Maria adopts an optimistic approach

DUBAI - Maria Verchenova put her second-place showing on day one of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters down to an affirmative mindset following a campaign plagued by injuries.

By Alex Leach

Published: Fri 10 Dec 2010, 1:03 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:08 AM

The Russian, 24, needs to finish in the top 20 of the season-ending European Tour event on the Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis course to retain her card or she’ll drop down into qualifying school at La Manga in Spain next week.

But, on the back of a calendar year that has seen Verchenova hit by back and wrist injuries, as well as illness, she is understandably adopting an optimistic approach having been granted an invitation to play by organisers ‘golf in DUBAi’. “It’s one of those weeks where I’ve got to stay positive,” the Moscow-born golfer said. “I haven’t had a good season, but I’m coming back, thinking positive and working with a new coach, so it’s all very good at the moment.

“It’s all about how I’m thinking and how I’m approaching the game. It’s not just been on Wednesday either. It’s been over the last two months. I’ve been playing quite well and had good results and weeks.”

That reversal in form and fortune was in evidence on the fairways and greens, where Verchenova benefited from biding her time and waiting for the right moments to cash in those birdie opportunities.

“For the first 10 holes, I was having pars and pars and I had chances for birdies, but I didn’t make them,” she explained.

“It was just a case of staying patient and my caddie was really calming me down as I really wanted to have a birdie. However, he said: ‘Don’t worry, it’ll come’ and I started making some.”

This four-under performance couldn’t have come at a better time for Verchenova either, given her seemingly perilous position in the rankings.

She isn’t dwelling on that though, with her focus solely on producing the goods here and assessing the ramifications afterwards.

“I’ve got to get Top 20 to keep my card or I’ve got to go back to qualifying school,” Verchenova conceded.

“But, I’m not thinking about that – I’m just playing. It’s just about going forward, playing a good game and if it’s going in, it’s going in, and if it’s not going in, it’s not going in. That’s all.”

Verchenova can – if nothing else – tackle the next 54 holes confident in the knowledge that her body is in sufficiently good shape to withstand the exertion.

More news from Global Sports