(Reuters) – Golfers are not usually doused in champagne after a first round, but 2012 U.S. Women’s Open champion Choi Na-yeon could be excused for feeling like she deserved to celebrate in Arizona on Thursday.
She d the clubhouse lead after half the field had completed the first round.
“I’m very happy to be back on tour. I was nervous on the first tee.”
Choi did some soul-searching during her long injury-enforced absence with what she described as a disc problem.
Her body was ailing, but so too was her mind after years of single-minded focus on little else but golf.
She had developed a reputation for being unduly harsh on her caddies, though most likeable off the course.
“I couldn’t do anything beside golf, only golf, only golf; like 100 percent focused on golf. I think that’s why I got a little bit burned out.”
“I didn’t think about golf. I didn’t set alarm every day. I just woke up whenever I wanted and I just eat whatever I wanted.”
But rather than grinding on the range, Choi just tried to enjoy herself with friends.
“I just like to play more fun and that’s how I did today.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)