With the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic set to tee off today, many of the golfers bidding for that LPGA Tour card have one goal in mind: Win.
So the day before the tournament is treated as a light practice for many women who are relying on their previous months’ work to hopefully get them over the hump.
“This is one of my favorite tournaments,” said Allie Knight, who played in the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic last year, which was the first tournament where she made money since turning pro in 2016.
“The main thing for me is to try to stay relaxed, have confidence and get my speed down on the green.”
Wednesday’s practice rounds were treated as such with players oftentimes chipping shots from different parts of the green just so they could get a good understanding of how to approach today.
Knight said having played last year, she feels a lot more comfortable coming into today because there’s a familiarity with the tournament and the holes.
Golf veterans Kristy McPherson and Kendall Dye – who are also participating – agreed with Knight.
“I’m getting to see nine holes (today),” Dye said. “I’m a little bit different than the next girl. You’re not trying to reinvent the wheel the day before. Today is just to get comfortable.”
“The hardest part out here is getting used to the green speeds, the rough conditions and the bunkers. But the day before the tournament you should be ready,” McPherson said.
This isn’t McPherson’s or Dye’s first rodeo, either.
McPherson, a Conway native and USC alumnus, turned pro in 2003, winning twice on the Symetra Tour before capturing 16 top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour.
Dye turned pro in 2009, wining one Symetra Tour tournament in that span.
McPherson and Dye said their preparation isn’t heavy the day before, especially when getting ready for a four-day event like the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
Both said that a golfer’s swing shouldn’t be changed leading up to the tournament, adding that a swing a golfer comes in with shouldn’t be changed. But they then said that some golfers – to their detriment – do have swing coaches tweak parts of their swing just a day before.
“For us, personally, (we don’t change anything). But there are swing coaches out (on the course) right now,” said Dye as she pointed to the rest of the green.
However one prepares, the real test is today. It’s something McPherson, Dye, Knight and the rest of the participants aren’t taking lightly.
“I’ve been playing professionally for 15 years, and I still get nervous on the first tee,” McPherson said. “I get jitters driving into the parking lot. You still get excited to play.”