Seven ways to knock off your next op­po­nent

Get Up and Stay Up

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Play Your Best -

I

’ll be rep­re­sent­ing Team Europe in my ninth Sol­heim Cup, Aug. 18-20 at Des Moines Golf and Coun­try Club. Team USA has won nine of the 14 pre­vi­ous bat­tles, but I’ve held my own with a record of 16-11-6. There’s some­thing about match play that gets me fired up, and I’ve de­vel­oped a proven strat­egy to com­pete. Got your own big match com­ing up? Re­mem­ber these tips, and you’ll be ready to close out your op­po­nent. —WITH KEELY LEVINS

know your strengths 1

Think about the best parts of your game and how they might give you an edge. Ex­am­ple: If you’re play­ing some­one where your length is an ad­van­tage, use it. Right from the start, pull out driver and send it down the mid­dle.

wear out your op­po­nent 2

My main strat­egy is to be con­sis­tent: hit fair­ways, hit greens. For oth­ers, it could mean avoid­ing dou­ble bo­geys. Stay steady, and your op­po­nent can get frus­trated and start mak­ing mis­takes.

be ready to ad­just 3

Some­times you’re up against some­one who’s play­ing well, and your strat­egy of steady and safe isn’t work­ing. When this hap­pens, find ways to be more ag­gres­sive. Some­times chang­ing strat­egy can swing mo­men­tum your way.

ex­pect your op­po­nent to make every­thing 4

If you’re up by a few holes and feel­ing com­fort­able, snap out of it. As­sume your op­po­nent is go­ing to rally at some point, so keep play­ing your hard­est. All it takes is for you to lose one hole, and the match can turn.

when in doubt, go with the safe shot 5

It’s easy to get ex­cited and try to hit big shots dur­ing match play. But you’re not go­ing to win a match try­ing to play above your skill level. Hero golf is over­rated. It’s bet­ter to make no mis­takes than to risk too much.

don’t ever get ahead of your­self 6

Be­ing up in a match is a great feel­ing, but don’t start cal­cu­lat­ing where it will end if you keep play­ing well. In­stead, fo­cus on the shot you’re stand­ing over, and keep the pres­sure on. Make all your op­po­nents feel they have to play their very best to beat you.

pre­pare for any­thing 7

An­nika Soren­stam says as long as there are holes left, there are op­por­tu­ni­ties—for you and your op­po­nent. That means don’t let your op­po­nent’s lucky break or great shot rat­tle you. Just keep grind­ing like the match is on the line, be­cause it is.

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