Hello 2019

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Hi everyone and Happy New Year 2019!

Holidays are now over, and I had a great time celebrating Christmas with friends and family eating lots of good food and spending some quality time together. This off season I have been working on my game but also for the month of December I was working part-time at a Finnish liquor store called Alko. During my month there I learned many things while also making some extra money which will become useful for the upcoming season! As January started, I have had the chance to dedicate all my time for practice, workouts, and recharging batteries before the tournament season kicks into high gear.

My plan for this year is to play on the Symetra Tour, but as of now I am unsure of how many events my status from Q-School will get me in. When the season officially starts, I will know a lot more but right now I am a bit in the dark. The good thing is that there are lots of other tournaments to play in if my status will not get me into many Symetra Tour events. There are minitours, pro-ams, LPGA Monday qualifiers, and so on. These tournaments may not be as competitive or high paying, but they will still help me keep my competitive feel on during the season and prepare me for q-school in the fall.

As of right now, I am still in Finland. I have spent the last two months here, which is actually the longest time I have spent in Finland during the winter since before I started college in 2013. Despite the cold and the darkness, it has been awesome 😊 I have loved being at home close to my friends and family, and to have been able to work with my coach Petteri Nykky, even though all the golf practice is indoors. I do miss being in the sun in Florida, but this has been a nice time to spend in my home country. I am planning on returning back to the States some time in February. My priority right now is to get used to a couple of swing changes I have been working on these past two months. They are small changes, but they will hopefully make a huge difference once I get them right on the golf course under pressure!

I am very excited about where things are headed and even though last years results did not show it, I made big progress not only in my game but also as an athlete. I could not be more excited about 2019. I am ready for it to be filled with positive thoughts, stress free competing, hard work and fun times on the road.

 

Have a great weekend 🙂

– Matilda

P.S. If you are interested in more frequent updates from me, I recommend checking out my Instagram account! You can click the side bar on the right ->, or type in my username m.castren 😊

 

~ It does not matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop

 

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Looking back on 2018

Hi everyone!

It has been a while since I’ve written on the blog and I would like to apologize to you all for not giving you any updates. So… season 2018 has come to an end. Anyone who has been following my results, can probably agree with me that it has been a tough year. There was some good stuff for sure, but all in all I can say I am pretty disappointed.

My first full year as a professional golfer was much tougher than I expected. It took me a long time to get used to the extremely busy schedule of the tour and to adjust to the fact that I needed to break par to make cuts. I created a lot of pressure on myself and refused to accept any of my mistakes.

Quickly I had become my own worst enemy, one that was criticizing my every move and decision I made. This had a snowball effect, which I was battling with the whole season. I felt anxiety and fear on the golf course. Competing, the thing I love the most about golf, had become dreadful for me. I was scared to tee off at a tournament because I feared failure too much.

Now, looking back, I should have taken a step away during the season and start working on these negative thoughts and the anxiety I had. I refused to accept that I should deal with these things and just kept going, mainly because I knew I had to play more tournaments in order to give myself a chance to move up on the rankings. Reality was, I didn’t even give myself a chance to succeed with my mentality and the thoughts I had on my mind.

Although my main thought on this season is disappointment, there were also a few good things that I can point out. It’s not much, but I did finish top20 in one tournament, I tied my career low 65 (-7) and advanced from first stage of LPGA Qualifying. I believe I have the potential to succeed on the Symetra Tour next year, as long as I work on the things I need to improve during the off season.

I finished the season ranked 133rd on the Symetra money list. I barely missed the limited status for next year, and I missed advancing to third stage at Q-school by a few too many shots. My tournament schedule for next year is up in the air. I know I will be able to play in some Symetra events, but it will be limited. I will know more when it gets closer to the season. Altogether, it was a very tough year, both on and off the course. Dealing with some difficult things outside the golf course is not easy while being on the road for pretty much 4 months in a row.

So… this season was definitely a learning experience. I will make sure I work hard this off season on both my physical and mental game. I will prepare myself better for the coming season and possible difficulties it may bring. I am now feeling more and more optimistic about next year! Mentally, I am starting to feel much better and the pain of this year is slowly going away. This is a long journey, and it was only one year amongst many others.

Thank you everyone for your support. It all means so much to me!

Looking forward to 2019!

Matilda

 

LA & SF Coming Up

I am super excited about the coming few weeks, because I will be traveling to California to compete! First, I am playing the IOA Championship, a Symetra event close to Los Angeles area next week, and after that I will be competing in a LPGA Monday qualifier in San Francisco April 23rd.

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Palm Springs, CA

Last time I was in California, I was playing the LPGA Qualifying Stage I in Palm Springs, couple of hours from Los Angeles. Fun fact: the first women’s major of the year is currently being held at the same course, Mission Hills. It was my first time visiting the state and I absolutely loved it! I played great as well, so it is safe to say I have some good memories from there. The IOA Championship will take place in Beaumont, CA at Morongo Valley Golf Club April 6th to 8th. I am traveling there Monday morning to practice a few days ahead of the tournament and then Friday will be go time!

My next trip after the IOA Championship will be to San Francisco, CA. This will be a new city for me, so that is always exciting! I am playing the Monday qualifying for the LPGA Mediheal Championship April 23rd at Lake Merced Golf Club. There will be around 80 players playing, and two best scores after one round will earn spots to the main event. It will be a close race for sure, since the majority of the players participating are either LPGA or Symetra Tour players. I am feeling confident about my game though, so I am ready to play my best and see where it takes me!

The golf course is very close to downtown San Francisco, so hopefully I will have time to explore a bit, too. If anybody has some recommendations of restaurants or cool places to see, leave a comment on this post or message me on my social media!

Happy Easter everyone!

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– Matilda

First Three Tournaments of 2018

It’s March 4th and so far I have competed in three events this year. Symetra Tour, which is my main tour, has not started yet so I have been competing on the Florida Suncoast Tour, which is kind of a mini tour for female professional golfers in Florida area. Even though it is a mini tour, the tournaments can get pretty competitive. Several LPGA and Symetra Tour players compete in them during off season or when the main tours are on a break. There are usually around 45 players competing each week, and the winner makes around $2,000, except for a few bigger events that the winners prize can be up to $10,000. So this is a good preparation tour for bigger events, and a nice stepping stone for players recently turned pro.

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My results from the past three tournaments are: 1st, 17th, and t5th. It was a great experience to start the season with a win. It definitely gave me some confidence on the swing changes that I have been working on during the off season and it also showed that I can compete against LPGA players who have years of experience compared to me. My game was solid during the three-day tournament with scores of 69-68-73, and I also shot my first bogey-free round of 2018 on the second day! So overall it was a great week. Couple weeks after, my second tournament was definitely not one of my best ones, but I guess that’s golf! One week you can be on the top of the leaderboard and the next you can’t hit a fairway.. Just have to keep working hard and trust the process!

Next up is the first Symetra Tour event near Orlando, FL starting March 16th. I am currently #3 on the reserve list but let’s keep our fingers crossed that I get in the event!

Links to my tournament results:
NWGA – LPGA International, Hills Course
NWGA – Preserve at Turnbull Bay
NWGA – Stoneybrook East

 

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Matilda

2018 Season

Hello everyone!

As some people may have noticed through my social media (mainly Instagram), I spent the holidays back home in Finland. I was there for 5 weeks in total, mostly to have the opportunity to work with my coach, Petteri Nykky, and also to spend time with family and friends. I got some great work done in those weeks and felt recharged after being home with my family. As I was leaving, I had a little strange feeling because I was not sure when I am able to come back. In college I always spent Christmas and summer in Finland, but now golf may keep me so busy here that I may not get to go home this summer at all. But, fingers crossed I will have a week or two that I can go and enjoy the beautiful (but not so warm) Finnish summer!

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In regards of golf: it’s now January 27th, 9 days before I start my 2018 season. My last tournament was in November, and I already miss competing so much! I cannot wait to get out there and get this season going. Officially the Symetra Tour season does not start until March, but I decided I want to knock off the rust before so I will play three tournaments of the Florida/East Coast mini tour called The Suncoast Tour. My first event is going to be at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, FL, February 5-7th. This is also a course that hosts LPGA Qualifying Stage III, so playing there now may be useful in the future if I have to go through Q-School again.

As I only earned conditional status on Symetra Tour, I estimate that I’ll get into around 10 events based on last years calendar. But there is also a chance to make my status stronger: making cuts and earning ranking points will help me get into the next events. So a strong start to the season is where I’m aiming at! I have been working hard this winter so I am feeling confident about the upcoming season. Little more than a week until competition but I feel ready!

 

Matilda

 

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog! Here you will find my lates updates (in addition to Instagram, Facebook) on what is going on in my career and life in general. I will try to write a couple of times a month just so you all can keep up with me!

Thanks for following my journey and feel free to check up soon for a post on my upcoming 2018 season!

 

– Matilda