The 2018 ANA Inspiration was Amy Olson’s first truly big moment on the LPGA Tour stage. Then in her fifth year on Tour, Olson played in the final group on Sunday at Mission Hills Country Club’s Dinah Shore Tournament Course before fading down the stretch. Since then, she’s come tantalizingly close to a first victory on multiple occasions, including runner-up finishes at the 2018 Evian Championship and the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open.
This week’s Kia Classic added yet another runner-up finish to Olson’s resume. The North Dakota native carded a bogey-free 68 on Sunday to tie for second with Lexi Thompson at -9, five strokes behind a dominant Inbee Park. Perhaps it’s just the kick she needs to finally get that elusive first victory next week as the Tour heads two hours Northeast to the Coachella Valley and the 2021 ANA Inspiration.
“I'm really happy with where my game is,” said Olson, who bases in the Palm Desert area for much of the offseason. “(Coach) Ron (Stockton) and I have continued to fine tune my swing. I have a new putter in the bag this week and I'm going to keep that going I think next week. So just always tweaking. Just feels like it's always nerve ending journey, but I'm pleased with where I am right now.”
If nothing else, Olson can look to this week as the site of an amazing personal comeback. Olson opened with a 3-over 75 on Thursday and was +6 through 32 holes. Through hard work, and some quiet assistance from her caddie Taneka Mackey, Olson played the final 40 holes at -11 to earn the runner-up finish.
“(Taneka) is such a steady influence on me. You know, you could never tell how I'm playing by looking at her. I got pretty hot on Friday after I tripled hole 14 and she just like absorbs it and just keeps moving,” said Olson. “And then when I'm playing great she's steady as can be. That's just so helpful to have in your teammate.”