Below is a blog post from Anya Alvarez. She obtained her LPGA card for 2014 during Q School this past December. From time to time she will be sending us notes on her travels around the world with her SeeMore putter, bag and teachings from Pat O'Brien - SeeMore Global Ambassador. Feel free to follow Anya on Twitter - HERE. Here first stop in her 2014 season takes her to Australia. If you would like to help with her trip feel free to donate - HERE. Anya participated on the BIG BREAK - ATLANTIS - watch here VIDEO BIO - HERE.
To read Anya's first post click - My Committed Relations to a SeeMore
The SeeMore family looks forward to watching and following Anya's success throughout the 2014 golf season.
The last five weeks I have been in Australia and New Zealand, playing a lot of golf, having a couple so-so days and one incredible week I will never forget.
Two weeks again I had my best finish in a tournament at the Ladies European Tour event in New Zealand and Clearwater Golf Club. There were a lot of things that set me up for a positive week, one being that I had a great host family, and that my eye really suited the course and the different shots you had to hit off the tee.
It wasn't a bombers golf course, but a course where you had to set yourself up in the fairway to have a clear shot to the green. I like courses that you have to think your way around, and this course definitely required creativity and focus. The first hole of the day set up the tournament for my week for me though.
I pulled it left into a thicket of bushes. After evaluating my lie, I had to take a unplayable. I then proceeded to chunk my third shot, pitched the ball to fifteen feet, then drained the putt for bogey. From then on, it was smooth sailing. Making the putt for bogey pumped me up and I shot -2 for the day. The second day, I couldn't seem to miss a putt and got in a zone. Any opportunity I had to make birdie, it either lipped out or went in. By the time I reached the 18th hole, my playing partner asked me if I knew how many under I was.
To be honest, I had no idea. She looked at me said, "Make this last putt." I looked at my twelve footer, stepped over it and put a confident stroke, only for it to slide past the hole on the edge. I tapped in for par and my playing partner said, "Look at the scoreboard. You're leading the tournament." I was at a total of -8.
As one of the final groups of the day it was pretty much set in stone that I would lead the tournament going into the final day. Teen sensation Lydia Ko was only two strokes behind at -6 for the tournament. I did a few interviews after my round and one of the questions asked, "What has felt different the last couple days for you?" I answered, "I just feel calm. I've been working really hard to put myself in this position and it feels good to finally know that I can put myself in the position to win."
While my ball striking as improved over the last year, the biggest difference was with my putter. I had been putting okay for the last few weeks but not capitalizing on opportunities. So, I decided to do something that I had never done before: I drew a big cross on my ball to help me see the line better of where I was aiming. Doing this helped me not focus over the putt if I was aiming correctly, but instead on the speed of the putt. I averaged 27 putts per round for the week.
The night before the final round, I definitely felt nervous. More than anything though, I couldn't wait to get on the course and prove that I belonged in the final group.
When I arrived to the course the final day, thousands of New Zealanders were to support native Lydia Ko. This did not bother me in the least bit and I knew she and I would put on a good show. I stepped up to the first tee and striped my drive, and although it barely trickled into the fairway bunker it didn't bother me in the least bit. After I tapped in for par, I felt a calmness come over me. Over the next six holes I made two birdies and was -10 for the tournament. That's when it started to settle in that I really could win this and that's when the nerves started to kick in. I proceeded to three putt and miss a six-footer for par on 9.
I then birdied 10 to get back to -9 then three putted the following hole. I tried to stay out of my head and in the present and told myself to stay calm. Lydia was only one shot behind me and we were going back and forth. On holes 12,13,14,16,and 17, I made par putts ranging from four feet to twenty feet. I wasn't hitting it solid but I was confident with my putter. Lydia and I were both -8 going into the final hole, but someone had shot -9 under in the final round who had started the day at even par. Mi Hyang Lee played remarkable that day, and put Lydia and I in a position to birdie the last hole to force a playoff. I missed the green and knew I needed to chip in. It was a basic chip, from about 50 feet and I knew I could make it. I took dead aim and for a second I thought I had it, only to see it roll eight feet past the hole. It was then that it sunk in that I wouldn't win the tournament. I missed my par putt to drop to -7 and to finish at a tie for 3rd.
Overall though, while I didn't win, I learned so much from that week. I feel a sense of pride in myself for never giving up and I don't feel like I threw away the tournament. Three more shots for the week and I would have won. It finally has started to feel like all the parts of my game are coming together.
This week I play in the LPGA ISPS Handa Australian Open. I will hopefully continue to build off the confidence from my finish in New Zealand.
Stay tuned as this is my last week in Australia and I also look forward to getting back to the U.S.A. to play!