Emma Talley brings structured, focused approach to U.S. Women's Open

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Emma Talley brings structured, focused approach to U.S. Women's Open

USGA

Emma Talley brings structured, focused approach to U.S. Women's Open

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CHARLESTON, S.C. – Emma Talley had a come-to-Jesus moment last week in Williamsburg, Va., when she forgot her tee time, yardage book and green book moments before her first round was scheduled to start.

Talley quickly realized that being Miss Congeniality wasn’t winning her any tournaments. In fact, it had caused her to miss cuts. Five already in 2019.

Talley came to the 74th U.S. Women’s Open with a renewed sense of focus and opened with a 1-under 70. As the winner of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Country Club of Charleston, the 25-year-old knew it would be easy to get lost in conversation every day. All the members here adore her.

SCORES: Leaderboard at the U.S. Women’s Open

As a rookie on the LPGA last year, Talley didn’t know too many people. But now, well, she can’t get through a day without talking to 10 people for 20 minutes each.

“Last year I would’ve been here until 5 p.m.,” said Talley on Tuesday just before 1 p.m. She planned to get her grips done and then leave the course.

She had the same problem in high school and college golf. The year Talley won the NCAA Championship, Alabama head coach Mic Potter said she’d done a great job of getting herself organized, writing out a practice plan and getting it done every day.

“The coaches had to tell the girls to stop talking to me,” Talley said.

In high school, she’d put on headphones but didn’t have any music going.

Talley’s new plan: If she wants to spend more time catching up with someone, she invites them to dinner.

So far Talley’s more structured approach is paying off nicely in Charleston, where record heat makes rest even more of a priority.

Talley circled the holes that she needed to birdie on Thursday and got five of the eight. On holes that weren’t circled, she hit to the middle of the green.

Playing alongside former Curtis Cup teammates Mariah Stackhouse and Ally McDonald, Talley hit the opening tee shot in Charleston.

“The fairways, I would say, are still not as firm as they were in August of 2013,” said Talley, “but the greens are really firm and fast. The speed on the greens are probably the toughest part of this to figure out because the grain. If you can figure that out, you’ll shoot well.”

This week Talley is wearing a rubber bracelet with the words “Fight like a Wolfe” in support of Bailey Wolfe, a close friend and the wife of one of her coaches back home in Kentucky who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“My mom had ovarian cancer a year and a half ago as well,” she said, “so this touches home for me.”

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