Gal drawn against Korean Chella Choi in first round of the Lorena Ochoa Match Play
The beauty and, for many, the brutality of match-play golf lies in its uncertainty but for Sandra Gal this week's Lorena Ochoa Match Play offers a rare chance to be aggressive out on the course and stay in birdie hunting mode.
For the 64 players in the field at the Club de Golf Mexico, the self-directed questions can be endless as they steel themselves for the sheer lottery of the one-on-one format.
How many days will they last? Will their golf be good enough to win in Thursday's first round? Can they still advance after a slightly off-day? Will the putts drop at the right time?
Gal, however, embraces the unpredictability of the match-play format.
"It's a great format because you play more aggressively in general and you just play hole-by-hole, even more so than you do maybe in stroke play," the 31-year-old German told LPGA.com as she prepared for her first-round match against Korean Chella Choi.
"I don't mind the unpredictability at all. You just have to step up to the challenge of that day, no matter which opponent you get, and it's also a great format because we don't play it very often, we played it much more as amateurs more than as pros."
Former world No. 1 Stacy Lewis, who will take on Japan's Ayako Uehara in the first round at Club de Golf Mexico, also loves the rare opportunity to compete in a match-play environment.
"I was excited about this tournament," twice major champion Lewis said of the first match-play tournament on the LPGA Tour in five years. "Just to play match play is different from every week but it's also a lot harder. It does take some luck, it takes some luck of the draw but it's fun, it's different and I think that's why you have a good field this week.
Asked if she was tempted to look ahead to possible matchups in the latter stages of the Lorena Ochoa Match Play, Lewis smiled: "With all the great players on this tour, you take it from match to match, especially given that the seedings this week are done off the Rolex Rankings.
"There are some players that are pretty good that are ranked low just because they don't have a lot of tournaments to play in, so a seeding is just a number. You just take every match for what is and go play some golf."
Gal, whose only LPGA Tour victory came at the 2011 Kia Classic, has plenty of match-play experience given her junior years in Europe and her appearances on the winning European Solheim Cup team in 2011 and followed by another Solheim outing in 2015.
In Korean Choi, however, she knows that she faces a highly experienced opponent who has made the cut in each of her nine LPGA Tour starts this season, with a best finish of tied for ninth at the HSBC Women's Champions
"We are very different players," Gal said of Choi. "I hit the ball a little bit longer with a little more spin on the ball. She is a great putter and she's had an amazing career.
“Maybe I can take advantage of my high ball flight and stop the ball a little bit better on the greens and make a few putts. But she knows her game well and she is playing well right now.”
Another possible bonus for Gal is her love of the Club de Golf Mexico layout.
"I really like the course," she said. "It has a bit of a European feel to it and there are some holes where you have to shape shots. I really enjoy that."