As I made my way to Beaumont, California for the IOA Championship at Morongo Golf Club, memories flooded my mind like a deluge. The second event of the season last year and yet again the same for this year. With a repeat schedule like mine, I’ve found some hidden gems in having a consistent lineup from year to year.

Pulling up to the Morongo Casino, I was hit by a flashback of myself from a year ago. No longer a rookie, but still soaking in the novelty of new places and courses. This time around, I felt more grounded in my routine and had a better understanding of who I was and what I wanted to achieve in the year ahead. As I looked forward to the tournament, my heart was filled with hope and my golf game felt stronger than ever before.

I remember vividly lying in bed one day during the practice days, struck by the breathtaking sight of the snow-capped San Bernardino Mountain Range while the blazing sun bore down outside. How could it be 70 degrees and sunny down here, but snowing up there? My mind slowly drifted to daydreaming of skiing the slopes after a great tournament. Half of my dream came true. I played pretty solid. I remember packing up my bags and heading home feeling proud. It was not because I played my best event ever, but because I had found peace on this quest. My game felt on the precipice of great and my heart was filled with gratitude for the life I was getting to live.

But life has a way of throwing curveballs, and the next tournament saw me battling an injury that lasted the entire season. Now, I return to the IOA Championship with a whole different type of season behind me. Over the past two months, I have been working tirelessly to rebuild my game post-injury, a challenge unlike any I have faced before.

Starting from the basics, I was reminded of my younger self. The girl who fell in love with golf and played for the sheer thrill of it, the one who dreamed of making tomorrow better than today. That little girl who played to make herself proud and to put a smile on the faces of those who supported her.

Reflecting on how much has changed in my life, I realize that the one constant has been my love for golf and the pursuit of better. As Mia Hamm once said, “Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.” And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

Returning to the same place for the second year, I can’t help but marvel at how far I’ve come and yet how close I am to my heart. On the road, amidst all the changes, it’s the true compass that guides us, and I plan to follow it with all my heart.