Ryann O’Toole had a solo ninth-place finish in Portland a week ago. It was just her third top 10 of her this LPGA season. It was also the first tournament she played in a month.
A week later, after opening with a 7-under 64, O’Toole sits tied atop a crowded leaderboard at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
It sounds like the four weeks away from competition made for a nice reset.
“It just depends on where you are in life. Sometimes you’re just at a point where, ‘Hey, I got some personal stuff going on. I need to take some time. Need to sort the brain out,’” she said.
“It’s hard to come out here and perform, especially if your mind is elsewhere. I was curious how that was going to be. I don’t like to usually take that many tournaments off, but sometimes it’s good. I guess it is showing itself now that it’s important.”
O’Toole is among five golfers tied for the lead after shooting 7-under rounds, including Megan Khang, Yuka Saso, Lauren Coughlin from the early wave and later, Jeongeun Lee5, at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas.
On Friday, O’Toole had six straight birdies on her front nine starting at No. 2 and had eight in all with just one bogey. Yet, after he round, she talked like she could’ve had more circles on her card.
“I definitely felt like I left a lot out there still,” she said after 18 holes of a 54-hole tournament. “Eight birdies, but I still felt like there was a ton left out there, especially on the back side.”
O’Toole, who hit all 18 greens, was among those in the early wave and she had a few ideas on how to fill the time Friday afternoon.
“Just going to do a cool-down practice, couple putts, hit some balls, and probably go check out Bentonville, get a tea somewhere, walk around. There is a lot to do here. Rogers, Arkansas is pretty fun. I do like coming here,” she said.
ESPN+ streaming coverage
Friday’s first round of TV coverage was tape-delayed on Golf Channel but the network will carry the second and final rounds.
In addition, for a second straight week, ESPN+ will have a “featured groups” coverage during both the morning and afternoon waves on all three tournament days.
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek