On most any other beautiful Tuesday in San Diego, Maria Hernandez would’ve probably been a fixture on the course or the range at Maderas Golf Club.
This Tuesday, however, she took her talents north to prepare for the LPGA’s Kia Classic at Aviara Golf Club.
This is Hernandez’ fourth Kia Classic appearance and second time playing Aviara. Her career and perseverance over illness and injury were captured quite nicely in Tod Leonard’s Union-Tribune piece:
So we chose to quiz the Spaniard Hernandez more on her tournament preparation, her love of Maderas and her relationship with her coach, Chris Mayson, whom she credits greatly for her evolution as a player.
Q. What do you like about Aviara?
A. It’s a good course. Big greens. The course conditions are always great. The rough is high, so you want to be in the fairway.
Q. How do you assess your game right now?
A. I had a great practice session today. My game is getting better. I had a good start in Phoenix (the last tournament) but didn’t play that well the second and third round. I’m playing great, but my scores aren’t showing it right now. Everything else is pretty good.
Q. What are you and Chris working on right now?
A. Mostly making my swing more consistent. For years, he’s been making swing changes to do that. As I’ve become more consistent, we’ve focused more on putting and short game and just playing freely.
Q. How many years have you worked with Chris? How did you two meet?
A. This is my fourth year. I went to Purdue and so did he. We started talked about it and then decided to work together after my first year on tour. My previous coach was in Spain and I needed someone who was able to support me more often.
I love working with him. He’s such a great teacher and communicator. He’s supported me so much through everything. And he knows so much about golf.
He’s the best person I’ve ever been around, not just coach.
He’s been a great coach for me. He’s rebuilt my entire swing. He’s done a great job with me. I can’t imagine being with anyone else.
Q. How do you like practicing down at Maderas? How does it prepare you for Aviara?
A. It’s a great golf course. They treat me unbelievable. The conditions are always good. It’s a great course to practice on because it’s tough. The greens aren’t as big as here, but they are still very good.
It feels like home for me there. They treat me great.
Whenever I’m in San Diego, I’m always there.
Q. Do you have a favorite hole or memory from playing the course?
A. I made an eagle on No. 14, the par 5. I remember the flag was in the way back. I holed out from the fairway. That was a great feeling. I didn’t even know it went it until someone told me. I didn’t see it. I just found out in the hole.
Q. Do you walk Maderas?
A. No, no. (Laughing). They let me ride the cart, and I don’t doubt them.
Q. What’s are your goal for the Kia?
A. I’d like to have a great week. I just want to control what I can control and hopefully it adds up. With the weather issues we’ve had recently, it’s great to have beautiful weather. I’m looking forward to a week of 18 holes a day and no delays.