NR5 & 2020
Victory number 5 on the Ladies European Tour at the end of November 2019 already feels like a long time ago. In fact, it is only 7 weeks, yet 7 weeks off for a professional golfer is very long.
Why does that feel so long ago? Because every day of those 7 weeks (49 days) I have been on the golf course, at Lake Nona G&CC in Orlando.
Lake Nona in Orlando is my American home and for me the best facilities to optimally prepare for the new LPGA season.
Next week to be precise I will start the 2020 season in Boca Raton. I can’t wait to start playing tournament golf again. For someone who loves golf so much, 7 weeks without a tournament is really long.
I love the excitement of competing, playing a different course every week, traveling, competing against the best of the world, and competing for the win, that has been the focus of my entire off-season. That winning feeling. I’m always finding improvements in my game and simply grind very hard ..!
7 weeks ago I won my 5th tournament on the Ladies European Tour at Aloha Golf in Marbella, Spain.
I had 8 weeks off before that tournament in Spain after my last tournament in Texas on the LPGA in early October. To be honest, I didn’t think much about golf in the first few weeks after Texas. After my first year on the LPGA tour I was burned out, I had little energy left and it was difficult to enjoy being on the golf course. How can this happen to someone who is passionate about this game on a daily basis? Try playing 28 weeks of tournaments in 37 weeks, flying from west coast to east coast from Australia to America and back to Europe. Try to play 7 weeks in a row, take a week off and then play again 8 weeks in a row. At a certain point, it is too much and you get lost in too much traveling and playing tournament golf, definitely if you are always looking for things to improve. Simply after Texas the battery was empty and it took at least 4 weeks before I had a golf club in my hand for the first time after that.
From that moment I looked at 2020.
The preparation to Spain was very relaxed, I was looking forward to play again. I had fun playing golf again and was really looking forward to defending my Spanish Open title of 2018.
I traveled from my home, Orlando, to Spain and immediately had a good feeling about the course (I already played the Spanish Open there in 2016). My mother and Roelof were back and it felt just like 2018.
After the first 2 rounds, I stood at -7, 1 shot behind the leaders. I played very steady the first 2 days and created a lot of opportunities. The greens on Aloha Golf are very tricky, fast and lots of slope. I knew if I would putt well I had a very good chance of winning the weekend.
Saturday I played one of my best golf ever on the first 9, went out in -6 (30 strokes) and had a 3 shot lead. At that time I actually knew that nothing could go wrong anymore.
Unfortunately on the second 9 I made 2 bogeys and no birdies anymore and signed for a disappointing 68 (-4) and was 3 strokes behind. I was very disappointed with the second 9 where I made a 3-putt and made a bad turn and putt on hole 18 for 2 bogeys. But that’s golf, every time you think you got it, you have to stay committed until you are finished. That is what I’ve learned from that back 9 on Saturday and what I took heading into Sunday. Knowing that I needed a very good round to win.
Sunday I started solid and was -2 after 9 holes, created many opportunities and played solid. After 9 holes I was 3 strokes behind and knew that I had to play a good second 9. On the second 9 I played solid but didn’t manage to hit a single putt in the hole for birdie. Certainly on hole 16 when I made a 3-putt par from just outside the green on the par 5, I was very disappointed because I was playing two strokes behind Nanna with 2 holes.
On hole 17 we both made a par.
To my surprise, on 18 Nanna choose a very agressieve teeshot and hit her ball in the water, after which she also made a 3-putt. Because of this I suddenly had a 3-foot putt for par for the win. Which I made and with that my 5th victory on Tour had arrived.
Golf is a crazy game and can always go in different directions, one thing I never do is give up and I know that everything is still possible until the last hole is played.
After my victory I got criticism that I didn’t had any celebrations on the 18th hole. My reaction; Out of respect for your opponent I think it is more than normal if you play with someone who is just made a double bogey to give the tournament away you are not jumping in the air, that is what sportsmanship is about.
The only thing I’m disappointed in is her reaction afterwards.
Standing with another trophy again with my mother and Roelof on hole 18 is one of the best feelings I can have and I will never forget that moment.
Sometimes it is nice to look back and see how far I have come in my career, yet I am someone who always looks ahead. See what I want to improve, and work hard at it until its achieved. That’s why I was back on the plane to Orlando two days later, eager to train hard on some small things that should be sharper in 2020.
What have I worked on?
– many putting drills within 10-foot (3 meters)
– Different short game strokes around the greens
– Distance and spin control with my wedges and irons
I am very happy with the team that I have around me.
I have made a lot of progress with Maarten Lafeber, with whom I practice my short game. He is very good at explaining short game technique simple. And through his own playing career and level of his short game I can learn a lot with certain situations and techniques. The grass in America is just different than in Europe and I feel more and more at comfortable on this grass.
David has been my swing coach for 3 years and This offseason we manly worked hard on my basics. Broadly speaking, my swing is looking good, but after playing a lot of tournaments for a year, it is always good to fine tune the small mistakes and to work on the basic fundamentals.
I am also very grateful to my sponsor team behind me. For 5 years Audi has been sponsoring me from the beginning of my career and after that I have; Hof Hoorneman Bankers, WINSTON golf, INDIGOautogroup, Kjus, and Callaway golf adding to this.
Without sponsoring much would not be possible, because of them I can always continue to invest in myself and in coaching, equipment and training opportunities to get the most out of myself. I am proud to represent them.
Callaway is my newest sponsor who was added in 2020, a collaboration that I look forward to in the coming years!
For now I am looking forward to 2020. 2019 was a very beautiful and yet great learning year with 2 wins on the LET, winning the Solheim Cup with team Europe and my first year on the LPGA.
What I take with me is that golf will always be my passion, even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like that after a bad tournament week or practice session. I enjoy working hard and getting the most out of myself. I finished 2019 with a 82nd place on the LPGA, for this year I look forward with highlights to the Majors of course but also the Olympic Games in Tokyo and of course the Dutch Ladies Open which is back on the schedule again.
I think it’s fantastic how many positive reactions I get from all my fans around the world and I look forward to a successful 2020!