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!

Visible Progress

I’ve been making a lot of invisible progress lately. By that, I mean that my scores have been consistently rather stinky, but beneath that,...