Maia Schechter captured her first Symetra Tour win on Sunday at the 7th annual Four Winds Invitational in South Bend, Ind., at Blackthorn Golf Club. In her third year as a pro, the Chapel Hill, N.C., native and University of North Carolina alumna cracked the top-10 in the Volvik Race for the Card for the first time after the win.
I came into the 2018 Symetra Tour season fully exempt for the year and thinking this would be the season I would continue to improve and move on to the LPGA Tour. I went on to miss the cut in five of the first six events. So, what changed at the Four Winds Invitational in South Bend, Indiana? Well, let me tell you.
I started off the first round at Blackthorn at 3-over par through my first four holes. My initial thought as I was standing on the tee box at No. 5 was, “If I don’t make a cut soon, I may have to go back to Stage I of Qualifying School.” There you play four rounds of golf in the desert heat, upwards of 115 degrees. It’s just as anti-fun as it sounds.
My second thought while standing on the 5th tee was, “I need to make a change.” And so I did. I had mentally hit rock bottom and realized that what I was doing was not helping me be successful, so I changed. I decided from that point forward I was going to be my own best friend on the golf course. No more self-deprecating talk, no more getting frustrated when I didn’t get the result I wanted. If I was going down, I was going down swinging with a smile on my face and the best damn attitude you’d ever seen.
You’re probably thinking, “That’s it? That’s the secret to winning?” And I’m here to tell you, no. That’s just the best way to give yourself a shot at winning. Actually, winning is completely outside of your control. I realized this as I stood on the sidelines, Louise Stahle playing in the final pairing and lining up a putt for birdie on No. 18 to (possibly) force a playoff with me. I realized that as long as I controlled what was controllable, then I had done everything I could. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is very freeing.
So where do I go from here? On to Decatur, Illinois where I will be focusing on my routine and continuing to have a positive attitude. Because that’s all you can do in this crazy game we love so much.