It was a day for Maude-Aimee Leblanc. In the opening round, the 33-year-old didn’t make a par until her 11th hole, carding eight birdies and two bogeys in a 10-hole stretch. She took a short ride on the par train until the last three where she notched a birdie, a double and a bogey to post a 4-under 68 on Thursday.
“I don't think that ever happened to me before,” said the Canadian who had 29 putts and hit 16 of 18 greens in round one. “I was hitting good shots. Had a couple three-putts, those were the bogeys. But just giving myself chances. The shorter putts are the tougher ones because it's Poa. I know it's the same for everyone. I just got to roll with it and stay confident. Gives me really good confidence. I have to keep doing what I'm doing and try not to put too much pressure on myself. Easier said than done.”
While her ball-striking was to credit for her impressive first-round play, Leblanc actually had some unusual preparation that proved particularly useful to her at Aviara Golf Club. Leblanc took time off after the LPGA Tour’s Florida swing and went back to Canada to visit family and friends. Because of the weather at home, she practiced using a simulator, virtually teeing it up at Aviara to prep for the week in Carlsbad, and so far, that untraditional method is paying off.
“It felt like a second off-season actually, so I did take a lot time off. Went to Canada for three weeks and practiced on simulators up there. Funny enough, in the simulators they had Aviara Country Club so I played it like ten times when I was up there,” Leblanc explained. “I had never done it before and it just so happened that this course was on the simulator. So I thought might as well play it and just try to get comfortable with it. I feel like it did help, funny enough. Might just be in my head. I don't know.”