INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Nanna Koerstz Madsen is learning to take the sour with the sweet.
Sunday, Koerstz Madsen came close to enjoying the sweet taste of victory at the Indy Women in Tech Championship. The Dane, who began the final round five shots back of the lead held by Mi Jung Hur, mounted a final round charge with a 5-under par 67. But Hur, who led wire to wire, wasn’t to be caught. Koerstz Madsen could only play for second.
“MJ, when she plays good, she's on fire,” Koerstz Madsen said. “I wasn't really thinking that I could catch her. I was thinking she's going to go out and shoot 4 under or 5 under or something, so it was going to be really hard if I had to catch her.”
It’s not that Koerstz Madsen doesn’t think she has the game. For her, the real struggle lies in her ability to control her emotions. She works with a sports psychologist in Denmark and when her nerves or temper get the better of her, she turns to lemons. When she was in contention earlier this season in Los Angeles, she sucked on slices of lemons during the round. The sour taste helps her reset her feelings. Despite being in contention throughout the week in Indy, it wasn’t until Sunday’s final round that she felt the need to eat the tart citrus fruit. Twice she pulled them from her bag over the closing stretch.
“I haven't been really good at it before when I've been in the couple last groups, but I did quite well today,” Koerstz Madsen said about managing her nerves. “I was a little bit nervous on the first drive and then from there on I was fine. Then it was actually only on the last couple holes where I got a little nervous.”
Koerstz Madsen’s two runner-up finishes are also her only two top 10s on Tour, due in large part to her inability to control her feelings on the golf course. When asked if her emotions are what have kept her from winning, she readily admits they’ve hampered her success.
“The mental game for me, it's often what's keeping me back,” said Koerstz Madsen. “If I can work on that and keep doing the way I did this week, then I think I'll be more consistent.”
Koerstz Madsen might have been able to catch Hur had it not been for Friday’s round of 75, which negated the 65 she opened with on Thursday. But it was a blip in what was otherwise a solid week for the second-year member who hit 80% of greens this week and averaged 28.5 putts.
“I was really pleased because it's been really steady golf, I've hit a lot of greens,” Koerstz Madsen said. “It hasn't been that I had to save pars and everything. My game has just been really steady. I don't know what really happened in the second round, it was just an off day.”
As Koertsz Madsen is learning to take the sour with the sweet she will leave Indy, not with the trophy, but having accomplished the other goal she set out to achieve. At No. 68 on the money list heading into the week, she wanted to further improve her position heading into the Tour’s Asia swing, which is limited to the top 80 money earners this season. She’ll make a significant leap with her earnings of $186,577 on Sunday.
“It would be really great to finish good in those events,” she said. “I haven't played them before, so that will be fun to see.”