I am currently in Mobile, Ala., for this week's Avnet LPGA Classic and played practice rounds Monday and Tuesday. The golf course, on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, is fairly challenging, with undulating Bermuda greens and tricky holes that require placement off the tee and on the greens.
I'm looking forward to this week, and have had success on the course in the past. I'm also hoping to qualify for the upcoming Sybase Match Play Championship, held May 19 in Gladstone, N.J. Among those players yet to qualify, the top 10 through 36 holes at Avnet will qualify for Sybase.
I have been keeping myself busy the past couple of weeks since our first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. I was quite proud of my performance at Kraft.
I struck the ball extremely well off the tee. The rough was downright brutal, so it was very important to hit the fairway — and I did a great job of that all four days. I also hit a lot of solid iron shots into the firm and fast greens. If I could take anything back, it would be a couple of short putts. I was very happy to birdie the final hole of the tournament to post a career-best finish (T25) at Kraft.
Following Kraft, I went to Northern California to attend a Hall of Fame party for one of my idols, Juli Inkster. It was held at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, which was pretty amazing.
We got to go on the field, hang out in the dugout and hit some baseballs in the batting cage. I must say, sticking to golf would be a good thing for me as I hit only one ball out of 10 — and they weren't even coming that fast out of the pitching machine!
There is a professional mini-tour called the Cactus Tour based out of Phoenix. Quite a few events have already been played this year. I played in one prior to the LPGA season opener in Singapore to get some competition in after two months off. I played in another one a week and a half ago, which happened to be at my home course, the Seville Golf and Country Club. I was psyched that the tournament was at Seville because I have played a lot of golf there, and I was coming in with a lot of confidence from playing well at the Kraft. I started out very well the first day — taking the lead with a 68 — but I didn't do much after that.
I've been watching the NHL playoffs practically every night. It was sad to see my Coyotes get swept, but they definitely tried their best. I'm hoping they'll stay in Phoenix and have more money to spend on players next year. As I watch, I'm undecided on which team I would like to see win the Stanley Cup. As a Leaf fan, I definitely can't cheer for the Habs, and I always like to root for the underdog (it seems like Chicago might have Vancouver's number). Hopefully, I'll be cheering for both the Coyotes and the Leafs next spring.
I finished four shots off the pace with another disappointing putting round in the final round. So after looking at my play at Kraft and the mini-tour event, I had some work to do, mainly being confident on the greens. I had one week before heading to Alabama and I spent it in Florida getting used to chipping and putting on Bermuda grass. I worked on my stroke by hitting a lot of putts off a chalk line and by making sure I actually see the putter head strike the ball.
In the past month, my main flaw in putting has been looking up too quickly. You always want to hold your eyes and head still as this gets the ball started on your intended starting line, which is so important. I also worked on my short game and bunker play. With my chipping, I am focusing on looking at the spot where I want the ball to land and staying in my posture.
I can work on these two things for the rest of the year as they are very important for my short game. My fairway bunker shots have not been the greatest this past month, so I worked on that the past couple of days and finally figured it out.
Here is a quick tip that will stop you from hitting those fairway bunker shots fat: make sure your stance isn't too wide and, when you swing, keep your lower body quiet. When I say quiet, I mean really try not to have much leg movement at all.
This definitely works!