ROGERS - Azahara Munoz is a lucky woman.
In March, Munoz had a benign tumor removed from her left hand and after six weeks off she returned to action at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, but has struggled to regain the good form she had before her surgery.
“I’m super lucky,” Munoz told the media Friday. “I actually couldn’t be any luckier, I have so many good things going for me. So I almost felt ashamed that I was being a little bit of a brat, I guess. So finally I said this is it, no matter what you’ve just got to be happy anyways. I know I’m a good golfer so eventually it’s going to come. Obviously it’s going to take a little bit of time but I know it’s going to come back.”
It came back today.
Munoz carded an opening round 6-under par, 65 to take an early share of the lead at the weather delayed Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.
“It felt great,” Munoz said. “Today going for pins and hitting it really close, it felt really good, back to normal.”
While Munoz says she does still have some soreness in her hand, she is able to practice and it was during a session back in Florida last week that she started to see signs of her game returning to form, while learning to accept the limitations that come with recovery.
“More than technique, we tried to focus on what I was feeling before my surgery because I was hitting the ball really well,” said Munoz. “I just tried to get those feelings back instead of focusing so much on technique, because I feel that after my surgery happened, I felt so lost that I wanted to be so perfect with my technique. I just couldn’t, I lost swing speed, I wasn’t hitting it very far, obviously not solid.”
She was striking it solid on Friday, hitting 11 of 13 fairways and 14 of 18 greens on a day that was delayed twice by weather, but Munoz says she actually enjoyed the breaks while still being able to finish her first round.
“Mentally, it doesn’t affect me,” said Munoz. “It does suck but you just try to make the best of it. At the end of the day I finished, so I got lucky. I can’t complain.”
It may just be her lucky week.