The sparkling smile on Gerina Piller’s face following her 2-under 70 on Friday rivaled the shimmer from the glittery threads sewn into her black pullover. After sitting out the entire 2018 season on maternity leave with her son A.J. and then the stops and starts of the 2020 season, Piller is finally getting to a place of serenity with her game.
“This is probably the most comfortable I've been on the golf course since having my son,” said Piller, who sits at -3 and tied for sixth heading into the weekend at Aviara Golf Club. “That has been a big obstacle for me, coming back and finding, I don't want to say like the old me because I'm definitely not the same, but everything just feels good.”
Piller knows too well the nerves that can come on strong during a competitive round of golf. Just look at the 2015 Solheim Cup, when she stared down an 8-foot putt to win her singles match and keep the USA alive. With a massive fist pump and scream, she propelled the USA to a come-from-behind win. Look too at the 2016 Olympics, when she broke down in tears after playing in the final grouping but falling out of the top-10.
Make no mistake — Piller is back. She’s ready to face the nerves and capture that elusive first LPGA Tour victory.
“I practiced my short game. I went to the gym. I got stronger. I just felt like I kind of didn't work on that, and lately I switched to a new coach last week and he just has me really believing in myself in what I'm doing and kind of going back to my old feels of how I was hitting it before,” said Piller, who also has a new caddie. “It's working, so I'm pumped.”