CINCINNATI, OHIO | Frustration isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can be a tool, a kick-in-the-pants to get a player focusing on those things they need to improve to get back on top. Ally Ewing didn’t have to look far to find the source of her frustration. Coming into the Kroger Queen City Championship, the 29-year-old Mississippian, who hadn’t had a top-10 all year, was, statistically speaking, the best ball-striker on the LPGA Tour and one of the best in the game. She also was near the bottom of the ledger with the putter.
Ewing’s greens-in-regulation numbers are eye-popping. But she was 162nd on tour in putting. Not only did she average more than 31 putts a round, a miserable figure for a pro, she barely made half of her putts from 5 to 10 feet. She ranked 125th on the LPGA Tour from that range, at 50.2 percent.
That changed last week in Cincinnati when Ewing employed a new technique that she and her coach began working on before the CP Women’s Open.
“My tempo had gotten off,” Ewing said. “My stroke had gotten really long. So, for me, I've just kind of tried to get it really balanced. That's kind of the key. Really a lot of tempo work. I've used a metronome for years. But Blast Golf helped me kind of see some numbers and some tempo and stuff like that.”
"You know, mentally I was probably in a headspace where I didn't feel comfortable with the flat stick. In Canada, I started feeling more comfortable. Last week in an off week, I felt good about it.”
The drills worked. At Kenwood Country Club, Ewing averaged 27 putts per round and did not have a single day with 30 or more putts.
“I was definitely frustrated (throughout the season),” she said. “I think it's OK to get frustrated at times. But that's when you have to kind of pull it back and remain patient through the frustration.
“A lot of that was just leaning on knowing that I'm still me and all of that that I've been carrying, the weight that I've been carrying with the putter and everything, was just kind of one fraction of getting it together with my coach and figuring out why I was not hitting good putts.
“The second thing was just getting out of your own way. You know, mentally I was probably in a headspace where I didn't feel comfortable with the flat stick. In Canada, I started feeling more comfortable. Last week in an off week, I felt good about it.”
She made five birdies in a row on Sunday at the Kroger, six in total.
“I was seeing lines really well all day, but my speed just wasn't quite there the first few holes,” she said. “I left several putts short in the heart, but finally saw putts go in, and then I hit it really well for those holes that I made five (birdies) in a row.
“Once I saw one go in, the rest – I obviously had to execute the putts – but I just remained really confident after I saw them go in.”