Marina Alex knew it would be tough to play in her home state of New Jersey, but handled the pressure well and finished T-11, the low American in this year's U.S. Women’s Open Conducted by the USGA. It’s her best major finish since 2014 when she finished tied for ninth at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“This is awesome,” said Alex. “I feel like I've improved so much from then until now in terms of my game and just nice to be back close to the lead.
“Being in contention and being under a lot of pressure and just figuring out ways to handle it, ways to just improve on dealing with the environment and how to hit quality shots when under a lot of pressure.
“I don't think anyone can teach you one way or the other. You can ask a lot of players who have been there. It's a learning process. Everyone is different. They handle it how they handle it. It's just me figuring out myself.
The hometown favorite had her entire family and a ton of fans out watching today as she carded a 2-under par, 70.
“Every hole. It's cool. It's awesome,” said Alex. “I'm really glad that the State of New Jersey and the community found it and interesting coming out to watch me and watching women's golf, being out here. I'm really happy.”
The New Jersey native has work to do to continue to improve but is moving in the right direction.
“I'm close,” said Alex, who opened with rounds of 71-70 before posting a 73 on moving day. “Mainly just handling myself under pressure and being able to play how I play the first two rounds [also on] Saturday and Sunday and continuing to keep that up and try and handle the circumstances better each time.”
This week’s low American hopes to make the 2017 Solheim Cup team but knows others are hoping to make the team as well.
“Playing would be fantastic, but if I don't make it I don't make it,” explained Alex. “It's not -- I'm still looking at how I'm performing throughout the year. It's such an improvement from the past few years.
“That's extremely gratifying. If I make the team, that would be spectacular, but if I don't, it is what it is. There's a ton of players playing well right now.”