There was no true summer vacation for Maria Fassi, who was trying to bounce back from a spring knee surgery and subsequently missed a number of cuts on the LPGA tour, working through the process along the way.
But the 23-year-old bomber appears to be back to full strength, as evidenced by her fifth-place showing at the ShopRite LPGA Classic and then another string of solid rounds at this week’s Cognizant Founders Cup in West Caldwell, New Jersey.
After firing a 69 on Saturday — good enough to put her T-6 heading into Sunday’s final round — Fassi told the Golf Channel that she made a significant declaration to her mother.
“I was on the phone with my mom today and I was like, ‘hey, I think I remembered how to play golf,’ ” Fassi said with a wide smile.
Saturday’s back nine was certainly a wild ride. Fassi’s only par came on No. 13 while the rest of the card was certainly colorful.
But in the end, the University of Arkansas product feels she’s making tremendous progress, and she’s happy with playing her way into contention in consecutive events after a rough stretch to start the year.
“It was a tough start (to the season). It was just not the way I like to play the game,” she said. “But I’m very happy with the way that my game is right now. I think we’re playing a lot smarter than I ever have.
“So that’s definitely paying off and I’m very excited to be under par and to be in contention.”
As for the course, Fassi is enamored. Designed by famed architect Donald Ross and opened in 1931, Mountain Ridge had changed over the years, with trees encroaching on playing lines, the greens shrinking and bunkers being altered over the decades through the early 1990s.
“I love this place. I think it’s an unbelievable golf course,” Fassi said. “You’ve got to hit good golf shots to score around here and I’m hitting the ball very good. So I just got to keep doing what I’m doing. We have an amazing game plan. I’ve just got to trust what I’m doing, trust our lines and just keep having fun, keep enjoying the crowds that we’ve had.
“And I think it’s gonna be a good day (Sunday).”