Sunday, December 13, 2009

Getting Excited!

So I'm back in East Tennessee. It's not exactly warm, but warm enough and I've been out the last couple of days and have been having some good practice. I'm feeling good and I'm really excited to keep getting better!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Motivation

I seldom need anything extra to motivate me, but since coming up just short at the second stage of Q-school, I've been content to take a little time off and recharge. The great practice I had last week was enough to get my juices flowing again, but the combination of some cold weather and the uncertainty of my upcoming tournament schedule have weakened my motivation for good practice sessions the past few days. I have been able to get out on the golf course to walk a few holes, but highs in the mid-30's and decent winds have shortened my productivity.

I officially signed up for the Egolf Professional Tour (more commonly called the TarHeel Tour) today. I will try to play a fairly full schedule on the TarHeel tour in 2010. This mini-tour plays 18 events and stays in four states, between Savannah, GA, and Charlottesville, VA. Heading into its fourth year, the TarHeel tour is gaining a reputation as being the mini-tour with the best pay-out and the one that plays the best golf courses. Having officially signed up motivates me. The TarHeel tour is not exactly where I want to be, but I'm going to go out there and be the leading money winner on that Tour next year!

Although that might not happen because I might monday qualify for a Nationwide Tour Event early in the year and play well enough in that to stay on the Nationwide Tour for the year! That is a long shot but a definite possibility!

While the weather is bum, I'm still going to keep getting better. I've been working out and running, so I feel good physically. I'm going to be a little bit patient with the weather as I'll be in Missouri for a few more days and then East Tennessee until after Christmas, but I'm sure I'll be able to get out and practice some. After Christmas, I'll be more serious about finding good practice conditions, and I'll get back into full-length practice sessions.

I'm excited for next year. I think I'm going to make something happen. I know that I have to work and keep getting better so that I'll be ready to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself, but I'm ready and happy to do that!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Great Practice! ...Lousy Weather

I had an awesome practice session on Tuesday!

Bobbo and I spent a couple of hours together working on some stuff on the driving range and around the chipping green. I was hitting it awesome on the range, and I feel like a slight change we made in my chipping is really going to help me. Then I completed a couple of different putting drills with ease and played a few holes. It was a perfect day of practice and has me excited to keep working on it.

Unfortunately, the weather is kind of lousy. A terrible forecast in East Tennessee prompted a quick trip back to the Midwest, but, as one might expect this time of year, Missouri is no bargain weather-wise either. Now I remember why I am searching for a place to live in Florida!

I'm not sure how long I'll stay in Missouri, but I do know that I will probably be in either Missouri or Tennessee through the Christmas holiday, so I'm not going to let a little cold weather keep me from getting better. While I shy away from practicing too much with numb hands and five layers of clothes, I'll find some time to get out and do some practicing, but I'll also be honing my physical skills in the gym and my mental game by reading good books.

I'm excited to keep getting better, and I'm not going to let some winter weather stop me!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Recharged!

I'm ready to get back to work! After a great Thanksgiving with family in Maryland, I'm home in Tennessee and ready to start working on my game again. The five-day holiday from playing and practicing was good for me, and I'm already excited to get back to playing and practicing!

Still no definite plans as to when I'll compete again, but in all likelihood it will be shortly after the new year. I'm going to visit with Bobbo tomorrow to make sure that my practice is on the right track, and then I'll get back to fine-tuning all aspects of my game to make sure that I am ready to go make my break happen in 2010!

I love what I do, and I'm still excited to go get better at it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Regrouping

For the first time in a very long time, I'm taking a few days away from the clubs. I'm in Washington D.C. right now with my sister getting ready to head over to my dad's parents house in Maryland for Thanksgiving. Should be a good time to relax with the family and eat some really good food!

I'm still running and working out this week, but other than a casual round of golf today in D.C., I'll be leaving the clubs in the car. I love to practice and can do it everyday, but I think a few days away from it will be refreshing. I'll get back into it in full force next week.

I'm trying to decide where I'll be doing most of my competing next year now that I know I will not be starting the year with a PGA or Nationwide Tour card. I will likely join a couple of mini-tours, though I will definitely be entering some Monday qualifiers early and often throughout the year. It is not unrealistic to think that I could get into a Nationwide Event and play well enough to keep myself out there for a while. My focus will be on being ready to compete and win every week so that if an opportunity presents itself, I will be ready to take advantage.

I'm going to keep getting better. I'm excited to continue working on my game and getting sharper in all areas. I'm not sure when I'll tee it up in competition again, but I will be the best player I've ever been when that happens!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

BUMMER at Second Stage

A bogey-free final round was certainly what I had in mind as I headed into the final round of the second stage of Q-school. I got that, though I was hoping for a few more birdies than the three I made today. It was a final round 69, though it looks like that will leave me four shots short of advancing to the next stage.

I shot 72, 72, 71, 69 for a four under par total of 284. I'm going to finish tied for 42nd, and it looks like -8 will be tied for 20th, which is the number that advances to the next stage.

I'm definitely bummed right now. I know I am plenty good enough to have advanced this week, so it is frustrating that I won't be going on, but I'm pretty sure that I'll look back on this as a positive experience in a couple of days.

I'm going to keep working. I don't exactly know what I'm going to do from here, but I'll figure out that in the near future. I do know that I'm going to keep getting better!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Stage 2; Round 3

Well, I have my work cut out for me now. I actually felt pretty confident heading into round three, but I just couldn't get anything going and shot a one-under par 71 on a day when scores were pretty low. It looks like eight under par will likely be right around the 20th spot after tomorrow, and I'm tied for 50th at one under.

Bleak? Yes, but it sure will be a sweet feeling if I'm able to pull it off. I know that I can do it. I can shoot a 65 on this golf course without doing anything special if I execute the easy shots well and get a few putts to fall. I'm going to try to go out tomorrow and enjoy the challenge of every shot, and I hope that at the end of the day it totals up to something that is good enough to allow me to advance.

It's been frustrating in a lot of ways this week, but I'm learning a lot and I'm still having a lot of fun. I'm going to keep having fun tomorrow and if I play well, I may just get this done. It's a long shot, but in 19 hours I could have a ticket to the final stage of PGA Tour Q-school. I'm excited!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stage 2; Round 2

I have good news and bad news from round two at the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School. The good news is that the field stayed pretty bunched, and the number is currently still four under as it was after round one. The bad news is that I was unable to move up. I had an up and down round that again ended with an even-par 72, and I held my position in a tie for 57th. Scores where higher in round two, however, and I still have a very realistic chance of advancing.

I hit more good shots than bad today, I just got very little from the good shots and could do nothing to recover from the poor ones. I feel like I'm going to play well tomorrow. I just need to keep hitting good shots, stop hitting poor ones and capitalize on the good ones!! I've done it before and I can do it again. It's crunch time.

I love this, though. This is fun. I'm going to enjoy myself these next two days. Though I'm sure I'll be nervous, I'm going to stay relaxed and have fun kicking this golf course's tail tomorrow and Saturday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stage 2; Round 1

My round one was a story of two nines. I played abysmally on the back nine for some reason, but the front was as solid as I can ever remember playing nine holes. The end result was an even par round of 72, but that is not very good considering that only 10 players in the 77 player shot over par.

I'm currently in a tie for 57th, and we are playing for the top 20 spots to advance to the final stage. The leaderboard is quite bunched right now, though, so a good couple of rounds will easily move me right back to where I would like to be.

I got off to a hot start today with birdies on three of my first four holes. In fact, I didn't really miss a shot on the front nine. I hit every fairway and never even threatened to make a bogey. I looked really sharp. The back nine got a little erratic, but I'm confident that I can settle back down and play the next 54 holes the way I played the front nine today.

I'm still having a blast doing what I love. It's just more fun when I do it well! I'm going to get after it tomorrow!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ready to Go!

I played practice round number two today, and, though I didn't hit it all that well during the round, I feel like I had a very productive day. I know my way around the course and the greens very well now, and I had a great day of practice other than some wayward shots on the course.

I mishit a lot of drives on the course, which is not like me. I worked on alignment and rhythm on the range afterwards, and I feel great about the way I'm hitting it now. A couple of hours on the putting green and at the short game area have me firing on all cylinders and feeling confident.

I tee it up at 9:40 off of number one for the first round, and I can't wait to start hitting good shots and making birdies. I'm going to play well, stay relaxed and have a blast doing what I love this week!

One Practice Round Down

The Mountain View Course at Callaway Gardens is perfect for me. It's not very long, and most of the challenge will be in hitting precise short irons and reading the greens--which are bermuda grass but in great shape.

I feel like I am sharp with my short irons, and I can putt with anyone, so I'm really excited about the way the course sets up for me.

While the tree-lined fairways are pretty generous, you do have to drive the ball fairly straight. The main focus of my practice today is ensuring that I'm sharp with the driver. It has been a little inconsistent lately, but I feel good about the way I'm swinging it.

It is definitely the kind of course where you can make a lot of birdies. I think I'm going to do that this week. I think the course is setting me up for a stage two win!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Georgia

I'm back in the Southeast. I had a really nice weekend of practice home in East Tennessee and now am just north of Atlanta ready to journey the rest of the way to Callaway Gardens tomorrow morning.

My game hasn't been its sharpest the past few practice sessions, but I feel like it is plenty close enough that I'll be more than ready to go on Wednesday when the Second Stage actually begins. I'm going to work hard the next couple days to learn my way around the course and get used to the greens, and I know that I'll be ready to go win another stage starting Wednesday!

Stay tuned for updates from the practice rounds.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"That Lovin' Feeling"

Ever since my last post, I've been having the best practice sessions. Everything seems to be in good form, and I'm feeling good about all aspects of my game.

The weather has been absolutely perfect and has allowed for a good variety of practice. One focal point has been wedge play, and I feel like I have really developed a great deal of consistency which is allowing me to dial in my distances. Good wedge play is so important, and I feel great about my wedge play now.

I'll have another full day of practice in Columbia, MO, tomorrow. Friday will consist of a short workout and a good practice session in the morning, before heading home to Tennessee in the afternoon.

The Second Stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School starts one week from today on November 18. I'll make my way to Georgia on the night of the 15th and begin on-site preparations. I'm really excited to keep getting better and hopefully win another stage!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Still Feeling Good

For the first time in almost two months, I had a couple days of practice where I felt I little bit out of sync. The last two days my ball-striking has been inconsistent and my touch has been a little bit off around the greens. It has made for a couple of frustrating days, but on both occasions, I have left the golf course knowing that I'm close to playing better than ever. 

The only real swing thought I have had for the past couple months is trying to slow down my transition at the top of my swing in order to let my lower body start the downswing. Though I haven't quite gotten it right, my timing has been impeccable and I've been hitting it solid and straight. I feel like my transition is as good as it has been in the past two or three months right now, but the timing needs to adjust to the club being in better position. I'm confident that this will not take long to happen.

Even though the last two days haven't been as good overall, I have still hit a lot of quality shots and have continued to feel good about my putting practice. I still feel like I'm on track heading into the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School.

The weather is still amazing in Columbia, MO, so I'll be sticking around here a while longer before heading back to the Southeast later this week to get the final preparations done. 

Time to head out to the course and get "that lovin' feeling" back as good ol' Bobbo would say!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Getting Better

The weather has been perfect in Columbia, Missouri, since I've come back. I have continued to have really nice practice sessions, and I've been back on a good schedule of running and working out. It all has me feeling great!

As usual, I've been spending a lot of my practice time on the golf course, but I've also been getting in lot of time working on my putting and on my wedge play. Everything feels really good. I'm hitting the ball straight off the tee and feel pretty sharp the rest of the way, too. I had a lousy day with the putter on the course Monday but have since had two really good sessions with it and putted well on the course Tuesday. 

I officially got my second stage assignment yesterday. I am going to be playing the Mountain Course at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. The dates of the event are November 18-21. As I've said before, I'm ready right now, but I'll be even more ready then!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Location, Same Good Story

After a rushed and unproductive practice session Friday morning, I made the long journey back to Columbia, Missouri. I was greeted with nice weather, which was great, and it appears that it is going to stay relatively warm and sunny for all of the extended forecast. This is good news!

It was back to work as usual yesterday. I got in a great run in the morning and finally felt really good throughout the 5.1 mile jog. Then, I went out to the golf course and had it all to myself thanks to an afternoon Mizzou game on television. I had a great practice session yesterday. All facets of my game felt sharp. I drove it great; my iron play was solid; and my wedge play was good. I didn't putt the ball particularly well on the course but spent an hour or so on the putting green after I played and was really rolling the ball very well. 

I'm heading out to the course now, and I'm going to have another great day!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Best Golf Lesson

After having another great day of practice on my own yesterday, I got together with my long-time coach, Bobbo, today. For thirty minutes or so of him watching me, I didn't miss a shot. My question to him was, "Does it look as good as it feels?" The answer was yes.

I'm excited about the way I'm hitting the ball, but I know I've got to work to ingrain these good feelings. I'm confident that I can keep it going.

I'm continuing to work hard to keep my short game sharp. One good thing about being home in Tennessee is the opportunity to practice from Bermuda rough--something I'm sure will be the norm at Callaway Gardens during the upcoming second stage. It is an unpredictable grass from which to play, but with practice I am developing a good feel for how the ball will react from various lies.

I'm still spending a lot of time on the practice green, too. I have days where I feel absolutely brilliant putting the ball and days that remind me I still have work to do, but overall I am still seeing steady improvement in the way I'm rolling the ball and in my confidence on the greens.

Tomorrow I'll get in a short workout at home and a small practice session at Dandridge Golf Course before hitting the road for a trip back up to Missouri. It looks like the weather there is going to allow some good practice, so I'm looking forward to a couple weeks back in the Midwest. All the while I'll have my sights set on the second stage of Q-school, which is just three short weeks away. I'm ready to go right now, but I'll be even more ready when it rolls around!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Staying Sharp

It has been business as usual the three days since winning the first stage of Q-school. This is not time to start feeling complacent. I got in a short afternoon of practice on Sunday after the event and have gotten back into the normal routine these last two days.

One thing that is a little out of the ordinary for the past three weeks is that I have gone for a run each of the last two mornings. The combination of east Tennessee hills and my current poor conditioning has me feeling sore this evening! That's a good thing, though. I'll be back in good shape in no time.

I had a good session on the driving range yesterday where I worked on my alignment and practiced hitting "shots." I was hitting shots high and low and curving them both directions at will. It was a fun practice session. I also got a lot of good work in around the chipping green and on the putting green. Today, I played in a steady rain and got to hit a lot of different shots. I spent a lot of time around the greens today, and I really feel sharp with my wedges.

One point of emphasis on which I really want to improve is my sand play. I've always been mediocre at best from the bunkers, and I'm going to change that. Prior to last week in Florence, I started playing a lot of bunker shots on which I have some room to let the ball release with my 54 degree wedge. I used to play almost exclusively with my 60 degree wedge from the sand, but this switch is really simplifying my bunker play. The results have been instant and dramatic improvement. I'm excited to keep working on it.

I feel really good about where my game is and where it feels like it is going. I'm just trying to keep loving what I do and loving finding ways to do what I do better! If I keep doing that, the results will be exciting!

***On a different note, I have a question: I'm looking for a place in Orlando to live for a few months this winter. Does anyone know of anybody in the Orlando area that might have a basement bedroom that they would be willing to rent to me for December and January?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First Stage Winner!!

I passed the first stage of Q-school with flying colors! In fact, I shot 68, 63, 69, 66 to win the stage! In all honesty, winning doesn't do me any more good than finishing 21st would have, but it is very good for my confidence. I feel great about the way I played, and I also feel like I learned a lot.

I was definitely nervous at times during the week and especially during the early holes of the last round, but I feel like I trusted my routine and all the practice I've been doing. I know that the experience of handling the pressure will be something on which I can draw in the future.

My putter finally got hot in the closing round 66. I actually was not very sharp from a ball-striking standpoint, but I made eight putts outside of four feet including two from 15+ feet. I knew the putter would come around and it finally did!

I've got to work to make sure the putter stays hot, and I definitely have some work to do to make sure my driving and iron play stay a little more consistent. I will be working hard to prepare for the Second Stage which will be the week before Thanksgiving and should be in Southern Georgia at a place called Callaway Gardens.

Stay tuned for more details and practice reports. I'm going to keep getting better!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Q-school: Stage 1, Round 3

Overall, round three was solid for me today. I hit a lot of greens, made few mistakes, and stuck to my game plan of playing aggressively all day. I wasn't quite as sharp on my execution today as I was in round two, but I still shot a one-under-par round of 69. This score was not bad as the course played slightly tougher today with a fairly constant 15 mile per hour breeze. 

I missed five more fairways today though I feel like I hit the driver pretty well. I never got in much trouble, but I still want to be sharper off the tee, and I know it will save me shots if I'm playing from the short grass.

I had mixed results on the greens today. I rolled in a couple of longer putts which is something I've really been working hard to do, but I missed two putts today that were not three feet long. One was a poorly trusted line and the other was just a lack of focus. Never the less, I spent a couple hours doing some putting drills after the round, and I love the way I'm rolling the ball. 

I'm still tied for third after today's round, and I'm one solid round away from moving one step closer to the PGA Tour. I'm relaxed, confident, and ready to keep having fun chasing my dream! 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Q-school: Stage 1, Round 2

I hit the driver a little better and putted pretty well today. I still have plenty of room for improvement, but the result today was a very satisfying 63. I still missed five fairways with the driver (one of which lead to my only bogey of the day), and I missed a two five-footers that I still want to make!

All-in-all though, I'm very pleased with how I played today. I really putted nicely, but today's score was more the result of a lot of quality iron shots. In fact, I made eight birdies today and never made a putt longer than six feet. 

Today's round moved me up into a tie for 3rd place. There are still a lot of people under par and the leaderboard is a little bit bunched up. I have to make sure I keep moving forward. I'm going to stay relaxed these next two days and keep my foot on the gas pedal. This is no time for playing prevent!

Tomorrow I'm going to hit more fairways and keep the same mindset I had today! I'm going low!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Q-school: Stage 1, Round 1

I feel like the Florence Country Club suits me well. It's important to hit fairways and putt well, two of my strengths. Unfortunately, I did neither today. I'm not entirely sure what I did do right, but I managed my way around the course to a 68 despite hitting just four fairways and having 31 putts. I felt like I hit a lot of good putts today, but made nothing and missed three putts inside of four feet. Despite the waywardness of my drives, I kept my ball out of serious trouble and still hit most (14) of the greens. Bottom line: I don't feel like I was far off today!

I'm currently sitting in a tie for 16th. The top 21 out of the 78 players in the field will advance to the Second Stage. It's way too early in the week to be thinking about that, though. I'm just going to go out there tomorrow and clean up some of the sloppiness from today and shoot a good number. I like where I'm sitting, and I'm excited play better tomorrow!

Stay tuned!

Monday, October 19, 2009

1 Practice Round Down

I made it to Florence comfortably by 12:30 today. I joined an old college friend for a practice round and played all 18 holes at Florence Country Club. My game was far from stellar, but I felt like I got to know the course and I'm already comfortable on it. 

I got in some great practice on the putting green and out of the bunkers at the chipping green after the round, and I feel like I made good progress in both areas. 

I'll play another practice round tomorrow and have the whole day to work on anything that needs some sharpening before the event starts on Wednesday. I'm feeling good, and I'm ready to go! 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Heading to Florence

I'm two thirds of the way from Missouri to Florence, South Carolina, and Florence Country Club where I'll be playing the first stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School this week. I drove home from Missouri to East Tennessee yesterday and will leave for Florence early tomorrow morning.

After a great two-hour practice session in Columbia yesterday morning, I made the 640-mile haul to beautiful Dandridge, Tennessee. Here in Dandridge, I had a great short game session this morning before hitting some balls with my coach Bobbo and playing a few holes this afternoon. It was a perfect day of practice, and I feel confident with all elements of my game.

Tomorrow will be a much shorter 315-mile drive over to Florence where I will play a practice round in the afternoon. I'll have another practice round on Tuesday and a good day of practice before kicking off the competition on Wednesday. It looks like the weather will be good and I'm confident that my game will be, too--regardless of the weather!

PGA Tour Q-school??? Bring it on!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good week! Almost Go Time!

The weather in Columbia, Missouri, was almost depressing this week. It was cold, gloomy, misty, rainy, and just plain old cloudy all week. The crazy thing is, it was perfect for me! I got some good practice playing in layers again, AND I had the golf course all to myself everyday. 

I spent most of my practice time this week on the course. I played everyday and hit a lot of shots off the tee and spent a lot of time around the greens. I am feeling really good with my driver now. I am working it both directions and hitting my target more often than not. My iron play has not been the most consistent, but I feel really confident about it, and my short game is in good shape! Cold hands have not allowed too much time on the practice green this week, but I have been putting the ball well on the course, and I feel like I'm going to roll it great in South Carolina next week.

I'm leaving tomorrow to start my journey over to South Carolina. I will practice here in the morning, drive all afternoon to Tennessee, and spend Sunday practicing and working with my coach, Bobbo. I doubt we'll make any changes, but it's always good to see him. Then I'll take off Monday morning for Florence, South Carolina. 

I'm going to the first stage of Qualifying School for the PGA Tour. I'll play a practice round on Monday and Tuesday before the competition starts on Wednesday. It's 72 holes, from Wednesday through Saturday. If I play well, I'll advance, and I'm feeling good!

I'm excited to get back out there and compete!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Good Weekend, Tuning Up!

It was a good weekend here in Columbia, MO. Fall is here for sure as the weather turned much cooler, but the rain has started to dry up, and it is good sweater-wearing golf weather.

I played with some of my old teammates this weekend and played really well. I feel like I'm getting back in control of my driver, and, like I said last week, I feel really good about my short game. I'm excited to have a good week of practice before heading back East later this week for the last few days of preparation before heading to the First Stage of PGA Tour Q-school in Florence, SC.

I will head to Florence on October 19th to practice on the course (Florence Country Club) for a couple days before teeing it up on October 21st as I attempt to get one step closer to the PGA Tour 2010!

Thank you, everyone, for all your support. I'm feeling good, and I'm ready to compete!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rainy Days

I know I have an awesome job because it bums me out when the weather keeps me from working as much as I would like. I practiced in the rain yesterday until there was standing water on the entire practice area, and then it continued to rain most of the night and is still raining this morning. It may be a day off from practice, but I'd say I'll squeeze in something short. 

I have gotten a lot of good work done since the Monday qualifier shortcoming. I feel like my short game and my putting are ready! I'm excited about the way I'm rolling the ball and my chipping feels great, too. From a ball-striking standpoint, I feel good, but know that I have work to do to become more consistent. I'm hitting the ball as well as I ever have, I just need to make sure my ball flight is something on which I can rely. I know I can work the ball both ways, but it seems like right now I tend to miss it both ways, too, when I'm a little off. I think I'm still just struggling to get everything working in the proper sequence from the top of my backswing. I know I'm swinging the club better now than I was a week ago, I just need everything to get back in sync. That will come with just a little practice!

I'm back in Columbia. Had to watch my Tigers lose a big game last night against Nebraska. : ( I'm not happy about that, but life goes on. If college football is one's biggest complaint, I'd say he/she is doing okay!!

I've got just under two weeks to get it all tuned up for the First Stage of Q-school. I'm not 100% ready right now, but I wish it started tomorrow! I'm excited! October 21-24.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Qualifier Mishap

I played today in my first Monday Qualifier attempting to earn a spot in the field of the Nationwide Tour's Chattanooga Open. Monday Qualifiers are an 18-hole round where a lot of guys are playing for a very small number of spots in the tournament field. Therefore, in order to make the field, you have to play very well and not make any big mistakes.

I did play very well today, but I made a big mistake. I kept the driver in play and hit a lot of good iron shots today. I also saw a glimmer of hope with the putter as I made a few in that 5-10 foot range that I've been missing. I felt good over the putter all day, too. 

But, as I said, there was a big mistake. I got it to four under par through 11 and hit a great tee shot on 12, the hardest driving hole on the course. From the middle of the fairway, between a seven and an eight iron, I decided to hit a fade seven. I never committed to the shot and never trusted that it was correct. The result was a poor swing and big block into a right bunker. The bunkers were very wet, and the spot where my ball landed was almost unplayably so. There was no where to take relief, however, and I executed a poor shot from the puddle, leaving it in the bunker and making a double-bogey six.

I hit a lot of good shots in the closing six holes, but couldn't quite get another birdie to fall. My score of 70 left me on the outside looking in. And, yes, 68 would have gotten me into the field. But I know better than to get caught up in the "what ifs." Today was undoubtedly a positive experience for me. I played great, and I made a mistake from which I will take an important lesson: Be committed to a shot before attempting to execute it. I already knew that, but this will serve as a powerful reminder!

I'm still brimming with confidence. As much as this hurts right now, I feel great about my game. I have just over two weeks to get totally prepared for the first stage of Q-school. I play October 21-24 in Florence, South Carolina. I can't wait!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tennessee!

I'm safely back in my old stompin' grounds! I had a great day today. Hung out with the "Kukster" and Ralph Holt out at Dandridge Golf Course--the course where I learned how to play, and then went over to The Country Club in Morristown and did some really good practicing!

I worked with my long time coach, Bobbo, today! He liked what he saw, and we just made a simple little change. He told me that the left-to-right shot I've been hitting lately is the result of my right shoulder starting the downswing. I kind of knew that analysis was coming, but haven't quite been able to fix it. After a couple dozen shots, we got my hips starting the club down, and the path of my club really started to change. After a couple dozen more shots, I finally started to relax my hands and was able to release the club down the line. By the end of the session, I was working the ball both directions on command and, more importantly, hitting it STRAIGHT!

I also put in some good time on the practice green and around the chipping green. I know that the formula for success when I tee it up Monday in the Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour's Chattanooga Classic will be accurate drives, precise wedges and a hot putter. I'm feeling like I'll be ready!!

I'll have another good day of practice tomorrow before heading down towards Chattanooga on Monday. My qualifying round is at Cleveland Country Club, and I tee off at 1:20.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Daily Grind... :)

It's pretty cool being able to practice and play golf eight to 10 hours per day and call it my job! People talk about getting burned out, but I haven't seen any signs of that. I know the continuous travel and potential loneliness of the road will be the real challenge, but I am really looking forward to conquering the difficulties that accompany my new life as a professional golfer!

I'm continuing to progress nicely. I feel like my short game and especially my putting are in good shape. I'm looking forward to getting the putter back in action under tournament conditions because it continues to feel better and better in practice. 

I'm still fighting some quirky issues with my ball flight. I have been hitting a lot of cut shots, and I'm really having trouble getting the ball to start right of the target and turn over to the left. I'll think I've got it fixed one minute only to see the consistent left-to-right shot pattern reemerge moments later. I'm still very encouraged by the consistency of it all, I just want to make sure I'm not becoming one dimensional with my ball-striking. I'll see my coach, Bobbo, on Saturday, and together we'll make sure everything is on the right track. 

I'm heading HOME to East Tennessee tomorrow. I'm going to practice hard this weekend and hopefully be ready to go low in the Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour's Chattanooga Classic. I tee off at 1:20 on Monday afternoon at Cleveland Country Club. Last year I think it took six under to qualify for the tournament, but it's a short course that offers a lot of birdie opportunities. I'll be ready to take advantage!!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Training

I am having some great practice sessions right now. I'm still not thrilled with the fact that I'm hitting a persistent little fade, but it is definitely a shot with which I can work. I'm working hard to get the club coming back down on a better path, but for some reason it's just a little on top of the plane right now. I'm hitting a lot of good shots, I just can't get it starting right and turning left. 

My confidence with the putter is still growing every day. I feel like I am hitting my line almost every time I hit a putt. The quality of my putts has gotten progressively better for the last two months, and they are going to start falling soon!

Maybe next Monday, October 5, is the day the hole will open! I will be playing in my first Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour's Chattanooga Classic. You have to go low to get in via Monday Qualifiers, but I feel like I'm ready to do that! The Qualifier will be held at either the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay or Cleveland Country Club. I'll learn where I play this Thursday.

Lastly, I received my assignment for the first stage of PGA Tour Q-school today. I'll be playing October 21-24 at Florence Country Club in Florence, South Carolina. That was my first choice, so I'm excited to get ready for that! Anybody have any family or friends with an extra room in Florence?? :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Missouri Open Final Round

Give me one more day! I shot the low round of the tournament today in the second and final round of the Missouri Open, but I simply had too much ground to make up to climb the entire leaderboard and defend my title. Five birdies and an eagle offset by a lone bogey gave me a final round 66, but it left me three shots out of a playoff for the championship. 

After a playing the first eight holes solidly to stand at two-under, I began to let some opportunities get away from me. I three putted the ninth hole from only thirty feet straight uphill, and then hit it inside 15 feet on every hole on the back nine. I made a 15-footer for eagle on number 10, then missed from 8-12 feet on five consecutive holes before missing a four-footer on number 16. Good wedge shots then led to closing birdies at 17 and 18, and a back nine somewhat disappointing back nine 31. 

It was good playing today, though. The course was tough, and I'm happy with most aspects of my game. I finished tied for 5th, and tied for 4th among the professionals. It was not what I wanted but a good finish. 

I'm going to keep the game in shape in Columbia this week. I'll head home next to play in the Monday qualifier for the Nationwide Tour event in Chattanooga! I'm going to be ready to go low!


Friday, September 25, 2009

MO Open 1st Round

Well, it was a disappointing first round at the Missouri Open. I drove it left and right and struggled to recover. I did have a nice stretch mid-round where I hit a lot of fairways and greens and made a couple birdies, but the end result was a one-over-par 73. 

I played the par fives in two-over-par, and I hit a lot of good mid-range putts that didn't go in, so I feel like I have a tremendous chance to play a great round tomorrow. 

I am the defending champ here, and I certainly still think it is possible to defend (despite being six shots back), but I am just going to worry about executing my routine and trusting every shot tomorrow. We'll see what the results are in the end!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Practicing and Feeling Ready

I have been having a great week in Columbia, MO. I have gotten good workouts in on Monday and Wednesday mornings and have been practicing really well. 

Still nailing down some specific yardages with the wedges, and continuing to grow in confidence with the putter. I feel like this Friday and Saturday at the Missouri Open might be the setting in which the putter gets hot!

I've also made a slight adjustment to my backswing. I was hitting great shots, but consistently starting the ball just left of target and seeing it fall back to the right. I was obviously getting on top of the plane, but couldn't figure out why. While hitting wedges, I was really trying to flatten my backswing and keep my hands a little lower at the top and I noticed the ball was starting more on line, so I tried to incorporate that "flatter" feeling at the top of my full swing as well. The results were instantly positive. I feel like I can easily work the ball both ways from my current position (and hit it straight, which is really the most important thing to me!)

So I feel great about my game. I'm playing in the charity pro-am tomorrow and will tee it up at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning for the first round of the Missouri Open. ...Can't wait!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Practice

The last two days have been good back in Columbia! I relaxed a little bit Sunday morning, but practiced hard all afternoon and practiced almost all day Monday. 

I hammered out some wedge practice Monday morning. I did distance calculations for my 54 degree wedge. I hit shots back and forth across the short range and measured all my distances. Just FYI: a full 54 degree in neutral conditions goes 103 yards, and with a 10:00 o'clock swing (left arm position at the top of the backswing) the 54 degree goes exactly 85 yards. Good to know! Then I went out and played nine holes and tried some shorter distances and yardages in between and it worked really well!

The weather cut me off early today, but I feel pretty good about my day! I'm trying to tune up for the Missouri Open and I feel like I'm in good shape! The tournament is Friday and Saturday, and I'm really excited to get it started. 

I did get some bad news today, however. I thought I would be a likely candidate for a sponsor's exemption into the Nationwide Tour's Chattanooga Classic in early October, and I found out today that my request for one was not honored. I'm bummed to hear it, but I guess I'll just have to go Monday qualify. No big deal!

Life is good. I feel good. Can't wait to play again!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Success!! ...Sort of

An even par final round of 70 has me successfully through the first stage (or pre-qualifying stage) of Q-school. After a somewhat shaky two-over-par front side, I played fairly nicely on the back nine. Of course, it does help to hole out from 129 yards, which I did on the 436-yard par 4, 13th hole today with a pitching wedge. 

It was a perfect shot on 13. Slightly downhill with a touch of breeze off the right to a front left pin. I hit the pitching wedge just past and to the right of the hole and watched as it spun back to the edge of the cup before tottering in. 

I hit more good shots than bad today (and all week for that matter), but I still was mixing in too many wayward shots here and there. And I'm still waiting for my putter to come alive. I hit a lot of good putts today, but still was not able to get anything to fall. 

I'll be playing the Missouri Open next weekend in Columbia, Missouri, and I'm hoping that is where the putter will get hot. In any case, I have almost five weeks to get ready for the next stage of Q-school, and I will be READY!

Stay tuned for more updates between now and the Missouri Open, which is September 25 and 26.

Friday, September 18, 2009

After round 3...

It was another hard day at the pre-qualifying stage of PGA Tour Q-school today. I played okay, but hit a few wayward shots and again missed some medium range putts that I would like to make. 

The end result was a one-over par 71, and I'm still in good shape. I would really like to put it all together. I did have it all together for nine holes the first day, and have sort of struggled with some aspect of game each day since then. Again, I had a nice practice after the round today and I'm really confident that I'll play well tomorrow. 

I've really been focusing on my putting for the last three weeks. It seems like for the last year or so, I've gotten a lot better about giving myself a lot of birdie putts but haven't made any of those 10-25 foot putts that you expect to make from time to time. My putting stroke has been feeling better and better every day for the last three weeks, and I'm ready for the putts to start falling. Maybe tomorrow is the day! 

I'm currently tied for 20th. How far up the board can I climb tomorrow??

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 2

Well, the scorecard from day two looks ugly. I shot a four-over par 74--my first round over par as a professional. I double hit a chip, and I've fallen from tied for first to tied for 18th. 

All of that and I still feel really good about things. I did hit a few squirrely shots today and again struggled to get anything outside of five feet to fall with the putter, but all-in-all I feel like I'm playing well. Had a great practice session for a few hours after the round and I feel like I'm ready to play great the next couple days.

The leader is at seven under, and I'm at even par. With 36 holes still remaining, I've got my eyes on the top of that leaderboard yet...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Good Start

Q-school is off and running. I'm playing in the "pre-qualifying" stage right now in Lincoln, Nebraska. Conditions were perfect today, and I played nicely. 

After a slow start with seven pars and a bogey in the first eight holes, I birdied five of my last 10 holes to shoot a four-under par 66. 

My game feels great and I putted the ball nicely today. Still missed a lot of 10 to 15 footers for birdies, but I really feel like my pace was good and I was hitting my spots, so I think I'm on the right track. 

Three more days here in Lincoln, and I'm going to try to be on top of the leaderboard when it's over. My game is ready! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ready for Q-school!

I have played two really good practice rounds at Yankee Hill Country Club in Lincoln, Nebraska, in preparation for the Pre-qualifying stage of Q-school. I feel like I know my way around the course very well, and a few hours on the range and many more on the putting green have me feeling ready to begin this journey through the Q-school.

My tee time for Wednesday's first round is 8:50 a.m. off of number 10. I'm ready to go win this stage. Bring it on!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Final Day at Nebraska Open

Well, it was an interesting day for my first "final round" as a professional. I left the hotel room in plenty of time to have a relaxed trip to the course and a nice warm-up, only to find my driver side rear tire resting on its rim. The spare was not a good option, so I jogged down to Wal-Mart for a can of fix-a-flat. The fix-a-flat did its job, and I got to the course with a nice half hour of warm-up time.

Played nicely on the front to turn at two under, and really hit some quality shots on the first few holes of the back nine, but wasn't getting the putts to fall. Then I started pressing and thinking that I had to make birdies. As can be expected, this strategy led to a few bogeys and disappointing score of even-par 71. 

Though I fell to a tie for 18th place, I feel like this was a positive start for me. I played some really good golf and I learned a lot. As with amateur golf, it is important to remember that playing well in the moment will take care of the later concerns such as score, finish position, and now, paycheck! I've got to be better about staying present and not letting my thoughts wonder to finish position while I'm playing. 

I'll get there though! I'm excited to play again. Next up, PGA Tour Q-school pre-qualifying. 72 holes at Yankee Hill Country Club in Lincoln, Nebraska, September 16-19. Stay tuned for updates!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 2 at Nebraska Open

The Elks Country Club is definitely there for the taking right now offering a lot of wedge shots into greens that putt very well. It gave up two 62's in the first round and a handful of other sub-66 rounds. 

I had to play 22 holes today. I finished my first round with a birdie and three pars for a one-under par 70. Then, I continued to play well making six birdies and no bogeys in my second round for a 65. A 22-hole bogey-free day has me at seven under for the tournament.

This will not have me at the top of the leaderboard by any means, but should be in good position to make a move in the final round tomorrow!

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Start as a Pro

There are very important reasons to always remember September 11 that are not related to golf. It just so happens, however, that my professional debut occurred September 11, 2009, in the Nebraska Open. 

The Nebraska Open is held at Elks Country Club in the small town of Columbus, Nebraska. The course is short with a lot of doglegs, and it offers a lot of birdie opportunities. 

Weather was an issue this afternoon and it pushed my 2:10 starting time back to after 4:00 o'clock. I only finished 14 holes on my first day as a professional golfer, and I made four birdies, but also four bogeys to leave me at even par with four holes left in my first round.

I have 22 holes to play tomorrow, and I feel a lot of birdies coming!

Catching Up on a Positive Last Month

I've been too busy playing golf tournaments and working on my game to update my blog! That's really not true, but I have been keepin...