“I think mentally I'm in a more peaceful world.”
The peaceful confidence Gaby Lopez speaks of was on full display at the Honda LPGA Thailand, where she recorded an 8-under 64, her lowest 18-hole score since the first round of the 2018 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, where she carded a 63.
“Internally I feel comfortable. There are so many birdies out there. I told my caddie, Hey, there is a birdie in every single hole out there. We just got to be aggressive,” said Lopez. “Greens are soft, so being able to birdie the par-5s -- I didn't birdie two of them -- but still got a really good round in. I think I got good numbers. I was just feeling calm out there.”
Lopez started with three birdies in the first four holes on Friday, then added three most on Nos. 10, 11 and 13. After a bogey on No. 14, the 27-year-old made the first eagle on No. 15 for the tournament, this week’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge Hole.
“I think it was 14 I three-putted. I didn't get angry. I know I'm going to miss couple putts, miss a couple shots, so just got to accept them as much as I can,” said Lopez. “I just went through 15 with an aggressive swing. I hit it to six feet, hit an amazing driver out there and, yeah, made the putt.”
Lopez was in contention last week at the HSBC Women’s World Championship, after a third-round 65 put her in fourth heading into the final day. Though a win wasn’t in the cards for Lopez, she recorded her first top-10 finish of the season, an accomplishment she was proud of.
“Last week was a great learning opportunity. I gave myself a good chance of being in contention the last day. What I've learned is just got to be patient. There are amazing players out here, and maybe your best is not going to beat everyone, but your best means you're improving a little bit, a little bit as time goes by,” said Lopez. “So I think that is for me the key. Hitting it a little closer with the wedges, making those up and downs, for me that is progress. I think I've done that, being able to get recovery when I have to and being able to stay calm through an eagle putt. Being able to stay patient and just kind of listen to my breath has helped me a lot.”