Munoz passes first test in return from hand surgery

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DALY CITY, Calif. – Azahara Munoz passed the first test in her return from hand surgery by just making the cut this week at the Swinging Skirts Classic, but she found herself wanting more.

Playing her first event since having a benign tumor surgically removed from the base of the thumb in the palm of her left hand on March 16, Munoz closed with a 1-under-par 71 Sunday at Lake Merced Golf Club. She was tied for 34th when she finished.

“I’m in some pain, and I know I’ll be in pain for a little while, but my doctor said that’s normal,” Munoz said.

After making the cut Friday, Munoz was concerned about swelling in her hand, but she said her doctor reassured her it was part of the recovery. Munoz made her first start just a week after picking up a club to hit limited full shots. She’s still very limited in her practice.

“A lot of people have been saying maybe I came back too early, and maybe I did, but it was nice to be back out here again in competition,” Munoz said. “Obviously, I was a little rusty, and this is not an easy course to come back on. But I know I should be pleased. I made the cut. I’ve seen a lot of good things. My short game was good, my long game was so-so, but I’ll get better. It’s only going to get better from here.”

Munoz, ranked No. 17 in the Rolex world rankings, is expected to be a prominent figure in Europe’s plans for the Solheim Cup in Germany Sept. 18-20. Munoz is scheduled to play again next week at the Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout.