A new tip, technique or change in equipment. It’s all part of the endless pursuit for perfection in the game of golf. Even players at the game’s highest level often search for that extra edge to get a leg up on the competition.
This week, Morgan Pressel and Lizette Salas are trying out something new.
With a few tweaks and some extra work, Morgan Pressel and Lizette Salas moved to the top of the leaderboard on day one of the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship. Pressel sits two-back of leader Eun-Hee Ji after round one, due in large part to a change in her routine following her T-61 finish last week in Korea.
“I actually didn't play it Tuesday practice round, which was unusual. I just spent more time practicing on the range. I felt like I needed a little bit more range time,” Pressel said after her round. “Just trying to make solid contact. I've been struggling a little bit with my chipping. So I spent a couple hours on that and then a couple hours on the range, too. So it was a long session. It was a grinding session on Tuesday.”
Pressel’s progress this season has been well documented, posting some of the best finishes in her career with six top-10’s, but has yet to breakthrough for a win since 2008.
“I just felt like I continued to make progress with my golf swing, and some days it's better than others,” said Pressel. “I felt like in Malaysia, I hit it really, really well. And then last week, I was upset; I felt like I had regressed quite a bit. It's just always a balance of working on it and playing. It's trying to really make a change but then also being able to play with it and find a good thought to go out on the golf course.”
Pressel was able to find some good thoughts on Thursday at Miramar Golf Country Club where she posted an opening 68 which included four birdies and one bogey to finish at 4-under par, two-back of the lead heading into Friday.
“I think I hit 14 greens today, something around there. So I didn't put myself in a whole lot of trouble. I was a little upset with my one bogey, because it was just a club error, a mistake; not a poor shot or anything like that,” said Pressel. “It was a tough wind to judge which clubs to hit on certain holes, and some of the holes are cross-wind and that makes it challenging; slightly hurting, slightly helping. But I think for the most part we did a pretty good job with that today and kept myself out of trouble.”
Salas mostly kept herself out of trouble on Thursday too, posting an opening round 3-under par, 69 to sit three strokes back of the lead. She credits a change in her putting stroke to a left hand low grip at last week’s LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship for her success in round one, making it around in 28 putts.
“I switched in Korea and was more comfortable with the golf ball and can see my lines better and had a better finish in Korea last week,” said Salas. “It's been helping me keep my head down and just feel more stable over the ball. I mean, it's going in, so I'm just going to keep it going.”
Salas finished T-34 in Korea and likes the way this week’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Design suits her game, particularly the front nine where she made five birdies and one bogey on Thursday.
“I like the front better than the back for sure. It's just all imagination and picking the right lines, and knowing you've got to trust your line and trust where you're hitting it,” Salas said. “And I think some of the shots where I just messed up is I did not trust it. I didn't trust the wind and I didn't trust the way it was going to turn that far. But it's all just kind of getting comfortable with it.”
It’s tough to get comfortable in a game that is a constant work in progress.