INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Those players not in the Solheim Cup had three weeks to prepare for the final two domestic events on the LPGA Tour calendar.
For those hovering around 100th on the LPGA Official Money List had those three weeks to mull over what are for them two majors on the calendar.
Kendall Dye, currently 124th heading into play this week, answered the bell through two rounds of the Indy Women in Tech Championship, sitting at (-6) and T5.
“Normally when my back is against the wall I’ll perform better. Not that I wanted it this way, but you know, gotta do what I gotta do. I’ve got a job to do,” Dye told LPGA.com.
Dye came off the three-week break playing golf in Scotland, then attending the Solheim Cup. She returned home last week requiring three cortisone shots in her wrist to deal with an unknown injury that Dye’s been battling the past year, forcing her to rest.
It let Dye catch up on some much-needed Oklahoma Sooners football, but she wasn’t able to touch a club until she arrived in Indianapolis this week.
“I was a little anxious on how I was going to perform this week, but honestly I felt fresh. It’s showing.”
That freshness places her in an unfamiliar but welcome position near the top of the leaderboard. Her best career finish is 26th place, which she posted at the Pure Silk Championship this year.
Part of her credit to figuring that out is hiring a sports psychologist this season, Dr. Debbie Crews. Crews has brought Dye back to her athletic roots, where she played softball and basketball before ever picking up a golf club.
“Why have I thought that these technical, difficult ways are the way to play professional golf. It’s not. Just go be an athlete. That works for me. I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and I’m still learning. That’s the beauty of it,” Dye explained.
She’s gotten additional help focusing on being an athlete with a new caddy on the bag for the final two tournaments. Dye’s friend Derek Brown is helping her to play fun and free with six rounds remaining before cards are decided.
She’s also leaning on an important lesson learned from Dr. Crews staring down her most important rounds of the season.
“We discovered I play my best when I put myself in a hole or I’ve got to go get something done in the 4th quarter. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish right?”
The finish is closer than it may appear for Alison Lee, who is staring at returning to Q-Series for consecutive years sitting at 113th on the money list. While she’s at (-2) and playing this weekend, Lee will not be making the trip to Texas. She’s going to Korea to play in a KLPGA event, missing an additional opportunity to jump up the official money list.
Yet the awareness of retaining her card has been at the forefront for Lee all season.
Lee’s best years on the LPGA Tour came while she balanced attending UCLA and playing on tour. Working on having to deal with only golf, versus balancing papers and tests along with the competitive realm, has been a self-identified growth area for Lee.
“It’s been on my mind a lot. It honestly was on my mind in the beginning of the year, which probably isn’t something you should be doing. I was putting additional pressure on myself which doesn’t really help.”
To give herself her best chance possible at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, Lee spent time the last few weeks competing with PGA and mini tour friends in her home in Las Vegas. She tuned up her putting, hoping to roll her way away from Q-Series.
“I’m glad I’m playing this weekend, hopefully I make a lot of birdies so I don’t have to go to Q-Series, but that’s a long shot.”
Emma Talley is as close as possible at 101st on the money list. She spent the three weeks rebuilding her swing, grinding with her coaches to fix her long game.
“I haven’t worked that hard since I was 9 years old probably, I’m not kidding you. It was crazy, a few of the days I was on the range for 6 hours straight,” Talley explained.
Sticking with the swing change hasn’t been easy, with a true test today with the wind gusting to 25 mph throughout her round.
The opening stanza of Tally’s final two events is surrounded by family, as they’re only four hours away in Kentucky. Her parents are coming into town for the weekend, and she was embraced as she walked off the course at even par by a group of close friends.
“I can’t act badly around my family. It’s nice to have some friendly faces around,” she said.
Talley carded even par, right on the cut line. It’s something she didn’t look at until her 17th hole, the 8th on the course when she needed to make a bogey after finding the hazard.
She looks to stay locked in on her two final events, deleting Instagram from her phone for the next two weeks until the Volunteers of America Classic is over.
“Overall, I’m really happy where my game is and just, hopefully looking forward to getting this year over with and starting new next year.”