Ryann O’Toole took a solo ninth place finish in Portland a week ago. It was only her third top 10 this LPGA season. It was also the first tournament she played in a month.
A week later, after starting with a 7-under 64, O’Toole tops a crowded standings at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
It sounds like the four weeks away from the competition made for a nice reset.
“It just depends on where you are in life. Sometimes you’re just at a point where, ‘Hey, I’ve got some personal stuff going on. I need to take some me time. Need to sort the brain out,” she said.
“It’s hard to come out and perform here, especially when your mind is elsewhere. I was curious what that would be like. I normally don’t like putting off so many tournaments, but sometimes it’s good. I think it’s showing now that it’s important.”
O’Toole is one of five golfers in charge after shooting 7-under rounds, including Megan Khang, Yuka Saso, Lauren Coughlin from early golf and later, Jeongeun Lee5, at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas.
On Friday, O’Toole had six straight birdies on her front nine from #2 and had a total of eight with just one bogey. But after he was round, she spoke as if she could have had more circles on her map.
“I definitely felt like I had a lot left behind,” she said after 18 holes of a 54-hole tournament. “Eight birdies, but I still felt like there was a ton left, especially at the back.”
O’Toole, who hit all 18 greens, was one of the early golfers and she had a few ideas to fill the time on Friday afternoon.
“I’m just going to do a cool down, put in some putts, hit some balls and probably check out Bentonville, have some tea, walk around a bit. There is a lot to do here. Rogers, Arkansas is pretty fun. I like coming here,” she says.
ESPN+ streaming coverage
Friday’s first round of TV coverage was delayed on the band’s Golf Channel, but the network will run the second and final round.
In addition, for a second consecutive week, ESPN+ will have featured groups coverage on both the morning and afternoon waves on all three tournament days.
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek