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Lexi Thompson contending among 5 things from 2024 KPMG Women’s PGA

Lexi Thompson contending among 5 things from 2024 KPMG Women’s PGA

Sarah Schmelzel putts on hole eighteen during the second round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

American Sarah Schmelzel vaulted to the top of the board after a 5-under 67, the low round of the week so far. Her aggressive play off the tee paid off handsomely as she recorded six birdies on the day to take the clubhouse lead at 6-under 138. Major champions Jin Young Ko, Lexi Thompson and Hinako Shibuno trail by two.

Schmelzel, 30, grew up playing one of the few tree-lined courses in Phoenix, Moon Valley Country Club. She was there in March 2001 when Annika Sorenstam carded the only 59 in LPGA history. Schmelzel’s parents have been members there since the late ’90s, and one of the guys in the bag room called her father and told him to bring the kids out. Something special was brewing.

“I don’t remember much of it other than the atmosphere,” said Schmelzel, who was pulled out of school. “But from at that point forward, I went out to Moon Valley every year that the Safeway was there and went and watched Annika and followed her around. She’s been so inspiring to my career, really just the way she worked really hard, the way she still works really hard, and the way she carries herself.”

Schmelzel, who is looking for her first LPGA title, had a stretch of four top-8 finishes early in the 2024 season that included a career-best second place at the Blue Bay LPGA in China. 

Since then, it’s been a bit of a drought, with five missed cuts. Schmelzel said swing coach Chris Mayson has been instrumental not only on the technical side of her game, but the mental as well. 

“I was kind of in that perfection frame of mind, like what do I need to do to play well?” said Schemzel of her mindset coming into this week. “He said, you’re going to play well. Relax and it’s going to happen. Believe it.”


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