'I had a 30-inch TV on the floor – the first thing I did was treat myself'
Two years on from her promotion from the Symetra Tour, on which she won once, Brittany Altomare has progressed into the world’s top 40 and, although she’s yet to get over the line, she did come achingly close to breaking her major duck at the 2017 Evian Championship, where she lost to Anna Nordqvist in a play-off.
Not that you’ll hear her complaining. The $339,625 cheque in France makes up more than a quarter of her career earnings to date.
So what did she spend her biggest pay day so far in her flourishing career? As we found out, it’s all about the little things in life…
What did you take from the runner-up finish at the Evian?
Before then I would get myself into a position where I was not necessarily in contention on the first couple of days, but I would have a couple good rounds and kind of be in the mix to get a top 5 or top 10 and then I would fade away at the weekend. It was getting a little frustrating but I think it was more of a comfort thing.
I had a good finish in Portland two weeks before, finishing 3rd, and then I just felt a little bit more comfortable in that position.
To be able to play as well as I did on Sunday at Evian was a confidence booster for me. And the more I can continue to put myself in those positions, the more comfortable I can be and hopefully I can make sure that turns into a win.
How did that result affect your golf?
Last year when I got into the mix, like I did in Arkansas and Shanghai, I felt I was more relaxed and confident and was able to perform better. Obviously they didn’t result in wins, but they did result in good finishes.
Confidence is a big thing for me because I’ve always thought that my game has been there at the next level, but it was about getting myself comfortable in those situations?
Your best finishes in the five majors are T16, T25, T41, T15 and 2nd. What is it about the big events that brings out your best golf?
It’s just different when you step onto the tee box at a major championship. I still can’t describe the feeling of just being on that 1st tee box.
Because they are tougher golf courses, you have to drive it in the fairway, you have to hit a lot of greens, and you have to putt well. You don’t have to bomb it, you just have to be really consistent. That suits my game.
What was the first thing you bought after the Evian?
I had this little 30-inch TV on the floor and when we watched games and stuff we’d be sitting on the floor like kids, but the week after I went and bought a really nice one so that was a real treat.
How has your LPGA Tour journey been for you so far?
It’s been fun. I have had a good last two years and 2019 will be my fourth year on tour.
I’ve enjoyed every second of it and I’ve had a couple of good finishes. I was hoping to maybe finally get a win last year.
I love the travel, meeting new people, all the girls, and obviously the golf has been a lot of fun.
Shall I assume the Solheim Cup is a goal?
It’s a big goal!
I love playing in team events, to represent my country has been a dream of mine ever since I started playing golf. I was on the Junior Ryder Cup team when I was in high school and it was such a cool experience.
I’d love to do it again this year, but I’m going to try and take it tournament by tournament and hopefully by the time we get to September I’m on the team.
Any other goals for 2019?
I’d like to finally get a win, that’s another big goal.
In terms of small goals, I’d like to improve my chipping and get a bit better at putting. Also, I want to keep working on my mental game, staying in the present and not thinking about the past or getting too far ahead of myself. When I can do that , I play really well, so the small goals will ultimately help the big goal.
What do you like about your game?
I’ve always been a really good driver of the golf ball, so just consistently hitting fairways and a good amount of greens has helped, and my putting in 2017 was really great.
Putting especially can really save you if you don’t have you’re A-game. It can turn a couple-over round into even-par or a one-under round and then still be in contention. My putting has really kept me going over the last couple of years.
Who do you like playing alongside on tour?
A lot of the girls have been so welcoming and I have had a lot of good advice from them when it comes to travelling and where to stay, things like that. It’s really helped.
Playing with the veterans like Angela Stanford and Christie Kerr, knowing that they’ve been up there for 18-plus years, and it’s really cool to see them still competing and playing so well.
I’d really like to know their secret to how they’ve been out there so long. That has been an inspiration for me.
What is it that you like about the travelling?
I like experiencing different cultures. Even in my off-season I’ve done some travelling, like this year we went to Paris. I like to see the world so golf is a great way to do that.
And I love Scotland, its beautiful. I played well [at the Scottish Open] last year. I love links golf, it’s fun and totally different to everything else we play all year long. I’m excited to go back there.
What do you like to do away from golf?
This year was the first time that I have skied in 12 years. We skied a lot growing up as I lived in Massachusetts, where my family still live, and we used to go to Vermont every winter but once I got to college I just stopped skiing. I missed it.
Then I got invited with a bunch of girls to go up to Montana to ski and I said yes because I’ve been wanting to get back up on skis for a long time now. It was a lot of fun and it was nice because I picked it back up straight away – it’s like riding a bike.
I’m also really into country music right now. Every time I jump in the car the country radio station is on, but I do like Beyonce as well – she’s great!