Gary Gilchrist: Keys to Wegmans LPGA Championship

I’m here this week at the Wegmans LPGA Championship at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, NY, just outside of Rochester.

And let me tell you, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was the US Open.

I’ve been fortunate to coach two of my players to winning the year’s second major here with Shanshan Feng winning last year and Yani Tseng winning in 2011 and 2008.

It took a huge final round by Feng to make history by becoming the first player from China to win on the LPGA Tour with a 5-under 67 as she claimed a two-shot victory at 6 under par last year.

That’s a big ask because Locust Hill offers some difficult conditions, and this week’s field is made up of the 50 players on the 2013 LPGA Official Money List.

This tournament has a great history as the second-longest running event on theLPGA and with a list of some fantastic champions including Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez, Kathy Whitworth, Patty Sheehan and Yani Tseng, who all won this championship at least twice.

Here are my keys to success this week at the 2013 Wegmans LPGA Championship at Locust Hill:

1.     Driving and tee shots

The fairways are tight, and the rough is long and thick here at Locust Hill, making positioning off the tee extremely important this week. Driving it off line here brings bogey into question quickly. It’s going to be really important this week to find the short grass for the best chance at birdies.

2.  Take advantage of short par 4s and short par 5s.

With the par 4s, holes 2, 12 and 16 are all less than 365 yards giving the ladies this week some good looks at birdie with a quality tee shot. The shortest of them is No. 2 at just 337 yards and should rank as one of the easiest this week though it is narrow and lined with large trees. As for the par 5s, No. 8 is just 466 yards and No. 17 is just 478 yards.

There are opportunities there for birdies on these holes but again it all comes back to the tee shot as eagles are definitely possible on these two par 5s.

3.     120 yards and in

The ladies will need to hit some quality shots in this yardage range this week. With the fairways as narrow as they are when the players do have chances with a wedge or short iron in hand, it will be important to hit it inside 20 feet. This will especially be the key on those shorter par 4s and par 5s in order to make birdies out here.