What a difference a year makes! It’s fun to look back at last year’s first event and notice the differences. I feel much more comfortable now that I know the Symetra personnel and schedule. Returning to the same host family and resuming our friendship is also a great benefit, it is so nice to go back to familiar surroundings. Even though we played at a new course this year, I still knew my way around the town. I know my own preferences and have worked out my practice and warmup routines. All of this helped to make my first week more relaxed and gave me extra confidence. It was also fun to see friends from last year and I was so excited to compete again!
This year’s tour started March 10-12 in Winter Haven, Florida at the Country Club of Winter Haven. This is a nice course and it was in great condition. I think the greens matched my game well. They were undulating, fast, and true. The Bermuda grass around the greens were closely mowed, and balls easily rolled off.
The weather was great all week until Sunday afternoon when we had a two hour rain delay. Mornings were cool and afternoons warmed up to the 80s. At times it was windy, especially near the lake that ran along the course. The course drained fairly well after the rain, but, as usual, the greens became slower.I enjoyed playing on this course and I thought the pin placements were good. During Days One and Two my short game saved me as my ball striking was poor. My chipping was good and I was putting well. This was very encouraging as my short game was the main focus of my off-season workouts.
Florida’s Natural hosted a nice and enjoyable tournament. I played in the ProAm on Wednesday with some representatives from the company that sells the paper cartons to Florida’s Citrus and other companies. Another aspect of this week was the first ever Facebook Live broadcast of the end of the final round. Unfortunately, the weather disrupted the start of the broadcast, but the weather delay gave them time to get up and running and they were able to air several of the leaders’ play and some interviews. The video is still posted on The Symetra Tour and LPGA Facebook pages (just swipe past the delay portion).
We have a week off before heading to California. The next three tournaments are in Southern California, near Phoenix, Arizona, and then, a new event, in Northern California – all three are beautiful areas. I’m looking forward to each venue for different reasons.