Hit the ball farther.
Lopez averaged just 234 yards off the tee in 2014. Here are the average driving distances of the top six players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings: Lydia Ko (252), Inbee Park (249), Stacy Lewis (248), Hyo Joo Kim (250), Shanshan Feng (252) and Brittany Lincicome (270).
“I sat down with my coach after the season and we started talking about my good rookie season and now how do we make you better,” said Lopez. “One of the things was if I could get more distance, be stronger and be healthy I felt like I could really take advantage of the par-5 holes and the long holes won’t play so long anymore.”
Lopez’s coach recommended Hansen Fitness for Golf. They’ve been a great fit because they work hand-in-hand with her swing instructor, Bob Lasken.
“They’ve been a huge help, I gained about 10 yards off the tee with my driver and a whole club with my irons,” said Lopez, who is now averaging 248 yards per drive through five events. “To be able to have shorter shots, basically a 6-iron and up every time has made a huge difference. I feel like I can more be more aggressive to some pins and some of the par-5 holes are now reachable.”“Hansen Fitness for Golf has helped me build strength and flexibility and they are keeping me really healthy.”
The results speak for themselves. Lopez has four top 5 finishes in five events including a tie for second at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay.
“The ultimate goal is to contend on the LPGA Tour and length was one of the things lacking in my game and my job as a professional is to work on that,” said the consummate professional Lopez. “It has paid off for sure.”
One of the most humble golfers you’ll meet, Lopez downplayed her standing as No. 1 on the money list and is just excited to see improvement.
“It is all about the long term goal and just to be playing good golf and see myself improving is really exciting,” explained Lopez. “In the long run, I just want to be the best golfer I can be.”
In 25 career events on the Symetra Tour, Lopez has nine top 10 finishes (36 percent) and 14 top 20 results (56 percent). The only thing she is missing on the resume is a win.
“I go into every week wanting to win,” said Lopez. “It hasn’t worked out yet, but I do have faith that if I keep improving I will be in contention and to be in contention this many weeks is pretty cool.”
Next up for Lopez and the Symetra Tour is a trip to Greenwood, South Carolina for the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic. Although the purse is bigger ($200,000), Lopez again downplayed the shortsighted significance.
In addition to improving off the tee, Lopez wants to see better play with her long irons and hybrids. She feels confident in her short irons (25th in greens in regulation) and putting (7th on Tour).
“If I can improve on 5-iron, hybrids and up that would help out a lot.”
With her work ethic, determination and grounded approach, Lopez has the right mindset for success on the Symetra Tour and ultimately the LPGA Tour.