U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
Bronte Law's Self-Belief May Be Her Biggest Ally
May 29, 2019 | CHARLESTON, S.C.
By Ron Sirak
There’s an intensity to Bronte Law that’s captivating. Her body shouts in a universal language, passing judgment on the good and the bad. At times, she seems to be in a hurry, especially to win. But in claiming her first LPGA victory last week, Law displayed an impressive ability to slow things down under pressure. And now she comes into the U.S. Women’s Open with her game as hot as the weather at Country Club of Charleston.
Law, 24, has always been in a rush to succeed. That’s what led her from her home in Stockport, England, to college golf at UCLA. That’s what led her to leave school early and join the professional ranks. And that’s what might explain why, after finishing second in the LPGA event in San Francisco, losing on the first playoff hole to a birdie by Sei Young Kim, she won the very next week at Kingsmill in Virginia.
Law comes into Charleston bolstered by those twin efforts and also buoyed by the knowledge that she won despite the fact that the wheels came off on Sunday. Four times midway through the final round, she missed the fairway wide right yet made only one bogey. Despite struggling, she made eight pars and a birdie over the last nine holes on her way to a 67 and the title.
“I just thought about all the things that I worked on with my coaches when I've seen those shots in previous occasions and just really tried to trust what I was doing and kind of attack it a little more,” Law said Wednesday at Charleston.
“On the 12th hole, pulled out 3 wood and just was really aggressive with it, hit probably one of the best 3 woods I'd hit all week, and that kind of gave me the confidence back again that there's no real issues with the swing,” she said. “I just need to trust that feeling.”
Law has always had that combination of insight and intensity. It led her to the Under-16 championship at both the 2011 British Girls and the Scottish Stroke Play. Three times she represented Great Britain & Ireland in the Curtis Cup, on one occasion becoming only the second player to post a perfect 5-0 record
To get better, she decided to play college golf in the United States, winning seven times at UCLA where she was a two-time All-American and captured the 2016 Annika Award as the top female college player. In 2016, she won the European Ladies Amateur and finished that year No. 2 in the world ranking, leading her to drop out of school midway through her senior year to turn pro.
Like her amateur career, her efforts as a pro have been on a steady arc upward. She was No. 93 on the LPGA money list in 2017, her rookie year, and No. 41 in 2018. Now, she is No. 10 as well as No. 24 in the Rolex Rankings.
Law’s intensity has been a double-edged sword she’s had to learn how to sheath. “Sometimes I have to tone it down a bit,” she says. “Otherwise, I know I can get in my own way. I really try to not hype myself up too much out there because I could feel my heart starting to race a little bit.”
That’s what was going on Sunday at Kingsmill, when it seemed as if Law might let her chance at victory slip away.
“She just got fast in everything – her swing, her walk, her decisions,” said an instructor who spoke anonymously because he is not Law’s instructor. “She did a great job of slowing herself down. It’s not often you see a player get it back together during the round.”
Law, who missed the cut in her only previous U.S. Women’s Open in 2017, is not only coming into Charleston off a win and with increased confidence, she is also coming to a course that many feel suits her game.
“I actually think it favors the Europeans,” two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Meg Mallon said about the Country Club of Charleston. “All the Europeans I've talked to love this golf course. It feels like what they played at home. The creativity around the greens, I think, fits into the style of play.”
But for Law, the most important thing is that when she tees it up in Thursday’s first round to try to join Laura Davies in 1987 and Alison Nicholas in 1997 as the only Englishwomen to win the U.S. Women’s Open, it will be just days after her first professional victory.
“Yeah, it does [help] a huge amount,” she said. “The U.S. Open being a major, it's definitely given me a lot of confidence coming into this week. I'm playing some good golf, and I'm really hoping that I can carry it on to this week on a challenging golf course. I'm believing in myself, is the difference.”
Every step of the way, Law has believed in herself. Every step of the way, she has succeeded. This week at the U.S. Women’s Open she could take the biggest step yet of her career.
Ron Sirak is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA digital channels.