02 October 2021: An opening 65 helped So Yeon Ryu and Jodi Ewart Shadoff secure a one-stroke advantage over eight other golfers who shot 66 on pristine day for golf. Aditi Ashok played Friday with Megha Ganne and Maria Fassi. The three women stand for hope and aspiration, each carrying their promise lightly on their shoulders.
Aditi has been breaking the ceiling for golf in India. Still an amateur, Megha is considered by many as one of the most promising talents in the USA and Fassi has made the transition to professional golf with steady poise.
On Friday Aditi made 73, while Fassi and Ganne both made one-under 71 in the opening round.
2021 has not been a year to remember for Jodi Ewart Shadoff. The Englishwoman enters the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer on a streak of five consecutive missed cuts, missing the weekend 10 times on the season. Outside of a tie for ninth at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in June, Ewart Shadoff hasn’t finished better than 25th this year.
“This year hasn’t been the greatest for me,” said Ewart Shadoff, now in her 11th year on Tour. “Been working on a lot of breathing just to settle me down.”
She’s been working hard with mental coach Seth Pepper to calm her mind on the course and set a routine to keep her game in balance.
Ewart Shadoff saw a glimmer of daylight last week, shooting a second-round 69 at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. And in today’s first round on the Bay Course at Seaview Golf Club, it all came together. Ewart Shadoff carded four birdies and an eagle to leap to the top of the leaderboard at -6. Her 65 is the lowest round of her 10 ShopRite appearances. This marks her first 18-hole lead since the 2020 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
“Just staying in my routine today was really important. I did that,” she said with a clearly relieved smile on her face. “I have to give myself a pat on the back for doing that today. I stuck to the process and it paid off.”
Beyond the mental aspect of her game, Ewart Shadoff has also been tinkering with her play on the greens. Just today, she switched from left-hand low to what she termed the Tommy Fleetwood Claw pencil grip. “It’s just helping me release the putt a lot better, and it’s given me a lot more consistency with that 6-feet range,” she said.
Numbers show that the change quickly benefitted Ewart Shadoff. She needed just 28 putts on Friday, a significant improvement on her season average of 32.2.