July 28, 2023
Twenty-eight of the thirty-two LPGA rookies for the 2023 season came to play at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer.
I decided to watch some of them as they prepared for this new challenge.
On Thursday morning, June 8, Arpichaya Yubol of Thailand stood at the putting green with her father/caddie, Yodchai.
Two tees created a small gate about 6 feet from a hole. Another tee stood in the turf about a foot behind the gate and centered in the gate space, creating a visual triangle.
Slowly and carefully, Yubol set a ball down at the gate, lined herself up from behind and the side, and putted.
She made most of them if the three tees were in place. However, if her father took away the back tee of the triangle, her performance wobbled.
Yubol’s reaction to her misses varied. Sometimes she would straighten up and stare off into the middle distance. Sometimes there would be eyerolls. Sometimes there would be visible sighs.
We’ve all been there.
Dad nudged the balls back to where his daughter stood, quietly talked to her, and moved the tee triangles to different six-foot spots around the same hole. He looked over and said, “Must do left, right, up, and down.”
We met at the practice range the next day, after Yubol’s successful first round, a 3-under-par 68. She was hitting short-lofted shots to the chipping green with a 58-degree wedge.
Her mood was considerably brighter. “I had five birdies and two bogeys,” she grinned. “I also went over the green on the [par 3] 15th hole and was only five yards from the next hole tee box.”
When I suggested she drop back a club the next time, father and daughter laughed and agreed.
Yubol’s nickname is “Piano,” which is also engraved on her wedges. “My father gave it to me because he thought that’s what I should play. My brother’s nickname is ‘Guitar,’ she said. “I tried playing, but only learned a couple songs and quit. No time!”
As for putting, Yubol referred to the day before. “Yesterday I couldn’t make them. Today I make them.”
Unfortunately, her putting woes re-appeared the next day. She shot a 78 and missed the cut. Yubol had six more putts in that second round, most of the ten-stroke difference from the day before. If she had maintained her putting performance from the first round, Yubol would have easily made the cut.
The ShopRite was a bit of a brutal lesson, but I expect Yubol to press on.
For her, it’s still better than playing the piano.
Teaming up for a practice session
Luna Sobron Galmes is a Spanish golfer with LPGA and Ladies’ European Tour experience. She had a team with her for a training session on the Seaview Resort’s putting green during the second pro-am day at this year’s ShopRite.
She was practicing left to right putts and stood at one end of a straight raised line about 12-15 feet long, held in suspension by two small posts. Between her ball and the hole sat two small discs on the intended path of the eventual arc of the ball.
Under the careful eyes of two assistants, one at the hole and the other behind her taking videos, she tried to putt her ball on the line, then over the two discs, and on into the hole.
The technique worked, mostly.
Unfortunately, after posting a 1-under par 70 in the first round, Sobron Galmes withdrew due to a reported injury.
Ebersole repeats at FlingGolf championship
Competing at the Boomerang Links Golf Course, Ebersole posted new scoring records in winning by 14 strokes, both in the individual category and in the team championship with Sam Scannell of North Carolina. The winning margin had never been more than 3 strokes in past championships.
ACGC’s Britt Morrison also finished second in the women’s contest.
Ebersole and Morrison thought playing at altitude, nearly a mile higher than American Classic, would affect their game.
Ebersole said, “We didn’t notice any change. The lack of humidity kept the ball from floating like it does here, but it went the same distance.”
Two stops remain on the WLF tour this season, in Boston in September and Massanutten, VA in October. Ebersole said tournament officials plan on holding 8-10 tournaments in 2024.
In the meantime, roughly 30 FlingGolf players compete each Friday afternoon at American Classic. Ebersole said about half that number are regulars, and the rest are vacationers checking out the new golf option. The pro shop at American Classic also sells customizable FlingGolf sticks.
Local club competition results
The Kings Creek CC Ladies 9-Hole group played a team 1 gross/1 net game July 25, with 42 golfers participating.
Maggie Whall, Alicia Polsky, Kathy Andrus, and Donna Romer won first place. Dot Filbert, Mary McLoughlin, Beth Cohen, and Kathleen O’Connor took second, with Lynn Sweeney, Deb Grant, Deb Chase, and Brenda Schilli in third.