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Lila Vu is the women’s world No.1, and for good reason.

The American won two major championships this year, which moved her to the top spot of the Rolex Rankings and she’s stayed there since.

This week, the 26-year-old is in Saudi Arabia for the Aramco Team Series – Riyadh, where she’s a team captain in the 54-hole format.

To see what’s helped her to the top spot of the world rankings, we followed her during her first round at Riyadh Golf Club in the Ladies European Tour event.

Here’s four things we learned…

Tight draws are on repeat

It’s pretty well documented that the American likes to move the ball from right-to-left, but when you see it up close, it’s a sight to behold.

Vu’s draw looks effortless, thanks to her low hands, and a swing that gets nice and shallow on the way to impact. Others might need to tweak their swing to get that movement, but it’s no issue for the Solheim Cup player.

That reliable shape allows her to be aggressive on the course, and make plenty birdies.

  • What we can learn

Being able to shape the ball both ways is great, but if you successfully hit a draw or a fade with some consistency, you’re going to be much more reliable.

Even on holes that should suit a fade, Vu hits her draw, and makes it work. Amateurs should try and do the same.

Par-5s are no problem

It’s nothing unusual for pros to bookmark par-5s as potential birdie chances, but for Vu, they’re almost a given.

This year her scoring average on par-5s is 4.6, ranking seventh on the LPGA Tour.

That prowess on the longest holes was on show at Riyadh’s fifth hole. It’s a dog-leg par-5 where water guards the front and right of the green, and for most of the field, the sensible play is to the left of the hole.

After a perfect drive, the world No.1 took dead aim at the pin and hit her Callaway Apex Utility over the aqua, to around 20 feet from the hole. Easy birdie. When you can pick up shots as easy as that, the game becomes much easier.

  • What we can learn

There’s a time to be aggressive and there’s a time to be conservative on the golf course. While this situation, shown below, might be one where most should play conservative, Vu knows she can take on the green.

Find out where your limits are and, if the situation allows for it, always try and take the aggressive play.

She trusts her equipment

It might not be what equipment brands want us to tell you, but Vu is quite happy using gear that isn’t the latest model.

In the top of the bag, under her pink headcover, she’s got the original TaylorMade Stealth. Then, it’s her trusty Callaway Utility fairway woods, then she has the Srixon ZX7 Mk2 irons from 5-wedge.

She’s also got Vokey wedges, with a classic shaped Scotty Cameron GoLo 5 putter, with a pink grip. If you haven’t noticed, Lilia likes her pink accessories.

  • What we can learn

‘Tools not jewels’ is a phrase we hear about golf clubs, and it’s true. Although it’s nice to have the latest clubs in the bag, if they’re not the ones that perform best for you, go for something older.

Also, not everyone needs to have brand loyalty. Vu doesn’t have an equipment contract, so she’s free to put in play whatever she likes. There’s no reason we can’t all do the same.

Things get methodical on the greens

Vu is an AimPoint Express user, and it certainly seems to help. On the holes that we followed her, she two-putted for birdie on the fifth and then holed long birdie putts on the sixth and seventh.

Lilia Vu putting

The American straddles the line of all of her putts to get a feel for the slope, while her caddie, Cole Pensanti, reads the green from the side of her player’s ball.

It’s a methodical system, but it’s far from slow. In fact, Vu is notably a quick player and doesn’t hang around on the course, which is certainly refreshing.

  • What we can learn

AimPoint Express isn’t for everyone, but it’s becoming a more common sight on the greens at professional events. If you’re struggling to read your putts, it could be worth a shot.

Even if the slope-reading system isn’t for you, Vu teaches us how important it is to have a repeatable and consistent routine on the greens. The last thing you want to do is change things up when it goes wrong during a round.

In the end, Vu finished with a 68, a solid total, but a full seven shots behind Alison Lee, who shot a stunning round of 61, to sit 11-under-par.

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Lewis Fraser As bunkered’s Performance Editor, Lewis oversees the content that’s designed to make you a better player. From the latest gear to tuition, nutrition, strategy and more, he’s the man. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lewis joined bunkered in 2021. Formerly a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Links, he is a member of Bathgate Golf Club where he plays off four.

Performance Editor

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