As the crow flies, Gerina Piller’s home is not far from Old American Golf Club, just across Lake Lewisville. If only she had a boat. No matter the transportation, Piller is relishing a week home in the great state of Texas, opening with a 5-under 66 to sit three strokes off the lead at the Volunteers of America Classic.
The 2016 Olympian carded six birdies and one bogey on Thursday, returning the lowest round in her three appearances at Old American.
“Start of the day I was hitting it pretty close and missed a couple putts I think my first three, four holes. Talked to my caddie and said, ‘It's really hard not to get frustrated with my putting right now,’” said Piller. “He just reminded me that I'm really good at staying patient. So tried to have that mentality just because the golf course is playing soft conditions and a lot of pins are really gettable.”
The putting pep talk from caddie Josh Udelhofen paid off, as did a new PXG flatstick that she “threw in” the bag just before her round. And the battle was just as fierce with the blazing heat, which soared into the upper 90s on an uncharacteristically windless day in the greater Dallas metropolitan area.
“Especially toward the end of the round, we're all tired, we're all hot,” said Piller. “There is only so much water you can drink. Make sure I eat lots of food out there just to get the energy levels up. Felt like I did a pretty good job staying in every shot.”