Lilia Vu returns to action at this week’s Meijer LPGA Classic focused on lower-belly breathing

Lilia Vu is more focused on her breathing this week than her ball-flight. The world No. 2 returns to action at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Belmont, Michigan, her first start since a recurring back injury forced her to withdraw prior to the start of the Chevron Championship in April.

Vu, 26, won four times last year, including two majors, but has been hampered most of 2024 by injury. Wednesday’s pro-am at the Meijer will be her first 18-hole round since taking a near two-month break from the tour.

“Definitely been a process,” said Vu during a pre-tournament press conference. “I kind of had to reevaluate my game and how my body moves. I think that was the most important thing, and it was kind of the best time to kind of work on my stability and compensation. Worked really hard over the past couple weeks getting that ready.”

This marks the 10th edition of the Meijer, which features a $3-million purse and five past champions in the field, including world No. 1 Nelly Korda, two-time winner Brooke Henderson, Leona Maguire, Jennifer Kupcho and Lexi Thompson.

“I think this course requires a different mentality than just about every single week on tour, which is really fun,” said Henderson of Blythefield Country Club.

“You’re chasing birdies right from the start, especially on Sunday. If you want to move up the leaderboard or keep your position, then you know that you have to go low.”

Brooke Henderson of Canada holds the winner’s trophy after winning the Meijer LPGA Classic at Blythefield Country Club on June 16, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Vu hasn’t seen much of Blythefield, playing the tournament once, two years ago, when she tied for 12th.

During her time off, Vu didn’t change anything technical about her swing, but she has grown more conscious about the way she sits, stands, lies down and breathes, calling it lower-belly breathing.

“I know my patterns,” she said. “I don’t want to get so technical with it because it’s just going to bore everybody. I escape on my right hip, and so trying to breathe through that hip more. Little stuff like that.”

Vu said her team has been trying to get her to make small adjustments for some time now, but because she was playing so well last year, she was hesitant to do so. This, she said, was the perfect time to get to work.

Before hitting any shots, Vu goes through an activation warmup. Going through that routine and being conscious of how her body feels, she said, is more valuable right now than seeing the ball-flight she wants or the ideal distance.

It’s still a daily process.

“Just because I’ve been kind of living in that compensation for a while, so it adds up,” she said. “Then one day, I’m tight and my body is angry, and it blows up.

“So it’s peeling the layers of the onion and getting more stable overall to help me swing with no pain.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek