“It was definitely a dream start,” she said.
A bogey-free 5-under par first round on Thursday in the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio had Gerina Mendoza ecstatic. After starting on No. 10, Mendoza made the turn and strung together four consecutive birdies from Nos. 1-4 to jumpstart the opening round of her 12th LPGA Tour season.
“When I turned and went to No. 1, hit my drive a little right and it was right behind the only three trees on the hole, so I had to kind of chip out with a 58-degree wedge. Ended up having to hit 8-iron into the green and made the putt. Kind of a backwards par 5 but was just really solid with ball striking all day,” said Mendoza, who finished in a tie for 58th at the 2020 Gainbridge LPGA. “Coming into the first tournament, you don't know the benefits from your hard work in the offseason. It all definitely clicked today.”
With the time off since her last LPGA Tour start at the Pelican Women’s Championship in November, Mendoza put in a lot of purposeful work with her coach Brian Zeigler. Her focus was “getting back to my roots.”
“The last couple years there was a lot of body, arms and hands thoughts, and obviously you don't hit the ball with your body, arms and hands. You hit it with the club head, so I was like, ‘Why am I not thinking about the club head?’ Because I kind of lost sense of the spatial awareness of where my club head is,” Mendoza said. “That's what I have been working on, really being aware of my club head and how to get it make the ball do what I want it to do.
“Kind of the same thoughts I had before I got pregnant, getting back to my roots. I'm a feel player, and I may have strayed a little bit off the beaten path on being a little more technical. Trying to be more feel, focusing on the club head and my body will move according to that.”