Olivia Mehaffey took a big step towards putting her early season struggles firmly in the rearview mirror as she fired an eight-under 64 in the opening round of the LET’s Amundi German Masters at Berlin’s Golf and Country Club Seddiner See.
Playing in one of the first groups on course, Mehaffey took full advantage of the prime scoring conditions as she traded ten birdies with two bogeys en route to her 64.
A birdie a the tenth – her first – was the ideal start and she’d par the next two before catching fire with birdies on the par-5 13th and 16th holes sandwiching two more birdies on the par-4 14th and 15th as she’d get to -5 through seven. Back-to-back bogeys would follow, however, and she’d make the turn at -3.
Unwilling to allow the dropped shots to dampen her spirits, she’d respond with a birdie-4 at the first, and add three more in succession at the par-4 fourth, par-3 fifth and par-5 sixth, before adding one final birdie at the par-4 eighth to reach the clubhouse at -8 and in sole possession of the lead.
“The course is quite linksy,” the Arizona State graduate said afterwards, “so it reminds me a little bit of home. It’s quite windy, so it’s very important to pick smart areas to approach from and choose where you want to hit it on the green to allow it to run out. You’ve got to be smart off the tee as well.
“I feel like I didn’t do too much wrong today and I held quite a lot of putts as well so that always helps make a lot of birdies. Gave myself a lot of chances, so did a good job of that today.
“Made back-to-back bogeys at the turn, but then I had 40-yards in [on the first] and my caddie told me that if I got up and down in two for birdie then he’d buy me a smoothie so that was a bit of an added incentive and it really helped me calm down again. I’ve been doing a lot of work on the mental side, that’s helped a lot, playing three hole games which helps me stay in the present.
“It’s been tough but I feel really lucky to have great sponsors who’ve stuck by my side through everything and obviously a great team, really great coach and sports psychologist and this is the first week with a new caddie on the bag so it’s been really nice to have them continue to believe in me and be by my side when things have been pretty tough.
“It’s great to shoot a low number and it gives you confidence that the things you’re doing are working and the hard work is paying off, so that’s nice and hopefully the confidence continues to grow throughout the season.”
The round sees Mehaffey take a one-stroke lead over Indian amateur Avani Prashanth who carded an incredible albatross at the par-5 13th, and Sweden’s Johanna Gustavson is one further back at -6.