THE COLONY, TEX | Before last Friday, Maddie Szeryk had no idea if she would be playing The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America. But by the end of the day on Saturday, Szeryk was in sole control of fifth place through 54 holes after posting -9 with her family and friends cheering her on.
Szeryk shot 4 under in the third round of The Ascendant LPGA – with five birdies and one bogey on her card – for her second round of 67 this week.
“I just came in today and was like let's focus on making birdies, can't control anything else,” Szeryk said of her strategy ahead of Moving Day. “Just trying to have fun and enjoy having my family and friends out here."
Putting has been one key to the 26-year-old rookie’s game this week. Szeryk said she has recently made minor changes to her stroke after consulting with a few coaches: a shortened follow-through and a narrower stance. So far, she is averaging just 26.3 puts per round.
“My follow-through was way too long for putting and we narrowed my stance a little bit just to have better speed control,” Szeryk said. “It was way past or way short, so it's just been a lot more consistent the last few days.”
Beyond the game, Szeryk has been using her fans to fuel her success this week. She plays under the Canadian flag but is a Dallas-native with dual citizenship. While Szeryk is competing at Old American Golf Club, she gets to stay at home, surrounded by friends and family.
“It's just so nice to be home,” Szeryk said. “I get to stay at home this week, which is very rare. Just trying to really soak it all in.
“I love having everybody out. It’s exciting. My family doesn't get to come to many events, so just being able to have them is awesome.”
Szeryk’s journey back to Texas has been a wild ride. After a less than successful season, she earned her spot at The Ascendant LPGA as an alternate due to a withdrawal. Entering this week, she had missed the cut in seven of the 11 events she had played and has yet to break into the top-20. Sitting in solo fifth through three days, this week’s result already promises to be her best on Tour, no matter what happens tomorrow.
Szeryk came into the week ranked 163rd in the Race to CME Globe, which means she would have to return to qualifying school at the conclusion of the season to improve her status for 2023. If she finishes the week in solo fifth, Szeryk is projected to move up to 104th in the rankings, just four spots short of keeping full status for the 2023 season. If she were to win the tournament, Szeryk would collect 500 points and guarantee her spot on LPGA Tour.
But Szeryk is trying not to think about the technicalities of it all. While she can’t ignore that cut line, she tries take it all with a grain of salt.
“I'm happy to be playing,” she said. “Last week I just barely missed getting in; next week is still up in the air. So, it’s just the same mindset of it is what it is and I'm doing my best that I can. The cut off is coming up, but I'm just trying to focus on my game, playing and having fun.”
And that’s exactly what her game plan is going into the final day in Texas: just enjoy the ride.