2021 has not been a year to remember for Jodi Ewart . The Englishwoman enters the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer on a streak of five consecutive missed cuts, missing the weekend 10 times on the season. Outside of a tie for ninth at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in June, Ewart hasn’t finished better than 25th this year.
“This year hasn't been the greatest for me,” said Ewart , now in her 11th year on Tour. “Been working on a lot of breathing just to settle me down.”
She’s been working hard with mental coach Seth Pepper to calm her mind on the course and set a routine to keep her game in balance.
Ewart saw a glimmer of daylight last week, shooting a second-round 69 at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. And in today’s first round on the Bay Course at Seaview Golf Club, it all came together. Ewart carded four birdies and an eagle to leap to the top of the leaderboard at -6. Her 65 is the lowest round of her 10 ShopRite appearances. This marks her first 18-hole lead since the 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
“Just staying in my routine today was really important. I did that,” she said with a clearly relieved smile on her face. “I have to give myself a pat on the back for doing that today. I stuck to the and it paid off.”
Beyond the mental aspect of her game, Ewart has also been tinkering with her play on the greens. Just today, she switched from left-hand low to what she termed the Tommy Fleetwood Claw pencil grip. “It's just helping me release the putt a lot better, and it's given me a lot more consistency with that 6-feet range,” she said.
Numbers show that the change quickly benefitted Ewart . She needed just 28 putts on Friday, a significant improvement on her season average of 32.2.