In 2021, Janie Jackson drove to Carlsbad from Mesa, Ariz., the site of the Epson Tour’s Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic where she finished T29. She made it in around midnight the night before the Monday Qualifier. Without any knowledge of the course but a yardage book borrowed from Tour winner Ryann O’Toole and an early morning tee time, Jackson attempted to qualify for the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol, but fell short after carding a 73. A year later, the 28-year-old is back at Aviara Golf Club a different player and finds herself just five shots back of a bunched leaderboard in a tie for third at -9.
“I feel good. I feel like my game is in a good place,” said Jackson. “Striking the ball much better yesterday and today than did I the first day, which is good. I just sort of freed myself up, didn't think about much. I love the course. I feel like if you plot your way around you can score well out here.”
Jackson is playing in her third event this season. She missed the cut at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio and finished in a tie for 53rd at the LPGA Drive On Championship. The Alabama native said she’s been working on some things in her swing, and was overthinking her actions during her first-round 70. A change in mentality played a part in confidence on Friday and Saturday.
“After the first day I went to the range and I hit four golf balls after my round, and all four were perfect. I said, I didn't even think about anything over those four, so that's just what I'm going to go out and do,” said Jackson. “So I tried to completely free my mind on the golf course, and it worked much better for me the last two days.”
In contention and primed for a career-best finish on the LPGA, Jackson said she’ll keep it simple. “Just play the best golf that I can, put myself in positions where I can have chances at making birdies, and try to stay away from places that aren't going to help me make birdies,” said Jackson. “I can't control what anyone else does. I can only control myself. That's my plan.”