Maja Stark took three days off during the offseason, and she spent those days counting down the minutes until she could get back out there.
“I was waiting,” he said. “I was like, can I go now? Can I go to the course now?”
Entering the final round of the Hilton Grand Tournament of Champions five shots behind leader Brooke Henderson, Stark broke through on the LPGA with a win last season at the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland.
The 23-year-old Swede reports that she has been loving golf more than ever lately. So much so that she stopped throwing sticks.
“I told my caddy, ‘I love this day,’” Stark said after the second round. “He says, yeah, I mean, he said he has to call my mom, he has to call my mom and ask her what happened to Maja. She’s not throwing sticks. She’s being kind of funny. Not too angry.
“Yeah, I don’t know what happened. I dont know.”
When asked about the last time he threw a stick, Stark said the season-ending CME Group Tour championship.
“First, a 60-degree (wedge) and the next hole, I shot a hybrid,” he said.
Maja Stark of Sweden poses for a photo with the trophy after winning the Women’s ISPS Handa World Invitational on day four of the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics at Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Clubs on August 14, 2022 in Co Antrim, Ireland from North . (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Stark’s ISPS win came a week after the heartbreak at Muirfield when she closed with a 79 at the AIG Women’s British Open. On the Monday after Muirfield, Stark said she sat in a restaurant at the golf course in Northern Ireland and cried for two hours on the phone with her mental coach.
“I mean, I cried so much that my ribs locked up,” she said, “like they were so tight. I have never cried so much in my life, so that was very interesting. I think it was good because I didn’t have the energy to do my chicken wing that I usually do, I think my technique improved honestly.”
By Sunday, she was in the winner’s circle at the event co-sponsored by LET and LPGA.
Life changed overnight and now she can’t stop smiling.
The story originally appeared on GolfWeek