A bogey-free, 8-under par 64 in the final round of the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony Golf & Country Club earned Sarah Schmelzel a career-best finish on the LPGA Tour of outright third, just one shot back of Lexi Thompson and four behind champion Leona Maguire.
“It was really nice to play well in the final round and move up the leaderboard, something I have worked on a lot the last few years on Tour, so it was great to see that come together,” said Schmelzel. “Played well all week. The key was to stay really patient, and some putts finally started to go in the back nine.”
Schmelzel recorded two birdies on her opening nine and thought, like the previous two rounds, the door of opportunity was shut. But the Epson Tour alumna converted birdies over six of her final seven holes to secure the second-lowest score of her LPGA career, bested only by a second-round 62 in 2019 at the Cambia Portland Classic.
“When I shot the 62, I think I birdied the first five and had a little more momentum going into the rest of the day. That was probably another heater I can remember,” Schmelzel said. “I controlled distances well in the wind, into greens, so I consistently had looks to get into a rhythm of hitting 15-, 20-footers over and over again until a few of them finally dropped on the back nine.”
This performance for Schmelzel comes on the heels of steady offseason work with her mental coach Bill Nelson.
“I actually worked with my mental coach from college [at the University of South Carolina], had success with him when I was in school. Helped me get through a tough time,” said Schmelzel. “It was nice to start working with him again because we kind of had established that relationship already. He knew me pretty well and my tendencies.
“We were able to kind of take the perfectionist mentality out. That's hard to maintain throughout weeks and weeks on the road, let alone four rounds in a row. I'm happy that that paid off this week.”