CLIFTON, New Jersey — Marina Alex arrives at the Cognizant Founders Cup as the event’s hometown hero after a long and exhausting journey.
Alex won the Palos Verdes Championship less than two weeks ago, beating world No. 1 Jin Young Ko — “out of nowhere,” she says — for her second LPGA victory and first since 2018. Now, as the LPGA’s most recent champion, she arrives at Upper Montclair Country Club, about 15 minutes from Wayne, New Jersey, where she grew up.
The 31-year-old stated Tuesday, “It’s been a roller coaster.” “However, it’s been pretty cool… I believe the timing has been a little off, particularly since I’ve just come off a fantastic triumph. It’s been quite some time. Now I’m gearing up for a big home game later this week.”
When the LPGA went on pause in 2020 due to COVID, Alex worked out twice a day but couldn’t improve on her game. Things weren’t the same when the tour began in July 2020. She competed in four events before having to stop because to a back problem.
“I felt amazing,” she recalled, “but I think I put myself in a really vulnerable position because once I started walking and playing a lot of golf, my body was like, ‘Whoa, what are you doing?'”
She planned to return in December, but she experienced a big setback in the process.
“”I tried to force myself to come back for the US Open and [CME Group Tour Championship] that year, which was a mistake,” she admitted. Finally, another doctor told me that I just needed to take another seven weeks off from swinging, to which I replied, “Already?” I’ve taken practically three months off already.'”
“I’m hoping it’s not something I’ll have to deal with in the near future, but I believe that if I take care of myself properly, which I’ve learned over time, it’ll simply be a matter of modifying my routine and habits a little.”
Alex is hoping to add another icing to her comeback narrative in front of friends and family this week. Aside from winning, she just wants to do better than she did the last time she played at Upper Montclair Country Club.
“When I was 12, I competed in a US Junior Qualifier (here) and shot something like 93. That is my only recollection “she exclaimed, laughing “If I’m being honest, I’m aiming to improve on the 93.”