I prepared well for this week's event, and I was ready to handle the tough conditions. I went out confidently on Thursday, and I really played well. I didn't convert on a few good birdie opportunities early in my round, but I was hitting a lot of quality shots and feeling very good. I hit a poor shot into the par-four eighth hole, and many factors came together to turn it into a particularly poor result. I pulled a seven iron out of the rough and under typical conditions, it would have settled just left of the green and left a reasonable up-and-down for par. Instead of that, it hit a burned-out patch of rough left of the green, bounded as if it hit concrete, and ended up forty yards long and left of the green across the club's driveway. It was a poor shot, and I paid for it with a double bogey. Still, I continued to play confidently, and I got things going on the back nine. After making the turn at three over par, I had a chance to get it back to even on the par-five 18th, but had to settle for a par after a poor second shot left of the green. I left my first round pleased with how I was playing and knowing that I was ready to shoot a good score.
On Friday I began on the back nine, and again, I just had trouble getting anything going. In conditions that were windier and even firmer than the first day, I hit a lot of greens in regulation, but couldn't capitalize with any early birdies. I made my worst swing of the tournament on the 14th tee where I pull-hooked my drive into water left of the fairway, but I battled hard from there to save a bogey. I failed to birdie the reachable par-five 16th and 18th holes, but did make a nice birdie on the 17th, so I made the turn at even par and felt ready to play great on the front nine. I parred the first hole and then stepped to the tee of the par-five second hole. The wind was hard into me and off my right on the dogleg-right hole, so my plan was to hit a low, running fade that shaped with the fairway. I felt like I made a good swing but looked up in amazement to see my ball curving slightly to the left. It landed in the fairway, but bounced and ran some 80 yards through the left rough into the thick tree line left of the fairway. I still don't know why that ball was curving left. I was so committed to hitting a low fade into the wind, and I felt like I executed it well, but nonetheless, it ended up in trouble left, and despite my best intentions from there, I made a double bogey. I still knew I was playing well, and I stayed positive and committed to my plan. I gave myself great birdie putts on each of the next three holes but couldn't convert any of them. I arrived to the tee of the par-four sixth hole knowing I needed to keep giving myself birdie opportunities, and I was determined to do just that. On the sixth, there is a pond through the fairway, but the fairway doesn't run out until 345 yards off the tee down the middle. As a testament to how firm things are, I decided to hit three wood because driver could have reached the water. I smoked a three wood down the left center of the fairway, picked up my tee, and walked over to my bag. I wasn't even watching my shot, and I heard Hunter Mahan, my playing partner, telling my ball to slow down. I didn't know what he was talking about, but he was right. My three wood went some 350 yards through the fairway and into the pond. That was unfathomable to me. I'm still proud of that tee shot. I stayed positive and tried to have a great plan for my next shot, but after dropping, I mishit my wedge a tiny bit and ended up making another double bogey. I never quit trying, and in fact I hit a few really good shots over my final three holes, but I played much too aggressively for the tough conditions and made another sloppy double bogey on the eighth and finished with a bogey.
I believe the 79 I posted was my highest score on on the PGA Tour, but that certainly doesn't define the way I feel about my performance. When I made the turn on Friday, I honestly thought I was going to have a chance to win the tournament by Sunday. I was driving the ball well and swinging confidently, and I felt some swagger coming back with my putter. It is hard to believe that nine holes later I was saddled with a missed cut and the highest score of my PGA Tour career. I'm not going to remember it that way, though. Even in those closing nine holes that went so awry, I still executed most of my shots exactly as I wanted to. I know it is cliche to say this, but I am so close to getting the results turned around. I'm sad to have this weekend off, but I'm excited by what is happening in my game. Good things are coming, and I believe they are coming soon.
I get to play in my first major championship next week, and I honestly feel like I'm ready for it. It's just another tournament, and my game is ready for that. I'm excited!
Thank you for following me and for all the support. I know it hasn't been the most fun over the past six months, but I'm feeling encouraged and confident. Keep it here to enjoy the journey with me!