For many of the game’s best, Major Championship weeks start out very mundane. It includes methodical preparation, focused press conferences and ritualistic range sessions.
Then, in the blink of an eye, it starts. At the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, history was made on Thursday. In Gee Chun orchestrated a record-tying opening-round 64, followed by a 69 in round two, and now the field is six strokes behind the two-time Major Champion. LPGA Majors only happen 5 times a year, so if you want to win this week, Plan A goes out the window.
So what is the alternate plan? Go as low as possible for the remaining 54 holes. It sounds simple enough, but how did Lexi, Minjee and Lydia turn it on this morning in the Friday AM wave? After all, aren’t we playing the same golf course as yesterday? We still are competing at Congressional Country Club, but the mindset has shifted. As XiYu Lin said in her press conference today after a smooth 68, par is usually your friend in a Major.
“Usual” doesn’t describe this week anymore. Lydia Ko met with the media following her day-two 67 after opening with an even-par 72.. When asked what the difference is she responded, “I was more comfortable today and the conditions were far better. I saw In Gee’s score yesterday and knew I had to go low.”
Her sentiment is the key that holds many of us back. When we are playing golf with our friends, we usually feel some nerves and get easily distracted. Once we get down to the last few holes and a goal starts to develop, we tend to focus and swing with a little more assertion. Can I break 90, do we need to win this hole, can I close with a par or birdie. Little moments of inspiration fuel the fire to compete.
Take a moment and think about your next round prior to playing. If you want to go low, start your pursuit from the 1st tee. Begin with a game plan, something realistic you can execute. Make mental or written notes about what you want to accomplish and how you will do it. The HOW is very important. Writing down our goals gives us a target to achieve.
Circle the holes on your scorecard you want to attack. This is a great reminder of your gameplan. Playing golf in a forward-thinking mode is powerful. It creates added confidence. The type of self-belief that leads to our best performances.
The best players in the world have been incredibly impressive in the opening two rounds. Watching them attack the course under perfect conditions is exhilarating.. As a PGA Coach, I watch and admire their ability to shift gears. I think we all must believe we can change our approach as well. Certain rounds call for a little more fire, and attacking the course with blinders to the outside world.