Week 5: Adelaide
This is the week I have been looking forward to most. The Australian Women's Open is an LPGA event, and the goal I made before flying to this lovely country was to qualify for it. Our qualifier took place at The Grange, which hosted the Aussie Open last year. As much fun as I had playing, my score was not there this time around. After a rough start, I managed to play the middle holes at even, but I did not have the finish I was looking for either. Needless to say, that kind of round does not qualify you for an LPGA event.
After every round, I like to review my highlights of the day as well as acknowledge potential lessons. This time, my highlights included a superb bunker game, both green-side and fairway, as well as a fantastic shot with my 6 iron that I drew around a tree to land 4-5 feet from the hole. I realized that next time, I will have to maintain my own pace instead of feeling like I am rushing to keep up with others in my group when our pace is actually on time; I do not have a slow routine, but rushing the mental preparation before each shot leaves room for too many unnecessary errors. Another reminder from this round was to play with only one swing thought. When your game is not going well, it is easy to over-analyze in a panicked attempt to salvage your score; reverting back to your routine is a much better option.
This manner of thinking always leaves me feeling optimistic and enthusiastic about my next round and challenges I am sure to face. I figure out what I need to focus on during my next practice session and/or tournament, and then it is time to leave the golf at the golf course and enjoy Australia.
I had two days left for shenanigans in Adelaide before my next Aussie adventure (Hint: it has something to do with a "Great" world wonder). The day after the qualifier, our extremely hospitable host family, Bek and Roscoe, organized a wine-tasting adventure for Bek, Meghan, and me in Barossa Valley. They are wine connoisseurs, and they brought us to all the right places!
Our first stop was Yelland and Papps. I admit, I am not a wine drinker, or a drinker at all for that matter, but I was determined to face red wine head on and not make a weird face while drinking it (video of said face is on my Instagram profile @KellyOkunGolf). I liked their wine so much, I actually bought a bottle! Meghan is currently holding it hostage in Orlando.
Our journey continued to three other wineries. Two were very commercial, and the only good thing that came out of those was the pudding/dessert wines. My other favorite wine stop was Soul Growers. Bek and Roscoe managed to get us behind the scenes and into the warehouse, where we sampled shiraz straight from the barrel. It was the perfect end to our tour!
My last day in Adelaide consisted of spectating the Aussie Open and then practicing. It was so much fun seeing our friends out there playing. Even though I would have loved to have been out there myself, I believe it is important to support women's golf in any way possible; spectating just happens to be one of the most fun ways!
Meghan, Bek, and I followed a couple Aussie friends and our practice round buddy, Elmay, for most of the day. I also had a chance to catch up with Mo Martin, one of my role models. Spectating reminded me how small and friendly the golf world is - I wouldn't trade it for anything!