In the midst of classic rainy and windy Northern Ireland weather, 2020 LPGA rookie Jillian Hollis found some magic in her game with a 3 under start at the ISPS Handa World Invitational.
“I feel like I've finally found something that's been working and just sticking to that,” Hollis said. “I've been hitting it great the past couple of tournaments, just not putting the scores together.”
Before the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, Hollis had only made one cut all year - the Lotte Championship where she finished T-69.
“It's just been tough," she said. "I got into a really bad habit a year and a half ago with my swing and just kind of been trying to get out of it.”
Despite her constant setbacks, Hollis remained confident that her game would eventually click. She teamed up with her best friend Lauren Stephenson at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational and the pair finished T-12, which is Hollis’ best finish in an LPGA event.
“I shot under par at Dow," Hollis, who hasn’t shot an under-par round for five weeks until then, said. "That definitely felt good. You just have to trust that you know how to shoot under par and you've got to remember those good rounds.”
After cheering on Stephenson during the Amundi Evian Championship - who finished 10 under and placed T-12 - Hollis traveled overseas to Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Club in Northern Ireland. The ISPS Handa World Invitational is the first tri-sanctioned event, bringing together men and women from the European Tour, the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour. They will compete on the same golf courses - Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Club for equal prize funds of $1.175 million.
Hollis played five holes during her practice round before the rain deemed Galgorm Castle unplayable, but that didn’t stop her from shooting 3-under 70.
“It's kind of nice not hitting shots in the practice round,” Hollis said. “I don't feel like I'm working on anything, I'm just like, this is where I'm going to hit it.”
After a par on the first hole followed by a birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey, Hollis went bogey-free on the back-nine with a special birdie on the par-5 18.
“It was a medium-range putt and I wasn't really making those," Hollis said. "So to have that and then have people watching obviously was pretty cool.”