SYLVANIA, Ohio - Turn right out of Highland Meadows Golf Club, meander down Erie Street and there behind the rolling front nine it hangs right above Main Street - Beatriz Recari Drive. It’s been that way for 359 days and will be for at least another six more. Before Recari took the placard overhanging the road jettisoning downtown Sylvania a year ago, it read So Yeon Ryu Drive. It’s pretty simple here: Navigate your way around 72 holes the best for a week and be rewarded for a year with the street anointed in your honor.
“It’s obviously a great bonus not only to get this trophy and everything that comes along, but to get your own street for a year, that’s pretty special,” Recari said. “I think Marathon and all the sponsors, O-I, they do an amazing job and always think of the detail, like the street. It’s the only tournament that does that.”
If Recari has her way, city officials will only need to bother changing the small font that says “2013 champion” beneath it. But it’s 2013 she’s hoping to revert back to – a season that saw her finish with two wins and over a million dollars in tournament earnings.
But golf comes with peaks and valleys – sometimes more often valleys – and she’s seen her fair share of those this year. Only six times she’s made the cut this season, and her best finish of the season was last week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open with a tie for 17th. That’s acceptable for some but not a player who climbed all the way to an 8th place finish on the money list a year ago.
“It’s just a matter of injuries and compensations,” Recari said of low back and hip problems that plagued her start.
She’s turned the corner, though, with the injury woes and thinks she saw the turning point last week at the British. There was an uncharacteristic 79 on the final day but no one played well on Sunday in those conditions, and the second-round 67 was only one shot short of the best round seen all week at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.
“Like I said, I feel good. I had a little bit of a slow start first half of the year, but I feel like everything is coming along. Working on things that feel good for me,” she said. “I’m healthy and fit. I had a very good performance last week and very happy with my practicing.”
Good vibrations emanate from streets like the one with her namesake and communities that direct this much passion and excitement to women’s golf. Returning to the site of a victory can only inspire confidence and Recari thinks this could be the tipping point for her season. It’s hard to think of the year’s disappointments when everywhere around here are the moments to lean on, putts like the one on 16 from a year ago – a 30-foot bomb that she dropped in to maintain her one-shot lead after Paula Creamer had dropped in her approach to two feet.
“It’s only good, positive feelings, you know. I come back and everybody – it’s kind of déjà vu. Everybody is so nice to me. I’m here, and then everything that comes to mind is all the great memories from last year,” she said. “Really happy to be back, and I’m playing some good golf.”
She’s just hoping it is good enough golf to allow her name to continue to hang over Main Street – also known as her street - until she’s back next year.