LPGA in Ann Arbor: Touring pros take practice to the range after a round


Lee Lopez finished the Volvik Championship on Sunday tied for 73rd place with a four-day score of 288. In other words, she broke even with her par score on the challenging Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor.

Her take home pay for finishing tied for 73rd place was $2,506 – which also was probably close to breaking even considering an LPGA Touring Pro’s expenses for a week on the road including travel.

The Whittier, Calif., native arrived in Ann Arbor missing three consecutive cuts so “breaking even” broke a rough stretch that many players experience in this highly competitive occupation. It’s why many players admit staying on Tour is almost as difficult and challenging as getting on Tour and the key to staying is getting better.

Lopez’s scorecard on Sunday shows what a rollercoaster of emotions a player can ride not only during a tournament or an afternoon but also in just a few holes. She double-bogeyed the par-5 fifth hole and then ran off two consecutive birdies – only to bogey the par-3 seventh hole.

Following her round on Friday – which included five birdies and three bogeys – Lopez did what most players in this profession do after a highly stressful round of golf. They go and play more golf.

“I spend about 50 percent of the time after my round working on things I continue to work on and trying to improve in those areas and the other 50 percent is focused on things that happened out on the course that day,” Lopez said. “I might work on a shot I didn’t execute very well or I felt could have been better.”

Lopez said she hit a few of her hybrids a little thin so she did some work with her hybrids on the range.

Practices on the range also carries over to the mental side of the game.

“I want to try and get my mind focused on a good outcome instead of some of the bad shots I hit out on the golf course,” she said.

That approach is all about the approach the next time she faces a similar shot. Instead of remembering what she did on the course, her mindset will instead focus on the practice she did and the better outcome as a result of that work off the course.

“The mental side of golf is a process you work on during the entire course of your career,” she said. “At the end of the day it’s about getting better and a big part of that is reminding yourself every day of the positives and just keep working to get better.”

Lizette Salas, who shot a 7-under-par 65 on Friday, headed right to the putting green after her round to work on her short putts. Practicing after a round is a regular part of her daily schedule.

“There are times when I walk off the course and need to step away a little bit,” she says. “I will go have some lunch and clear my head. But I usually go straight to the area where I need to work on some stuff.”

It paid off for Salas in Ann Arbor. The Southern California standout finished tied for fourth place at 15-under-par, just two shots behind champion Shanshan Feng. Salas earned $59,819 for her work at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Her 65 on Friday was the best of her four days on the golf course. After an opening-round 70, she shot 65, 67 and 69.

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