The roar was loud when Gaby Lopez’s final putt dropped on the 18th green of Highland Meadows Golf Club at the Dana Open presented by Marathon, and for very good reason. The 28-year-old captured her third LPGA Tour title in dramatic fashion, firing a final-round, 8-under 63 to win by a single shot over Megan Khang. Now a few weeks on from the victory, the Mexico native is feeling much more relaxed as she looks ahead to this week’s The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America in The Colony, Texas
“It has been a lot of calmness and tranquility after this win. We always are looking for the next win, for the next trophy, and just being able to take that monkey off my back,” said Lopez. “It was just a matter of connecting the dots. We don't realize how much golf we play during a week, how much it takes to win on the LPGA. It's just getting harder and harder. Being able to compete week in and week out against the best in the world is the biggest treat. The tougher it is the better you got to get, the better you just got to be emotionally, mentally as well.”
This will be Lopez’s seventh appearance in The Ascendant and her best result is a solo third that came last year after a final-round 65 propelled her up the leaderboard and into the top five. She also has two other top-20s in the event, both earned at Old American Golf Club – a T19 in 2018 and a T16 in 2019 – and is looking forward to another chance to play a course with which she’s so familiar and to tee it up so close to her adopted home.
“I get to play a couple rounds here at Old American Golf Club. I really enjoy how the course is set up. You just got to be very creative,” Lopez said. “Texas is a great place to play competitive golf. You see a lot of PGA Tour and LPGA players living here year-round, so I just feel like it's a great place to just have all the golf fans and enjoy some of the professional golf.”
With just a handful of events left on the LPGA Tour calendar and a win finally under her belt, you’d think that Lopez would have adjusted some of her goals for the rest of the 2022 season. But she’s a player that doesn’t like to rest on her laurels. Having spent some of the early part of the year dealing with an injury, she’s as hungry as ever for another chance to win, an opportunity that could present itself if Lopez can conjure up some more of the magic that she found in Sylvania, Ohio.
“I try to break it more into little goals in my process so if I get to hit 15 greens average, that will be spectacular. I feel that more greens I hit of course the more birdie opportunities I have. I've always felt comfortable with my putter. That's one of my strengths,” said Lopez. “Of course, I would like to be in contention again. My coach back home actually was watching me play a couple of tournaments in the summer and he said, ‘You're playing so good. You're going to have at least two chances to win this year.’ We took advantage of one. I'm hoping that the next chance comes soon enough to close the year.”