Thomson working hard to put pieces together

Dan Falloon

Local golfer Christin Thomson got off to a bit of a late start to the 2010 season, but she’s hoping the time away from tournaments has served her well.
But even though she spent much of the winter in West Palm Beach, Fla., Thomson wasn’t occupied with lounging by the pool.
Instead, she turned to Pam Cunningham, her former college coach from New York City’s St. John’s University, to help improve her all-around game, especially her swing.
“We were basically, to be honest, starting from square one,” Thomson admitted.
“We went back to fundamentals.
“I didn’t play any tournaments all winter,” she noted. “I just worked on some changes and I’m actually really pleased with how things are going right now.”
Thomson has competed twice so far this year, most recently tying for 56th at the 2010 HealthONE Colorado Women’s Open in Denver at the beginning of June.
She struggled in her first round, bogeying seven holes and double-bogeying two while birdieing just one en route to an 82.
Things started to come together in the second round, however, as Thomson made three birdies against five bogeys to card a 74.
She didn’t see the third day of competition, though, missing the cut by two strokes.
“We’re still trying to put everything together on the golf course,” Thomson explained.
“It had been somewhere between seven and eight months since I’d played a tournament,” she stressed.
“I think that showed the first day.”
Thomson recalled that her drives were flying, but ran into problems with her approaches.
“I was really happy with how I hit the ball . . . but I had some trouble on the greens,” she acknowledged.
“I ended up missing the cut by two shots but overall, for my first tournament back, it was good.
“I didn’t miss the cut because of what happened on Day 2,” she reasoned. “I missed the cut because I made too many errors on Day 1.”
Thomson’s only other event this year was held May 17 in White Bear Lake, Mn., which was a one-day qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Open, slated for July 8-11 in Oakmont, Penn.
She recorded an 82 in each round, finishing 15 strokes behind qualifier Martha Nause.
Still, Thomson saw the positives in attending as she mainly went to White Bear Lake to get into the swing of competitive golf again.
“To me, it’s a different format,” she noted. “You go out there and there’s 21 girls and they’re only taking one [golfer].
“You know that you have to play really well.
“I just looked at it as a way to play competitive golf, just to get that under my belt before I went out to Colorado. . . .
“I did that this year just because it was a way to break the ice into competing again,” she remarked.
The way the qualifier played out—with two rounds in one day—was a bit of an eye-opener for Thomson.
“It was a tricky golf course and you play 36 holes, so it’s kind of physical, as well,” she recalled.
“I knew after the first round that I wasn’t really in it, but I was just more focused on my personal goals.”
Thomson spent the bulk of the time in Florida working on her swing, making adjustments so that it “wasn’t going to break down under pressure.”
“It was a very difficult process,” she admitted. “I would do the drills and do the drills, and at the time I’m doing them, I’m not really seeing any progress.
“And then a few months into it, all of a sudden, I was hitting the ball dramatically better than I was last fall.
“We worked mainly on the full swing all winter, and then in the last month-and-a-half, just before I came home, we really started to work on the short game,” she added.
Thomson’s next event is coming up this weekend, when she’s set to compete in the CN Canadian Women’s Tour event in Acton, Ont. from June 27-29.
“I’m excited about it,” she enthused. “I feel like I’m getting my game back to the point where I’m playing consistent, good golf.
“I really missed playing in tournaments, and after I got back from Colorado, I was eager to go and play again.
“I’m at the point where [if] I play more consistently now, it’s going to help me,” she reasoned.
But even in the heat of competition, Thomson plans to stay focused on implementing the off-season adjustments.
“My primary goals are to do those kinds of things,” she explained. “I know that I can’t really abandon them yet.
“I need to keep working on them so they stay there and they’re there for the long-term,” she stressed.
While her fundamentals are on the upswing, Thomson isn’t setting out to make any bold proclamations, although she hopes better results will start to come.
“I do really feel like things are starting to come together,” she noted.
“I don’t really want to put the pressure on myself to say, ‘Hey, I feel like I can go win this tournament,’ but I think if I take care of what I’m supposed to do, I think I’m in a much better position to do that kind of thing.”
If Thomson does win either this week’s tournament, or the tour stop in Gatineau, Que. on July 11-13, she’ll earn an automatic entry into the CN Canadian Women’s Open in Winnipeg from Aug. 23-29.
But if that doesn’t happen, there still is a qualifier on Aug. 23 that Thomson plans to attend.
“That would definitely be a huge thrill to play in that tournament,” she remarked.
“Not only would it be my first LPGA event if I made it, but Winnipeg—I played a lot of golf [there] as a kid growing up, so it would definitely be a treat to play there,” she enthused.