricking your body'

You have to have a certain mindset when you embark on a trip like this. It's a long way to go for only a few days.

It's very important to keep my sleep schedule the same. I'll try my best to get comfortable on the plane and get some sleep and, then, when I arrive, get out to the course and play my practice round. I know I'll be tired — I'll want to nap — but I just have to stay awake all day. At least Brazil is only one hour ahead, so it won't be hard adjusting to the time change.

Normally, on a long travel day or night like this, I typically wouldn't play but rather have a light practice, stay up all day, possibly get a massage and go to the gym. It's also important to eat meals at the normal time as well.

It's like you're tricking your body.

I'd really love to do something touristy while I'm in Rio, but doubt I'll have the time. I don't take it for granted that I get to travel all over the world, so, usually, I take one afternoon to do something interesting. I like to get out and see the sights and take in the culture of the country that I'm visiting.

I'd like to see the Cristo Redentor, the iconic statue that Rio is known for. I'm sure the four days I get to spend in Rio will be amazing. I'll tell you all about it next time.