It added 72, undersized at the Creek Course on 13th Beach, and perhaps a few shots should have been better. But Katherine Kirk was lucky enough at the end of her opening round in this Vic Open. Just four years away from the start of a serious career dip that had friends asking if they are considering retiring, the 36-year-old native Queenslander now based in Wichita, Kansas remains a work in progress.
"2015 and 2016 were very rough," she says. "In both years I ended up out of the top 100 of the money list, I missed so many cuts from a shot, and that started to hit me, and my former coach – with whom I had worked since 2012 – could see that. technically the wrong way and he recognized that He thought my current coach, Dana Dahlquist, was for me
"It took me a year to work hard before the results improved, I had a lot of technical problems, I just could not keep the ball in the game before, and that carried me in. I was hard at work and did not get anywhere, so I had to change My husband was very helpful, he knew I was not ready to stop, and that, combined with finding Dana, helped me turn the corner. "
Earlier, Kirk's swing contained what she called, "too much right-side bend." That forced her to fold her hands through impact, which was good on days when the timing was right. Not as good as it was not. In her darkest days Kirk qualified for less than half of the 38 starts she made in 2015-16 for the weekend.
"I was very inconsistent," she confirms. "My angle of attack in the ball varied too much and in my turn I did not fall on solid strokes, my misses were very broad, and both ways, I'm literally trying to get low and cut them right now, that's the opposite of the high, crochet hook that I previously fought for, I had to exaggerate those opposite moves to make the changes I made, I am just like everyone in the sense that I never go to old bad habits under pressure. "
Kirk's short game has also improved a lot.
"In 2012 I almost had the tricks with my chipping", she reveals. "Technically, I was not so good, so the contact between club and ball became a problem, and then it was in my head, and I worked hard to make it all better."
The signs are also good, at least on the evidence of Kirk's play at the Creek Course on 13th Beach. Three four on par-5s and two fives on par-4s were her only deviations from control figures. It was a solid performance that had nothing to do with the problems and conflicts that have best been forgotten in the years now.
"I am still working on progress," says the triple LPGA champion. "My ball-stroke is pretty good, but there's room for improvement, and I can never spend enough time on my short game, I still believe that my best golf is for me." The things I work on will only but to make it more consistent, when that happens I record a number of top-tiths each year instead of just one or two.
"I'm also a bit grimmer on the course, I was a bit of a hot-head until I got married, sometimes I got the upper hand, I'm calmer and more experienced now, I see some rookies that make the same mistakes as me. But I am mature enough that I can now use my experience to my advantage. "