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My story originally appears on PGA.com on 3/28/22
A Sunday 64 for Atthaya Thitikul, the 19-year-old Thai rookie, led to victory at the LPGA’s JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol. In just her fourth start on Tour, you got the sense that Thitikul was already close to her breakthrough win before it even happened.
Earlier this week, before the tournament started, Atthaya said “Being patient is the key for this week, and then keep the momentum going for the next week.” When you look at her scorecard on Sunday, with a 64, and 7 birdies on her last 12 holes, she was keeping some positive momentum going for sure.
If things are going well, it is critical to just stick to your normal routine and from a mental standpoint, never get too much ahead of yourself.
Gary Player once said: “A good golfer has the determination to win, and the patience to wait for the breaks.”
Getting too anxious and thinking too far ahead can often lead to breaking stretches of potential brilliance. That goes for a 25, 15, 5 or plus 5 handicapper.
You got the sense during Thitikul’s final round that she was staying in the moment, staying positive and not at all looking too far ahead. There were some moments however, in the playoff, where she indeed showed some nerves. Without question, this would seem natural, even after playing well for the large majority of the day.
The lesson we saw from Atthaya in these moments was her ability to gather herself and keep the good outcomes coming. Part of honing that ability to gather yourself after a slight trip up, during an otherwise good stretch, is to recognize that moments like that will indeed happen.
You need to accept those moments and not do too much in trying to recover…meaning, resist that urge to push too hard and potentially throw off the positive momentum you have created. Remember, as Mr. Player said, you must have the patience to wait for the breaks. By accepting the bad breaks as they may come, you open yourself up to the good ones.