Saturday, December 18, 2010

An Overdue Update

I'm sorry that I haven't been on here with an update anytime recently. I have been enjoying myself with some relaxing times but also doing a lot of things to prepare for a successful year in 2011. Between my last post and today, I have practiced golf outdoors just once, but it looks like that is turning around now. That doesn't mean that I haven't been proctive, however. I have made progress in other areas, but I am chomping at the bit to get back into a good practice routine.

I recently returned to Tennessee from Missouri. The most important accomplishment of my time in Missouri was a lot of good times with many friends and especially Miss Alicia, but I also was able to get most of the "paperwork" and financial/logistical aspects of my career done so that I am ready to go full speed ahead for 2011. The colder weather also allowed me upgrade my fitness regimen while in Missouri. I added miles to my runs and also added a few sprint workouts into my running days. I hit the weights a little harder in the gym, too. I feel like I am in as good of shape as I can ever remember being. I do feel strong, but I also feel fit, flexible and very energized. Back in Tennessee, I don't have access to a weightroom that is quite as nice as the one I use at Mizzou, but with some freeweights in the living room and a little creativity, I can definitely continue to increase my fitness level. My time in Missouri was all-around rejuvinating. Time with Alicia is always so nice, and all of my other fun activities just remind me that while golf is both my career and a huge part of my life, it is not the sole factor that defines me.

Now that I'm home in Tennessee, I get that reminder all over again in the form of my mom and dad and also many friends who have helped me grow up in the game of golf. It's really cool for me to feel the encouragement that many people offer and also to know that while everyone wants to see me succeed, nothing that happens on the golf course could ever make me a failure in the eyes of my friends or family.

Today was an exciting day because I got out and had an actual practice session. I played four holes with a couple balls in my pocket and spent any extra ten minutes or so around each green. I didn't think about swing thoughts or anything like that, but simply tried to picture the shot I wanted to hit and then let my body execute. I did not look like I was in mid-season form by any means, but I thought I hit a lot of good shots. I'm really excited because the weather looks like it will cooperate for more practice in the coming days, and I feel like I can get in some really good work. I have said it in my previous couple posts, and I will continue to say it: I am going to be playing the best golf of my life when February 2011 rolls around. And I'm going to have a lot of fun getting there!

Happy Holidays to all! Please continue to follow me as I will be doing better keeping you updated as to my progress.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter?

I'm ready to start working on my golf game again. I've had a couple of really good practice sessions in the past few days, but a couple of consecutive windy days with high temperatures right around 30 degrees have reminded me that there is a winter. It's hard to have overly productive practice when the wind blows on really cold days, so I'm preparing for 2011 in other ways right now. I'm continuing to stay sharp physically with a workout and running routine that has been ratcheted up a little bit for the offseason, and I'm beginning to work on some administrative necessities for next year. I really feel good, and I'm excited for the opportunity to improve and prepare in a lot of different ways. It may be winter, but I stand by my statement from my last post: when February 2011 rolls around, I will be playing the best golf of my life.

While I am back to "work" in terms of trying to practice and prepare myself for a great year in 2011, I have still been able to enjoy some very good time with the people I love. After living in my car for most of the year, I've spent some time in the places I call home the past few weeks. After a great Thanksgiving with my family in Maryland and a little time at home before that, I'm now in Columbia, Missouri, with Miss Alicia. We celebrated her birthday over the weekend and had a great time! I love my job all the time, but it is even more enjoyable when I get to come home from a day of work to my family and/or my sweetheart. I'm a lucky guy!

I'm getting better right now. Winter may have me trapped indoors for a day or two, but I'm doing something to get better at my profession everyday. I'm excited about what the future holds. I'll keep my blog updated about twice a week during this break from competition, so come check it out to see what's going and how I'm improving.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Enjoying Family; Moving Forward

I had a great Thanksgiving yesterday, and I definitely have very much for which to be thankful. Right now I'm with my mom, dad, and sister spending the Thanksgiving Holiday with with my dad's parents in southern Maryland. After a great weekend here, I'll head to Tennessee with my parents for just enough time to load up and be on the road to Missouri for some good time with Ms. Alicia. After a disappointing end to my run through Q-school this year, there is no better reminder to me that everything in my life is still wonderful than time with the people I love the most. Golf is still on my mind, but the encouragement of everyone who supports me has helped me turn the disappointment of last week into excitement about the future. I'm definitely going to emphasize time with Alicia and my family over practicing for the next few weeks, but I'm already starting to get excited as I think about improving and preparing for a great year next year!

I've been hitting a few balls or doing something golf related every day, but haven't really had any thorough practice since the end of Second Stage. I'm going to spend a day with Bobbo before going to Missouri, and we will pinpoint some things on which I can be thinking and working, and I will slowly start getting back into golf mindset working towards 2011. I'm not planning on competing again until next February, but I am determined that I will be playing the best golf of my life by then.

I wish you all the happiest of holidays. Thank you for supporting me. Keep it hear to stay up-to-date as I develop more detailed plans moving forward. 2010 has been a very fun year, and 2011 is going to be even better!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bad News

I don't really know what to say or how to feel yet. I played my heart out and enjoyed every minute of Q-school this year, but in the end I just came up one shot short of advancing to the Final Stage. I have never been better mentally on a golf course than I was the last two days here in Houston at Second Stage. I never got ahead of myself or thought about a score that I needed to shoot. I never got down, discouraged, or scared when things didn't go my way. I just gave my full attention to every shot and really did have fun under the most intense pressure that I have ever felt on a golf course. My execution was not great this week. I missed quite a few shots here and there, but I never stopped believing that I would make it. I didn't make it today, but I still believe that I will reach my goal of playing on the PGA Tour soon.

I played solidly today, but missed a few birdie opportunities and made too many mistakes to get the job done. A poor iron shot into the first got an awful break when it plugged deep into the face of a front bunker. That led to an opening bogey. Poor mid-iron shots on the 9th and 14th holes resulted in my other two bogeys of the day. I offset those bogeys with three birdies, but again failed to convert birdie opportunities on any of the par-fives. The one that really stings right now (and has me feeling a little heart-broken as I write this) came on the final hole of the day. The 18th is a long par-five, but the tees had been moved up two tee boxes so that it was actually reachable in two shots. I wasn't thinking about score, but did know that a closing eagle or birdie would give me a chance to advance to the final stage. I missed my drive badly on the heel of my driver, and the short tee shot left me no chance to reach the green in two. I laid up down the fairway but advanced the ball closer to the green than I had intended to and left myself a very difficult 65 yard wedge shot off of a very tight lie to a hole cut on a downslope just over a bunker. I gathered up my courage and confidence and executed one of the greatest wedge shots of my life, settling the ball just three feet behind the hole. I just couldn't calm my nerves over the putt, though, and shoved it into the right lip and watched mortified as the ball spun out of the hole. In the end that putt would have been enough to push me through to the final stage, and it is the only putt that I missed all week from inside of five feet. I want it back so badly, but there is no use in thinking like that. The bottom line is that I played fairly well for the week but made a lot of little mistakes here and there and one big one on the last green. I'm not far at all from where I want to be and I know I will be there soon, so I will just keep my head up and keep moving forward.

My disappointment right now is great, but I can honestly say that my belief in myself is still growing. I know that I'm good. I know that I belong at golf's highest level. I know that I can make it there.

I'm not really sure what comes next. I'll take a little time to figure that out and set some new goals moving forward, but you can bet that good things are in my future. I can't wait to share more good stuff with you. Thank you for following me and cheering for me. I really appreciate everyone's support. Check back in a couple days to see what's happening.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Still Hangin' in There

Round 3 was a tense battle today because I could never get anything going. I actually played really well, but failed to make any birdies today on my way to a two-over-par round of 74. The course played a little bit tougher today than it did yesterday in round 2, so my score really didn't move me down very much at all on the leaderboard. I feel very good about the way I hit the ball today and especially good about my mindset out there on the course. I never got impatient or tried to force anything, and for the most part I really feel like I committed to every shot I tried to hit today. The only disappointing thing looking back on my round is the fact that I was near the green in two shots on three par-fives today and failed to make my birdies. Other than that, I just let a few opportunities slip away here and there but more or less played very solidly.

I really do not know what to expect scores to be like for tomorrow's final round, so I'm not going to worry about that. I'm in a good position right now. I'm currently tied for 23rd at three over par for the event and there are a total of 21 people standing at one over par or better. All I need to do is a play a good solid round of golf tomorrow and I can easily move up into the top 19. My game feels good and my attitude great. If I stay relaxed and continue to believe in myself on every shot, I know that I will take advantage of my opportunities tomorrow and play great. The stakes may be high, but the formula is the same: patience + confidence + fun = success. I'm going to let it happen tomorrow, and it's going to be fun! Check back here to hear all about it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moving Up

I played a nicely today in round 2. The wind was blowing quite a bit, but the course is drying out and played a little easier today. I started with a two-putt birdie on the par-five 10th, which was playing straight down-wind, and proceeded to make three more birdies and just one bogey for a three-under-par round of 69. Scores were quite a bit lower today, but that round still moved me back into a great position at the midway point in the event. I was tied for 49th after round one and currently sit in a tie for 20th place. The top 19 players and ties will advance to the final stage. I'm in great shape, and I feel very good about my game now. I hit it more solidly today and putted very nicely. I know I can do it again tomorrow. Patience + confidence + fun = success. That's still the formula. I tee it up at 9:10 tomorrow morning. It's going to be a good day. Check back here to hear about it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just Keeping It Interesting

I've decided to challenge myself this week at the Second Stage of PGA Tour Q-school. I opened the event today with a very rough four-over-par round of 76. The golf course is hard, and scores were fairly high today, so I'm not really in too much trouble but will definitely have to play well over the next three rounds to get the job done. Though in all honesty it really felt awful today, I know that my game is good and that I can easily get it turned around tomorrow.

Today was funny from the beginning. Playing from the right rough on the first hole and trying to hit a hard pitching wedge, I shanked the ball right of a water hazard that protects the right side of the green. It was shocking more than anything, but I'm sure it rattled me a little bit moving forward. I proceeded to bogey three of my first five holes by missing fairways, hitting poor iron shots, and failing to chip the ball close to the hole. I did not ever get discouraged during my pathetic start however, and I bounced back with birdies on holes 7 and 9 to make the turn at just one over par. Then on the back nine, I actually hit the ball much more solidly, but never really had any good looks at birdie and managed to make three more bogeys with a few shots that were just slightly off target. I wasn't sharp today, and I paid for my misses. The truth is, however, I could have easily shot a higher score than I did after the unsettling start. I am pleased with the way I remained positive all day and scraped everything I could out of a day on which I brought my D game.

After the round today, I practiced for a little while, but just didn't feel right. I decided to leave the golf course a little earlier than usual. I returned to my host house and went for a short jog and had a nice easy workout. It was perfect. I know that I'm good at golf, and my body is going to remember that tomorrow, too! I'm still in this thing, and I just need to have three solid days of golf to get it done. I tee it up at 10:30 tomorrow morning, and I'm going to play well. Patience + confidence + fun = success. It's a winning formula, and it'll be in action tomorrow. Check back here for better news from round 2 tomorrow!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ready at Redstone

I've had two days of practice at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, TX, and I'm ready to get going tomorrow. I have played two practice rounds at the course, and while my game has been just a little bit off the last couple of days, I feel like my practice rounds were really productive, and I know my way around the course well. I have hit some lousy shots the last couple days, but everything still feels really good. I am going to have a good week!

The golf course is LONG. It's been rainy and chilly for both practice rounds, and I have played from the back of every tee box, but even though the weather is supposed to improve and the tournament directors will likely move some tees forward for us, the course is still going to play long for the event. For the most part, the course is fairly forgiving off of the tee and even offers quite a bit of room around the greens, but there are plenty of things to make the course very difficult. A lot of long irons, some gnarly bermuda rough, and a lot of huge slopes and run-offs around the greens will present some challenges while the lack of any reachable par-fives or short par-threes and fours will ensure that birdies don't come easily. It will be a battle, but I love that!

I'm ready to get started. I really do feel like my game is strong, and I know that I have both ability and the attitude to be successful this week. I'm going to keep smiling and enjoying myself. I'm also going to commit to my routine on every shot and believe in myself from beginning to end. 72 holes is a lot of golf on any course, but it is a whole lot of golf on this course. I'm going to be patient and confident, and I'm going to have fun. If I do these three things, I will be successful. I can't wait to go do it! I start at 9:20 tomorrow morning. Come back here for a Round 1 update tomorrow and follow the results at: http://pgatq.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/pgatq10/event/pgatq1025/contest/1/leaderboard.htm

Saturday, November 13, 2010

On My Way!

I'm literally on my way to Texas, but figuratively on my way to great things! After a really good day of practice on Friday and then a very fun and productive day of golf today (Saturday) in beautiful Dandridge, I made the drive to my sister's house just north of Atlanta, and I'm ready for an early wake-up call tomorrow to head to the airport and a 7:30 flight to Houston. I am just comfortable with everything right now. All aspects of my golf game are sharp, I feel great physically, and I know that I have great people pulling for me from all of the great places I've been in the past few years. I'm really excited to get to Texas and get in some good time on the tournament course before Stage 2 officially begins on Tuesday. I feel ready now, but I know that I will be ready by then! I'll let you know what I think of the course in the next two days, and then it'll be time to do my thing! Keep it here to hear about it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Plans are In

Alright! I still know that my game is ready for Stage 2 of PGA Tour Q-school, and now I know how I'm getting there, too. My friends Kay and John Ballard, who have twice hosted me in Lincoln, Nebraska, have taken care of me yet again by setting me up with a family in the Woodlands, which is a golf community some twenty miles north of Humble, Texas, the town where I'll be playing Second Stage. So with that confirmed, I have booked a flight and reserved a car. I'll fly out of Atlanta, Georgia, early Sunday morning and arrive in Houston at 8:42 a.m. I'll pick up my car at the airport and head straight to Redstone Golf Club for a Sunday afternoon practice round. Flying is a great idea because it will both save my back from a 15-hour trip in the car and allow me have great days of practice on Saturday at home and on Sunday at the tournament site. Special thanks go out to the Ballards for finding me a host, the Hauns (my hosts, whom I look forward to meeting), and my sis Gina and her husband Jake for the help they are going to provide getting me to the airport Sunday morning. I'm very excited about the way everything has worked out, and I think these travel plans will be a great part of a winning formula for Second Stage!

My golf game still feels great, too. I played a fun round of golf with some friends and a little cash on the line on Wednesday. The bet probably wasn't fair even before my partner and I both dropped bogey-free 66's on the opposition. Needless to say, we did alright! Today seemed more like "work" as I spent a lot of time on the driving range and putting green before walking nine holes with a couple balls in my pocket late in the day. I love my work! My tee shots, wedge shots, and putting all were extremely good today. I actually hit some lousy iron shots and will definitely address that with some practice tomorrow, but I don't feel like it's anything to worry about. I know I'm swinging well, so good shots will most definitely follow.

I'm going to have another full day of practice Friday and a fairly full day on Saturday as well before driving down to Atlanta Saturday evening. I want to have a long session working on distance control with my wedges one day, but other than that, I think I'll spend most of my practice time out on the course working on getting the ball in the hole. I'm already pretty good at that, but I love getting better! Keep it here for another report before the trip to Houston. Thank you for following!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Getting Closer

Exactly one week from today (next Tuesday), I will tee it up in the first round of the Second Stage of PGA Tour Qualifying. I'm still not entirely certain how or when I will be arriving in Humble, Texas, (just north of Houston) but I am certain that my golf game will be very good when I do. I've had two really good days of a practice the last two days, and I've narrowed my travel options down to two possibilities for getting to Houston, so I'm feeling good!

On Monday I did a little practicing in the morning and then played a round of golf with a couple of my best friends from back in my high school days. It was a fun afternoon, and my game felt pretty solid. Today, I did something that I rarely do: practiced for almost six hours without playing any holes. I had a very good session by myself on the driving range this morning before having some great practice on the putting green and around the chipping green for hours this afternoon. I ended the day by going back to the driving range with Bobbo. He confirmed exactly what I've been feeling: everything looks solid. I was hitting all sorts of shots today, from little three-quarter wedges to high drawing drivers, and for the most part, I felt comfortable with all of them. It was definitely a great day of practice.

For my trip to Houston, I have two possible travel plans. I might fly into Houston on an early flight Sunday morning, or I might road trip it down there on Saturday with my good friend Buddy McMahan from East TN. There are a couple of variables that I'm waiting to hear about that will influence my decision. I hope to have a firm answer by Wednesday afternoon so that I can start moving forward with a game plan in mind. Both options are good, and in either case I'm just excited to get there and get in some practice on the Member's Course at Redstone Golf Club.

Everything is feeling good. My golf game is great; I've been staying commited to a good workout and running routine, so I feel great; and it is getting close to time when I get to compete again. I can't wait! I've still got a few more days to make sure that everything is fine-tuned, and I will definitely take advantage of them. Keep it here for more updates and a confirmation of travel plans.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Great Weekend

My weekend with my sister, Laura, and my Mom and Dad was so good. I snuck out on my own Friday afternoon and got in a really good practice on the first cold day of the fall, and then spent the whole day Saturday doing all sorts of fun things with the family. Sunday morning was more good family time before Laura took off to head back to work in Washington, D.C. around noon, and I was back to "work" myself soon after she left. The weekend went perfectly, and I am definitely feeling great heading into a big week of preparation leading into the Second Stage of PGA Tour Qualifying next week.

Here's a quick report of the weekend fun: Saturday started early with me and Laura in the kitchen whipping up some pumpkin pancakes before the sun had risen. After we all chowed down on the perfect fall breakfast, we were in the van heading for the Great Smokey Mountains. It was cold when we left and the forecast for the mountains was even colder with a chance of some snow, but we were all in good spirits. We were heading for the Mt. Camerrer Trail, which is a beautiful 5.6 mile climb up to one of the most beautiful 360 degree vistas in the Smokey Mountains. The 11.2 mile round trip hike features a climb of 2,100 feet from the trailhead in Cosby Campground to the 5,000 ft. peak at Mt. Camerrer. It started to snow on us as we approached the campground, but we were ready for anything. Little did we know that just a mile into the hike, we would be climbing through half a foot of snow. By the time we reached the Appalachain Trail about three miles into the hike (around 4,000 ft) we were walking in ten to twelve inches of snow. Normally it is the fall foliage and the impressive views that make Mt. Camerrer an awesome hike, but on this trip, the snow made the hike so unique and beautiful that no one was disappointed about the lack of visibility. After a great journey up and down the mountain in the snow, we were all ready to head home and enjoy the day's next fun activity!

On the drive to the Mountains, we had stopped at one of my sister's (mine, too) favorite spots: Carver's Apple Orchard. We got more than a bushel of different kinds of apples, and when we got home after the hike, it was homemade applesauce time! Laura and I cut and cored apples for a while until we had filled a huge pot and a smaller pot. We made a big batch of traditional applesause with just a little cinnamon and nutmeg added to the apples, but I also made a small batch of chocolate applesause. A little cocoa powder added to the sweet apples creates a surprisingly tasty treat! Making homemade applesauce after a long day in the mountains is pretty darn good. I know it was a good day because I was so whiped out that I feel asleep on the couch before 10:00 o'clock and didn't even wake up to go into bed until well after midnight.

After all that fun, I got to go back to work today and do another thing that I absolutely love: practice golf. The weather was brisk but beautiful today, and I had a really nice practice session. I feel pretty comfortable with all aspects of my game right now, so this week of practice will consist of a lot of fine-tuning when I'm on the driving range or chipping/putting green and a lot of time on the golf course just hitting shots and practicing getting the ball in the hole. I'm still not sure what my travel plans are for getting to Houston or when I will leave, but I do know for sure that my golf game will be ready when I get there!

Keep it here for updates throughout the week and to hear how and when I'm traveling to Texas!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Enjoying My "Work"

I'm chasing my dream right now and having a blast doing it. I've been home in Tennessee for the last five days and have known for four days that I'll be heading to Houston, TX, for the Second Stage of Q-school at the end of next week. That means I'm combining two of my favorite things in the world this week: time with my family in East TN and preparation for an intense competition. I love the relaxing nature of life at Home, and I also love the feeling of my competitive juices flowing as I work to get ready for Stage 2.

My sister Laura drove in for a long weekend from Washington D.C. where she practices Physical Therapy, so this weekend will provide some awesome distractions from golf--thought I don't think I'll take any days completely off. I'll fit in some sort of practice every day just to keep everything feeling fresh, but it will be really good for me to enjoy some time in the Great Smokey Mountains and with a frisbee out in the yard, too. A healthy balance in life is definitely one of my keys to success, and the great people around me all the time help keep me from getting too one-dimensional.

With that said, I have been putting in full days of work all week up to this point. My practices have been great. I have spent some solid time on the driving range this week, but my most productive work has come on the chipping green, putting green, and especially the golf course. I feel pretty darn comfortable with all aspects of my game right now, but I have really dedicated a lot of time this week to my wedge play and short game. I'm still chipping with a variety of clubs from around the greens, and I'm finding that doing so just helps make a lot of shots around the greens easier for me. I've also been trying very hard to dial in my distance control with my wedges, and really like the way I've been able to hit the "in-between-yardage" wedge shots lately. In addition to all of that, I have been hitting a lot of fairways and have been very solid with the putter. My game feels good!

I'm going to have a fun weekend with my family. Some short to medium-length practices will ensure that my golf game stays at a physical peak, but more than that, some fun times with people I love will ensure that I stay right where I need to be mentally. Life is great, and I absolutely love what I do! As long as I remember to smile and enjoy myself, I know that can make it a long way in golf. And with the awesome people that give me unconditional love and support, I ought to be able to smile and enjoy myself all the time!

Come back here at the end of the weekend for a report on the weekend's activities and a good practice report!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Know Where I'm Going!

That title of today's post can be interpreted a couple of different ways. It could mean that I know where I'm going in terms of the trajectory that my career will take. I'm fairly certain that I do know that. My game has been progressing so much throughout this year that I believe it is just a matter of time before I make it to the highest level of golf. However, in a more immediate and concrete interpretation of that title, I know where I am going for the Second Stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School. I got my course assignment today, and I'll be heading to the Member's Course at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas, for Second Stage. Humble is a suburb about twenty miles north of Houston. I've never been to Redstone before, but I know that it will be a great course, and I'm sure that if I continue to have fun and play well, I will be successful there.

The dates of competition for Second Stage at that site are November 16-19 and official on-site practice will be the 14th and 15th. I haven't really decided exactly what my travel plans will be or what route I'll take to get to Houston, but I'll get that figured out in the coming week. I'm going to inquire with the Club about the possibility of getting some host housing on site, but if anyone has any contacts on the north side of Houston, I would love to find a nice family to stay with for the week. I have had some great luck finding hosts this year, and I'm so thankful to all of you who follow and support me and have helped in so many ways!

I was in the middle of a practice session today when I went inside for a minute and got on the computer. I checked my e-mail and saw my course assignment had been sent a day early. It was so motivating for me to have that information in front of me. I had a great practice today in which I worked on a little bit of everything. I spent time on the range working on alignment and hitting different types of shots before spending a couple of really solid hours on the putting and chipping greens. At the end of the day, Bobbo spent about half an hour watching me hit some more balls on the range. He said everything looks great, and that is what I wanted to hear because it is feeling really good, too. Second Stage begins for me in two weeks, and I know that I will be firing on all cylinders when it does.

I'm going to spend a lot of time practicing on the golf course in the coming days, and will also continue to really emphasize wedge play and putting in my practice routine. Keep it here for practice reports and more news as I prepare for Second Stage. It's an exciting time of year, and I'm going to work hard and enjoy every minute of it!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Breathe!

I did it! I was under the gun going into the final round, and I certainly took a long time to make my move, but with two birdies in my last three holes, I solidified my spot in the Second Stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School.

After a solid opening six holes in which I never made a birdie but didn't ever have to work for any pars, I made a bogey on the tough par-3 7th hole. It would be my only dropped shot of the day. I bounced back with a birdie at the 8th to return to even par, and made par on the next seven holes in a row to stand at even par for the day and six under for the event with just three holes remaining. I didn't know whether the qualifying score would be seven or eight under par, but I knew that six under had little to no chance. I was definitely nervous, but I just told myself to keep believing and commit to a plan on every shot. I got away with a tee shot that leaked too far right on the par-5 16th and was able to hit a good shot onto the green in two and two-putted from some 80 feet for a birdie. On the par-3 17th, I hit a great shot about 15 feet below the hole and rolled in another birdie. Two solid shots and a nice two-putt on the last hole left me with a final round score of two-under-par 70 and a four-round total of eight under par. I ended up tied for 15th, advancing to second stage with a one-shot cushion.

I'm so excited with the way that I was able to keep my cool and continue to execute down the stretch these last couple days. I was definitely battling nerves, but I never stopped believing in myself or having confidence that I could pull off the shots that I needed. My execution was far from perfect, but I never made any huge mistakes the last two days, and I was able to get the job done. What a big step for me!

I'll get back on here in a day or two with more information about what lies ahead. For now, all I know for sure is that I have made it to the Second Stage of Q-school, and I am good enough to make it all the way through. I love playing golf and competing, and I just can't wait to do both some more!

Thank you for your support, and keep it here for more about what comes next!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Round 3

I played hard in the third round. I never really found any kind of comfort zone at all, but I kept moving on and believing in myself. I hit very few good shots, but never hit any horrendous ones either and finished the round with just one bogey offset by two birdies for a one-under-par round of 71. While this was certainly not a great score, it allowed me to hold my position in the field on a day when the scoring average was nearly a full shot higher than it had been the first two rounds.

I don't know why everything seemed so difficult for me in the third round, but at the end of the day, I'm very proud of the fact that I was able to shoot under par given the way I felt. My chipping was really good, and, though I missed a few very make-able birdie putts, my putter was solid all day. I feel like I'm very close to firing on all cylinders, and I really think I can find that loving feel in the final round.

I'm sitting in a large tie for 17th place right now at six under par for the event. I'm right on the number to qualify as of right now, so that means that I just need a good, solid final round. If I can stay relaxed and continue to enjoy myself, I know that I will play well. Therefore, my strategy is going to be the same tomorrow as it has been all week: lots of smiles and a firm commitment to believe in myself and trust my routine on every shot. I'm going to have a good day! Check back right here to hear all about it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Great Golf, Pretty Good Score in Round 2

There are so many great things that I will take and build off of from today's second round at the First Stage of Q-school. Though I was definitely a little jittery early, I made a conscious decision to be confident and played beautifully. I was really nervous the first few holes, but didn't let that stop me from making a couple of early birdies on my way to being seven-under-par through 12 holes. Unfortunately, I really struggled my way into the clubhouse, bogeying three of the last five holes to finish my round with just a four-under-par 68. That score and my struggles the last five holes are disappointing, but neither of these change the fact that I played some awesome golf and looked really sharp for a long time today. I'm very excited moving forward.

From the my 4th hole through my 13th today, I executed darn near flawlessly. In that stretch, I birdied six holes, and never had to work for my par on any of the others. It sure makes golf fun when it is that stress-free. In the closing five holes, my execution really did not drop off that dramatically, I just made a few dumb mistakes again. I hit a beautiful wedge with too much spin on one hole and watched it yank back off of the green into a some nasty rough after landing just feet short of where I had planned it. Then, in a lack of concentration, I again suffered consecutive three-putt bogeys on my 16th and 17th holes. It sure was frustrating to give those shots back, but I know that I will not let that happen anymore.

It was an up-and-down day today, but the up definitely outweighed the down, and I'm ready go clean up my mistakes and play sharp golf in the final two rounds. I tee it up at 9:55 tomorrow on the first tee, and I'll be ready to play well. I'm going to keep having fun and believing in myself. Check back here for some good news!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Erratic First Round

My golf game was bi-polar today in the opening round of the First Stage of Q-school. I had stretches where I looked brilliant and others where I looked like I couldn't find it. I made five bogeys, but offset them with four birdies and an eagle for a one-under-par round of 71.

Mistakes really hurt me today on a day when the field scored very well, but I'm right in the middle of the pack and by no means in any trouble. I think I ended the day tied for 34th, but it's too early in the week to even care about that. The top 21 players and ties will advance at the end of the week.

My mistakes today were mostly off of the tee and on the greens. I three-putted my last two greens of the day from inside of 30 feet, and had two other occasions where I failed to get down in two from close to the hole just off of the green. My comfort over the putter wasn't there today, but I really am confident in my putting right now. I was very sloppy with a few drives today as well, but I just need to trust myself a little more off of the tee and make more committed swings. I can do that!

I tee it up a 9:33 tomorrow morning on the 10th hole, and I'll be ready to play well. The game plan is still the same: smile from the first tee to the last and believe in my game. I'm going to do it! Check back here for a good round 2 report!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ready

I had one last good practice round today. My game feels great, and I am very comfortable on the course. I tee it up tomorrow at 10:39 on the first hole, and I can guarantee that I will have a smile on my face. I have worked hard to prepare for this, so I am just going to relax and enjoy it!

The Mountain View course at Callaway Gardens is awesome right now. Some very light rains have softened the fairways and greens slightly, but the course is still playing fairly firm everywhere. I know that the greens will have good speed to them, but they are absolutely perfect for making putts. Some afternoon winds are forecasted tomorrow, but I don't believe it will be anything too extreme. I know my way around this course, and I'm prepared for anything that comes my way.

I'll still be smiling at the end of my round tomorrow and for the rest of the week as well. Check right here for updates after each round, and follow the results at: http://pgatq.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/pgatq10/event/pgatq1017/contest/1/leaderboard.htm


Monday, October 25, 2010

Great Day of Practice

I had a really good day of practice today at Callaway Gardens in preparation for the First Stage of Q-school, which starts on Wednesday. After getting a nice workout in during a morning rainstorm, I was one of the first players out to the course. I hit just enough balls to feel loose and headed for the first tee where I met up with an old friend of mine whom I haven't seen in years. We played a practice round together, and my game just sort of clicked. I was driving it as well as I can remember driving it lately and my iron play was pretty good as well. On top of that, my short game and putting both felt good. I've always felt comfortable around this course, and a solid performance like my one today just helps me feel even better going into the competition.

I shot seven-under-par during my practice round today. I've heard from a lot of people that it's not a good idea to keep score during a practice round, but I think it helps me. Otherwise, I end up just going through the motions and not really focusing on any of my shots. I especially like to go through my normal routine on the greens, and keeping my score in my head helps keep me motivated to read all of my putts and commit to a plan before I hit them. I really got a lot out of my practice round today because I played each shot the way I would have if it had been in the competition. And I had a lot of fun, which has not always been the case for me in practice rounds.

In the evening, I went back to the course and carried my shag bag out onto a little wedge range that seldom if ever sees any action at Callaway Gardens. I had the area all to myself, and I hit wedge shots from all different distances, angles, and lies to the target greens that are cut out in the range. I am trying hard to dial in my distances on those between yardage wedge shots where I have to either hit something a little harder than full or take a lot off of something. The thing that makes Callaway different than most of the courses I have played this year is the fact that anytime I am hitting a soft or partial wedge shot, I have to put a lot of effort into ensuring the ball will still land softly on the firm bermuda greens. I put a lot of effort into hitting high, soft 3/4 wedges this evening, and I really feel good about my ability to do that.

It was a very productive day today. I feel good about all aspects of my game, and I feel that I am growing more and more familiar with the course everyday. I'm still smiling and having fun, and I know that that will continue as the week progresses. I've got one more day of practice tomorrow, and then the competition starts Wednesday. Keep it here for progress reports!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Q-school Time!

Sorry for the long silence since my last post. I have been at Callaway Gardens balancing preparation for this week's First Stage of PGA Tour Q-school with some time enjoying the friends that I have made down here. I have definitely grown very comfortable with both the Mountain View course at Callaway Gardens and the small town of Pine Mountain, Georgia, which is it's home. I have practiced and played here every day since arriving last Tuesday, but have also spent some time hanging out with my great host family, the Sykoras, and exploring the hiking trails at Franklin Roosevelt State Park. It has been a really good week, and it has me feeling ready to go.

Q-school week officially kicks off on Monday. Practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday will lead into the 72-hole competition Wednesday through Saturday. The field will consist of 78 players vying for something like 20-23 spots in the Second Stage. I played well at First Stage last year, and I've gotten better and smarter since then, so I'm hopeful that I can just stay relaxed, enjoy the week, and execute well. I know that I'm going to do the first two, and I'm pretty sure that I will do the third as well.

My practice in the past week has actually not been my sharpest of the year. I've had some funky inconsistencies in my ball-striking that I haven't really liked, so I made a slight little adjustment to my backswing over the weekend. I have a tendency to the let the club swing back a little bit outside the target line but have never really worried about that in the past. However, I think it might have been getting a little extreme and causing me to have to make some manipulations elsewhere in my swing in order to get back into a good position. I did some drills on the range to promote a better takeaway, and I like the results. I still haven't hit the ball consistently well on the driving range, but I hit a ton of really good-looking shots on the course over the weekend. I'm still very confident in my ability and really trust that this minor change will only help me this week.

My short game practice has been very good. Callaway Gardens has bermuda grass everywhere, and that means a lot of different types of lies around the greens. There are very tight lies in spots and very thick lies in others as well as very grainy spots in rough and also spots where the rough is just thin and wispy. Many of the lies are unpredictable, which makes bermuda a tough grass, but I have spent a lot of time this week around the greens practicing from all types of lies. I feel good about my short game.

I'm also putting the ball well, and really feeling comfortable on the bermuda putting surfaces here. The extra week of practice has definitely been nice in that regard, but I'm hitting my putts very solidly, and I feel like I can put a true roll on the ball on any surface right now.

I'm excited. It hasn't been my greatest week of practice, but I feel like I've worked on all the right things to maximize my performance this week. I know it is going to be a good week because I'm in a place that I love doing something that I love, and I know that I'm going to do it well! Keep it here for another practice report before I tee it up for the first time in Q-school 2010 on Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back at Callaway Gardens

After having a great day of practice Monday at home in East TN, I made the trip down to Callaway Gardens on Tuesday. I got here in plenty of time to have a nice little practice session and then go out and walk nine holes. It's really cool to be practicing on the tournament site more than a week in advance of the event. With that said, I have to be really careful not to get trapped into over-thinking things. While proper preparation will definitely set me up to be successful next week when I play in the First Stage of Q-school here, I'm going to be sure to enjoy this week prior to the tournament rather than obsessing over every square inch of the golf course. I am very comfortable on this course, and I know that fairways, greens, and one-putts are always good. I'm just going to spend the next week playing the course and becoming more comfortable on and around the greens. Also, the facilities here are really nice, so there will be no shortage of practice time. I'm really going to have fun this week, and I will ensure that I'm ready to have even more fun next week when Q-school starts. Keep it here for practice reports and info about the course throughout the week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Good Weekend

I was "uncle Pete" for a couple days after wrapping up last week's Tarheel Tour event at Callaway Gardens, and that sure was fun. After the tournament ended on Thursday, I spent Friday and most of the day on Saturday in Cartersville, Georgia, hanging out with my sisters and my nephew and nieces. I did go play golf on Saturday morning, but my two days there were more or less just about relaxing and enjoying some time with family. It was a great time!

Saturday evening I made the trip back home, and I got back to work yesterday. (I call it work, but it's still just "play" for me.) I had a really good day of practice in which I worked on a little bit of everything. I definitely need to spend some really good time working on medium to long range wedge shots. I just never felt sharp in that "gotta-hit-it-close" range last week. I know that I am one of the best wedge players out there, so I just need to make sure I re-sharpen my feel and have that aspect of my game ready to go next week. I feel really comfortable with my ball-striking right now, and I'm really putting well, so I'll just be working to groove those areas of my game in the coming week. I really worked hard on my chipping and pitching yesterday and feel like I'm pretty sharp around the greens. My feel for lower, bump-and-run type shots is really developing quickly and easily, and I have already seen some great results using those shots in the tournament last week. I feel like every aspect of my game is pretty good right now.

I'm going to have a really good day of practice today. I'll probably spend a little time on all of the practice areas this morning and then head out on the course with three balls in my pocket to play this afternoon. At some point today, I'm going to take my shag-bag full of balls and hit wedges into a trash can from all different yardages. It's going to be a productive day!

Tomorrow I will head back to Callaway Gardens to continue practicing and preparing on the tournament course (and more specifically, the tournament greens). I really got comfortable on the bermuda putting surfaces last week, but some extra time to get more fully adjusted to them can only help. So I will continue to have good practice sessions there on-site at Callaway, and I know that I will be even more ready to go when Q-school starts for me next week than I am right now. I feel good about things now, and I know that this coming week will only solidify my confidence.

Keep it here for some practice reports from Callaway Gardens. It's going to be a good week!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Poor Final Round but Still Excited Moving Forward

I struggled in today's final round at Callaway Gardens. My ball-striking was just not quite there. I missed a lot of fairways, and never hit a short iron anywhere near my target. I putted well enough to survive and shot even-par 72 in some blustery conditions, but the course was giving up some good scores, and I fell back a little bit in the field. I ended up tied for 16th place. I'm definitely bummed because I wanted and expected to contend for the victory, but I'm very pleased with the way that I stayed positive and battled out a respectable score in each round. My game wasn't super sharp the last couple days, but with the right attitude, I feel like I can scrape out good scores no matter how I'm playing.

I'm really confident about my game right now. I believe that I have the ability to compete at any level. It's a cool feeling!

So now it's time to move forward. I'm going to enjoy a day of family time tomorrow hanging out with my two older sisters and my nieces and nephew in Cartersville, Georgia. My sis Laura is took a day off of work and flew down here to hang out for the weekend, so this is a special chance to be with both sisters at once. I may celebrate the occasion with a full day off from golf tomorrow, but I'd say I'll have some withdrawals and sneak out to some course for a little practice at some point. Saturday I'm going to play at the Cartersville Country Club in the morning and then head home to beautiful Dandridge, TN, for a couple days just to regroup and practice at my home tracks. Then I'll head back down to Callaway Gardens early next week and have five or six good days of practice there before Q-school starts.

I'm excited about how my game has developed in the past year, and I'm particularly excited about the way my mindset about both my game and my career has improved. This is a cool time of year. I'm going to use the next couple of weeks to really sharpen my game, and I can't wait to tee it up again at Callaway Gardens in First Stage! Keep it here for practice and preparation reports between now and then!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So Close to Good in Round 2

I had a day of ups and downs in round 2 on the Mountain View course at Callaway Gardens. For the first seven holes, some sketchy ball-striking was kept in check by a really hot putter. I did three-putt the par-3 seventh hole to make my second bogey of the day, but I also rolled in three really good birdie putts during that stretch. In the middle of the round on holes 8-14, I had it inside of ten feet for birdie on every hole, but disappointingly only converted three of the putts. Unfortunately neither the ball-striking nor the putting was great in the closing four holes, and I played them in one over par to finish my second round with a three-under-par 69. That is not a bad score at all, but I definitely was playing well enough in the middle of the round to shoot something much lower and be in prime position with just one round remaining in the tournament.

As it stands now, I am in a large tie for 12th place at seven under par. The leaders at at 11 under, so I am only four shots back, but there a lot of people around the top of the board. I definitely feel like I have a chance to win tomorrow, but I am going to be very certain that my goals tomorrow are centered around committing to a game plan and my routine on every shot rather than thinking of the overall outcome. I may try to be slightly more aggressive with some shots tomorrow, but for the most part I will be trying to follow my weeklong strategy of choosing smart targets and letting my putter carry me to a great round.

I tee it up at 8:50 tomorrow morning. It's supposed to be a very windy day, so maybe it will get interesting. I'm going to stay in the present and trust my routine on every shot, so if I execute well and get hot with the putter like I know that I can, it might be a special day! Check back here to see how it goes!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Solid Start

My execution was surprisingly erratic today in round one, but my game plan was good and my short game bailed me out a few times as I fought my way to a bogey-free, four-under-par round of 66 on the Lake View course at Callaway Gardens. I played from the rough too many times and had to scramble very well around the greens on a few holes, but I had to make only one putt outside of five feet to save par and actually gave away two make-able putts in the closing three holes that could have made my score better. All-in-all, I'm happy with my score, thrilled with my commitment to my game plan, and only slightly disappointed in my execution.

I've got to tell one story from today's round that really showed me the power of being positive. The 9th hole is the first of just two par-5 holes on the Lake View course. Both are reachable, so I definitely wanted to take advantage of them. The fairway on the 9th must be 50 yards wide, but I hit a wild hook off of the tee and watched helplessly as it hit the cart path and bounced into a lake so far left that it's not really in play on the tee shot. I never really even acknowledged the horribleness of the shot, but rather just walked down there to see what would be my best option for a drop. Because the hole doglegs to the left around the lake, I could keep the point where the ball crossed the hazard between me and the hole and walk backwards far enough to take my drop away from the thick trees that line the lake. I thought my way through the drop and made a smart decision and proceeded to hit a nice six iron up the fairway to 90 yards, hit a really sharp wedge shot to ten feet behind a tough pin tucked against a front bunker, and roll in the putt to save my par. To most guys, a par on that hole was a huge disappointment, but to me, it felt every bit as sweet as a birdie and kept my round moving forward. I'm so glad I didn't gripe and moan about the tee shot and let it get me down. I just try to smile and keep going, and that has made a lot of difference.

I have not looked at scores, so I really don't know how I stand. I know that I definitely played the easier of the two courses today, but I doubt it was easier by very much. Tomorrow when I move to the Mountain View course, I am going to keep a very similar game plan. Mountain View allows me to hit driver on almost every non-par-3 hole, and that is what I plan to do. I'm going to drive it in the fairway, and continue to be fairly conservative with the tough hole locations. The course will offer a steady diet of wedges and short irons into the greens, so if I execute well, even my conservative game plan should leave me with a lot of very make-able birdie putts. I'm growing more and more comfortable on the greens each day, and I'm confident that I will continue to putt the ball very well. I'm feeling good, and I think I can shoot a great score on the Mountain View course in round two.

I tee it up at 11:10 in the second round. I'm going to commit to another solid game plan, and trust it on every shot. It's going to be a great day. Check back here to hear all about it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Comfortable

I've had a great couple days down here at Callaway Gardens getting ready for this week's Tarheel Tour event. Callaway has 36 holes, and we will play both the Lake View and Mountain View courses for the first two rounds of the tournament. I have spent the last couple days becoming reacquainted with both courses. The Mountain View course is the championship course here at Callaway Gardens (and the course on which I will play the first stage of Q-school in two weeks), but the much shorter Lake View course is going to be a fun and challenging venue for tournament golf as well. Both courses are playing firm and fast, and that is something I have not seen before in my time here. Short irons and wedges will be the norm on either course, but accuracy from the tee and precision with short clubs will be required for success this week. The bermuda rough is high, and the greens are extremely bouncy. Birdies will definitely be abundant, and scores will be low, but good execution will be at a premium in all facets of the game. I love these types of conditions, and I'm excited to get started!

I tee it up tomorrow morning at 9:10 on the shorter Lake View course. I feel like many people are going to approach the 6,100-yard course with an I-have-to-birdie-every-hole type of mindset, but I don't think that is the case at all. I'm going to try my best to be very patient and give myself a look at birdie on every hole. I know that a lot of the hole locations are going to be very tucked, and I know that missing the greens on the short-side will not be good with the rough being very thick around the greens. I want to play fairly conservatively off the tee and then hit my wedges a few feet on the safe side of all of the tucked pins. Though I'm not 100% comfortable on the grainy bermuda greens here, I know that if I give myself a lot of good looks at birdie putts, I can get the putter rolling. I'm going to stick to that game plan and trust myself on every shot tomorrow. It's going to be a good day!

After round one tomorrow, I'll move to the Mountain View course for round two on Wednesday. I'll talk more about that tomorrow night. Check back here for a good report from round in the evening.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rolling into Friendly Territory

I had a great morning on Saturday before hitting the road to start my trip down to Callaway Gardens. I was up before the sun and got packed so that when the sun did come up, I could be productive! I got in a really good run and then went out to Dandridge Golf Club for some good practice at the place where I learned to play the game. Everything seemed pretty solid, and I'm feeling great.

In the afternoon I traveled three hours to Cartersville, Georgia, where my oldest sister, Gina, lives with her husband and three young kids. I got to be Uncle Pete for the night, which is tons of fun!

I'll be off to Pine Mountain first thing Sunday morning, though, and that is good news, too. A couple different families at Callaway Gardens have adopted me, so going there is a homecoming of sorts, and I really like the golf courses, too. I feel like this week could be a really good one for me. I'm going to get a couple of practice rounds on Sunday and Monday, and I can't wait to get there and get started.

Keep it here for updates as the week progresses. It's going to be a fun one!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Another Good Step

Today was a good day of practice. I actually did not practice all that much, but I played a semi-competitive round of golf. After a good warm-up session on the range, one of my best friends, Jonathon Hodge, joined me for a match at The Country Club in Morristown, TN. We played 18 holes of stroke play with pretty high stakes: $5.

While Jonathon played really solidly like he always does, my putter got really hot, and I put up a little 63 on him to take the match. My ball-striking was just okay, but my short game looked and felt awesome. I putted great, and my chipping was very good as well. In fact, I chipped one in today using my 54 degree wedge and got a couple of other shots up-and-down using something other than my 60 degree. I'm really excited to see my new venture around the greens showing so much promise.

Obviously a friendly match with with a good pal doesn't exactly replicate a tournament, but it is always nice to post a good low number. Although my game still does not feel as sharp as it has at times, I know that I can manage my way around the course and shoot a good score. I'm going to do some practicing and get that lovin' feeling back in all areas of my game so that when I go Georgia next week, I'll be firing on all cylinders.

Keep it here for more good stuff!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Maturing

The last couple of days have been really good. I have let myself sleep in a little in celebration of the first cool mornings of the year, but have still been up and at 'em in time to get in some good workouts and then full afternoons of practice. While my practice hasn't been the sharpest I've had all year, I can definitely tell that I am maturing because I am able to overcome some frustrating moments and have very productive practices. While I haven't had my best stuff, I've never doubted that I'm still on the right track, and I have left the course feeling good each of the last two days.

Today was a particularly good example of that. I had a nice short session on the driving range and spent some quality time on the practice green before heading out with three balls in my pocket to walk nine holes. On the first two holes, I hit some embarassingly bad golf shots. In the past, I might have called the day a waste and walked back to the range to mindlessly beat some balls before going home frustrated. Instead, I made a conscious effort to trust my routine on every shot and chose to believe that I could execute better. I started to hit some good shots on my third hole of the day and ended up feeling awesome about the way I played. It was exciting to be able to see so clearly the benefits of my constantly improving attitude.

In other news about my game, I made a somewhat radical decision yesterday. I have long stood by a philosophy of chipping exclusively with one club. For me, that one club was the 60 degree wedge. I practiced with it and trusted it to hit each and every variety of chip or pitch shot I could face... until yesterday. I'm experimenting with some less lofted clubs around the green and trying to work some different types of shots into my short game arsenal. I believe that with some practice, I will develop a feel for some bump-and-run type of shots and with them be able to execute much more consistantly from all sorts of lies around the greens. I'm very excited by some of the early results of this practice, and I believe that some new techniques could be fully incorporated into my game when Q-school begins in three weeks. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

I'm excited about the way things are going. I've got a few more days here at home to continue to hone my game and get that lovin' feeling all the way back, and then I'll be heading down to Callaway Gardens for a Tarheel Tour Fall Series event. Keep it here for more practice reports as I prepare to put another tally in the win column next week!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Not Good Today but Feeling Good

I played pretty lousy today in the Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour's Chattanooga Classic. I am definitely bummed that I didn't qualify and that I couldn't continue my really solid play of late, but I still feel very good about my game. I hit a few poor tee shots, one lousy three wood from the fairway, and a bunch of mediocre iron shots that all contributed to no-good score of 73 for the day.

There are still plenty of positive things that I can take from today. For the most part I drove the ball well, and, though I really didn't get anything to go in on the greens for birdie, I made some nice putts in the 4-6 foot range. I definitely feel like I almost played well, and I'm still feeling very good about my game moving forward.

I'll be spending this whole week at home with my Parents in Tennessee. That means a lot of quality practice time and some refreshing relaxing evenings. I'll also be able to continue working out and running, which is something that helps me feel ready to be my best. Though I wish I was playing in Chattanooga, I will definitely use this week to continue getting better and becoming more prepared for the rest of the year.

I don't have to wait long to get the competitive juices flowing again. I'll be playing next week in a Tarheel (Egolf) Tour event at Callaway Gardens. The tournament is Ocotober 12-14, and the venue is a place where I feel very much at home. I think it's time that I add a mini-tour victory to the state open triumphs I collected in the Midwest!

Keep it here for practice reports and more information during the week. I'm going to do better keeping my blog current! Thank you for following!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nationwide Ready

I'm sorry for the lack of between-tournament updates on here. I'm going to do better!

I'm back in Tennessee and have been continuing to have very good practice sessions and move forward with my game. The Nationwide Tour is in Chattanooga this week, and I'm playing in the Monday Qualifier tomorrow at Cleveland Country Club. I'm feeling really good about my game, and I know that if I stay relaxed and just play a solid round, I'll be making another Nationwide start this week.

Check back here tomorrow for some good news and some info about the tournament!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Winner Winner #2

It was a long (but very fun) day today at Old Hawthorne in the second and final round of the Missouri Open. In an effort to get the entire field out in one wave, tournament directors decided that play would be in groups of four, so the pace was definitely a drag all day. Fortunately, there was enough drama in the final groups to keep things interesting. I started the day one behind the low professional in the field and two behind the tournament leader. Both were in my group, so that made for some excitement.

I got off to a very good start in terms of ball striking. I had good looks at birdie on four of the first five holes, but played that stretch one over par. My putting was less than stellar, obviously. I told myself walking down the sixth fairway that I was going to putt awesome the rest of the day. I never did putt awesome, but I got things turned around. I had fallen three shots behind the low professional through six holes, but birdied holes 8 and 9 to turn at one under par and stand just one shot behind. After starting the back nine with a sloppy par and a bogey at the 11th, I found myself three behind again. I was determined to stick to my game plan and try to play solid golf regardless of what any of my competitors did, and I was more or less able to do that.

I made a great birdie on the par-four 13th; converted a great up and down for birdie at the par-five 15th; and got up and down from 68 yards for birdie on the 17th. Walking up the 17th fairway tied with the professional in my group, one of the officials told us that the groups ahead had fallen away from the lead. I knew that I had a battle with the guy in my group and we were tied at that point. We both birdied 17 and had great looks at birdie on the 18th. I putted first at the last and missed my 10 footer and watched nervously as his putt from the same distance slid to the left of the hole. It would be a playoff.

I wasted little time in the playoff. I busted a drive right down the middle of the first fairway, hit a three quarter sand wedge about fifteen feet behind the hole and rolled in the birdie to seal the victory on the first extra hole.

Winning in Columbia, MO, at Old Hawthorne is really a cool feeling. I have a ton of good friends who have supported me and cheered for me here, and this feels like a win for home team! I was way more nervous than I would have liked to have been at a lot of times on the back nine, but I always believed in myself and was able to get it done. It feels great!

Thank you for following and keep it here to see what's next. There is more excitement to come!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Playing Solid; Okay Score in Round 1

I'm not at all thrilled with the score I shot in the first round of the Missouri Open at Old Hawthorne today, but I really did like the way I played. I missed very few fairways and seemed to have things pretty well under control all day. I was bogey-free and three under par through 14 holes, and absolutely striped a drive into the wind on the par-five 15th. Facing 225 yards into a strong wind, I tried to hit a good high three wood so that the wind could knock it down and help it fly the correct yardage. I executed fairly well, but pulled the shot just a little and had to watch it knife through the wind and end up in a hazard long and left of the green. I failed to convert the tough up and down after my drop and made bogey. I made a poor swing on the next hole and hit a six iron way over the green into another hazard and made a great up and down to save bogey after dropping. I recovered with a nice put for a birdie on the 18th to end the round on a good note, but my opening round score of 70 tasted a little bitter after giving two back close to the end.

That being said, I'm pumped! My game is good. I'm excited. Everything felt pretty comfortable today. I drove it well and putted nicely. My wedge play left a lot to be desired, but I really feel like I'm playing well. It will be interesting to see where that score puts me heading into tomorrow's final round, but I know for certain that I will be within striking distance! I'm going to keep having fun, and I feel like I'll shoot something low tomorrow! Check here tomorrow for a good report!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still Moving Forward; Ready to Win Again

It has been a really productive ten days since my win in the Nebraska Open. I was back in Columbia, Missouri the day after that tournament and quickly got back into a good practice routine. I have been working to tighten up some looseness off of the tee while just trying to keep "that lovin' feeling" in other areas of my game. I have had some really good practices and some not so good, but I feel really good about the status of my game.

One somewhat disappointing thing that happened last week was the discovery of a slight flaw in my putting stroke. I have been working all year to make sure that hands aren't involved in my takeaway and that the putter head doesn't swing back too far to the inside of the target line. The past couple months I have been rolling the ball very well, so I was a little bummed when one of my former teammates helped me discover that I had exaggerated what I was working on earlier this year to the point where the putter head was actually traveling quite a bit outside the target line in my backstroke. I was tempted to ignore this information and continue doing what I've been doing because my putting has been really good of late, but I know that a flawed path will ultimately lead to inconsistent putting. I set up a few drills on the putting green and had a couple of frustrating days of feeling awkward and uncomfortable over the putter, but I am feeling very good about it now, and I know that I will be a more consistently good putter for working on this now.

Other than just some really good, full days of practice, the last couple weeks have been really good for me because I've been working my way back into a great workout routine. Fitness has always been something that has been important to me--as much for just feeling good in general as for excelling in golf. The hectic schedule of the summer made it tough to get in full workouts, so I just didn't do very much working out at all. I never really felt like I was out of shape or anything like that, but I could tell that I wasn't as limber and athletic as I have been in the past. So when I got home from my second Nationwide Event on Labor Day weekend, I committed myself to getting back into a good routine, even if I did have to start with really short, light workouts and runs. I have been very good about sticking to my plan, and this past week have even surprised myself with some longer runs and more intense workouts. I'm feeling great, and I know that a good level of fitness can only help me on the course.

It's getting close to Go Time again, now. The Missouri Open is this Friday and Saturday at Old Hawthorne, which has been my home course while in Columbia for the past three years. My game is every bit as sharp as it was in Nebraska, and now I'm going to be competing at a place that I know better than anyone else in the field. I need to have another good day of practice tomorrow and do a good job of staying present and trusting my routine for one shot at a time, but I'm really feeling good about this event. The tournament is just 36 holes, and it starts Friday morning. Keep it here for good news after each round!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Winner Winner!

I didn't make it terribly easy on myself, but I played some great golf today and captured my first winner's check. Flawless ball-striking through the first seven holes gave way to a few erratic shots in the next eleven holes, but my attitude was great and I managed to hit more good shots than bad on my way to a five-under-par final-round 66, which was good enough to capture the Nebraska Open by one shot.

My first bad shot of the day came at the par-three 8th hole where I pulled a five iron into a pond left of the green. I swung momentum in my corner, however, when I calmly dropped on the side of the pond's bank and got up and down for a bogey. I then birdied holes 10 and 13 to carry a two-shot lead into the last five holes. That's where I made things adventurous. While I felt confident and really did trust my routine, I missed the fairway on each remaining hole with the exception of the par-three 17th. Playing from the rough or trees, I scrambled my way to a bunch or pars and even managed a birdie from the trees on the reachable par-five 15th. My scrambling saved me during that stretch of holes, and I iced the victory with a long chip from short and right of the 18th green which I cozied within inches of the back left hole location.

I am very pleased with the way things went today. I felt some nerves but handled them fairly well. I definitely have some work to do as I did hit a few wayward shots, but I feel like I'm really managing my game nicely right now. I'm very excited moving forward.

It's time to keep getting better and go get win number two!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Good Play and Good Position

I got a pleasant surprise today hours after completing my second round in the Nebraska Open. I played very well and shot a six-under-par round of 65 but never imagined that my ten-under-par total of 132 would have me in the lead by myself heading into tomorrow's final round. That's exactly where I am, though!

Today's round was a lot of fun. With my good friend Charlie Schorgl caddying, I stayed really relaxed all day and played a very solid round. A couple of loose tee shots and a few missed opportunities around the greens cost me a few shots today, but for the most part all aspects of my game were very good. I made six birdies and no bogeys and felt pretty comfortable all day.

Tomorrow is going to be a fun day. I'll be in the last group of the day at 10:50, and I'm sure that if I stay relaxed and continue to go through my routine on every shot, I will continue to play well. I'm going to really enjoy the experience tomorrow, and I really believe that I will play a great round! Check here for the good news tomorrow evening.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Good Start in NE Open

It was an interesting first round for me at the easy Elks Country Club in Columbus, Nebraska. I hit a lot of good shots and felt good about my game all day, but found a way to struggle on a lot of the easy holes. I did make four birdies and an eagle, however, and managed to post an opening round of four-under-par 67. I holed a 61-yard wedge shot on my last hole of the day for eagle, so I've got some good momentum heading into day two. 64 is in the lead right now, and I'm sure that if I keep smiling and having fun, I will find myself in good shape after the next two rounds. I peg it at 9:30 tomorrow morning, so I had better get some sleep, but check back here for a good report from round two!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ready in Nebraska

After having a great Labor Day weekend with my family and good friends, it was back to business as usual on Tuesday morning. A really solid practice session with Bobbo on Tuesday morning got me ready to hit the road for the Midwest feeling good about my game. I rolled into Columbia, MO, late Tuesday night and have had two of my best days of practice all summer the past two days. I made the trip to Nebraska this afternoon, and I'm staying with my good friends in Lincoln and getting ready for a late tee time tomorrow afternoon in the Nebraska Open.

The tournament is Fri, Sat, Sun at Elks Country Club in Columbus, Nebraska. Last year I made my professional debut in the same event. I'm really excited to come back to the same venue with a year of experience under my belt and see how much more comfortable I feel. I'm confident with my game and with my mindset right now, and I really expect that I will be in contention for a win this week.

Keep it here for updates over the weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bummer in Pittsburgh but Feeling Good

I couldn't ride the momentum of last week's Nationwide success into this week's event in Pittsburgh. Though I played very well for quite a bit of the event, I made too many mistakes and just couldn't seem to make any birdies today in round two. I did a lot of things right, but posted a second round 75 to stand at four-over-par 146 for the event. It looks like the cut will likely fall at 142, but in any event, I will not be around for the weekend. I'm definitely bummed, but I know that my game is strong and that I belong at this level. In fact, I know that with more experience and a little more consistency, I can play at the highest level. As much as I wish I was getting ready for the third round of this week's event, I am really pumped about the last two weeks!

I've got some more stuff coming up on the schedule, and I'm excited to go get some wins! Check here in the next couple days for a report about what lies ahead.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Solid Golf (for the most part) in Round 1

I played great in the first round. I hit the first ten greens and was never outside of 25 feet for birdie during that stretch. I got three putts to fall during that stretch, and had it three under par through the first ten holes. On the par five 11th, I hooked a tee shot into a creek and completely misjudged the lie of my ball. Though my ball ended up on a grassy area in the creek, the grass behind the ball and the ground underneath it where extremely thick and wet. I swung hard at a wedge but only advanced the ball a couple of feet into the stream. The mistake led to a double bogey and kind of thwarted my momentum. I played hard the rest of the way, but just couldn't get any of my good looks at birdie to fall. One more poor driver swing on 15 caused another missed green and a bogey, but other than that, I had a good look at birdie on each hole coming in. My even-par total of 71 today is definitely a disappointing score given how well I played, but I know that I can keep it going tomorrow and shoot a really low number. I tee it up at 9:20, and I am going to play well and have a lot of fun. It's going to be a good day. Come check back here for a post-round update!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In Pittsburgh Gettin Ready

Coming off the exciting finish in my first Nationwide Tour event in Knoxville, I have had an exciting and busy couple of days. Monday morning I had a very good short practice session back home before loading up and starting the journey north to Pittsburgh for this week's Nationwide event. My friend Buddy McMahan made the trip with me and is going to be on the bag this week. It is really cool to have a friend on the road with me!

Today I had a really productive day at the tournament site--a course called Southpointe Golf Club just outside of Pittsburgh. I played a practice round in the morning, spent a lot of time on the practice facilities this afternoon, and then walked the front nine again this evening with just my wedge and putter to get in some extra study time on and around the greens. I feel very comfortable on the course, and I'm excited about the potential to have a great week. The course is a little crazy with massive elevation changes and a lot of blind shots, but it requires a good variety of shots and also demands some precision in a lot spots. I feel like the course will not be popular with a lot of the players because a few holes are a little quirky, but I really like it and expect to play very well here.

Tomorrow I will not be able to practice on the tournament course. Luckily my friend Mike Van Sickle lives very near where I am and is going to have me out to his home course to play. It should be a fun and relaxing (though definitely competitive) day of practice, and I think it will be just the right tune up for the tournament.

The tournament starts Thursday. Keep it here for all the updates!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Exciting Debut

I'll start by saying this: while being home for a tournament has a million advantages, good internet access is not one of them. The Malnati clan lives in older times without ESPN or an internet service that doesn't come through a telephone modem. That is why my blog has not received its usual daily attention.

The lack of news certainly doesn't mean bad news, though. After Monday Qualifying into the Nationwide Tour event in Knoxville this past week, I took advantage of the opportunity to play my first PGA sanctioned event near my hometown. Playing on Fox Den Country Club's Par 72 layout, I shot rounds 70 and 69 the first two days to advance to the weekend before a Saturday 70 and a Sunday 67 resulted in a 12-under-par total for the week and a tie for 16th place.

I battled nerves and loose tee balls on the tight golf course on Thursday and Friday, but some strong iron play and good putting helped keep my scores reasonable. On the weekend, I provided some real excitement. Standing on the ninth tee at one under par for my third round on Saturday, I hit a driver and a 115 yard pitching wedge into the hole for an eagle. I then went to the the par-five 10th and holed a flop shot from just right of the green for a second consecutive eagle. Standing on the 11th tee at ten under par for the event, I was in third place! That was a very cool feeling. I think I got a little bit ahead of myself in that situation, however, and I let things start moving a little too quickly. A three-putt bogey and a skulled lob wedge that bounced off of a cart path and ended up out of bounds resulted in a three-over-par two-hole stretch at numbers 13 and 14 that quickly dropped my name off of the leaderboard. I made four great pars to finish my third round at two-under-par and keep myself in position to make a move on Sunday.

I entered the fourth round tied for 35th in the tournament. On the Nationwide Tour, players who are not exempt from qualifying can earn a spot in the next week's tournament by finishing in the top 25. This had been in the back of my mind ever since I was able to successfully Monday Qualify. I knew it would take a solid final round to reach the top 25, but I felt like I could definitely do it. I played my best round of the week on Sunday. My ball-striking was very good, and I putted the ball well, too. I hit 16 greens and, despite suffering a three-putt, really putted well all day. The end result was a round of 67 that jumped me to 16th place and earned me a spot in next week's event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

So, now that I have finally written to catch you up on the exciting news from this past week, I need to start packing my bags so that I can hit the road for Pittsburgh tomorrow morning! What an exciting opportunity! This week proved to me that I can compete at this level, so I am excited for the opportunity to go out and play again this coming week! I will get a practice round in on Tuesday, and the tournament will begin on Thursday. And though I will not have the comforts of home this time, I will have some internet, so please expect daily updates!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Nationwide Tour Start

I Monday Qualified. After missing by either one or two shots in every Monday Qualifier I have ever entered, I got through one yesterday! My 67 at Toqua Golf Club held up quite nicely and even had a couple shot to spare. So I'll be making my first Nationwide Tour start this week in my home-town event, the Knoxville Open. It's really cool, and I'm excited!

I played a practice round today at Fox Den Country Club, the event's host course, and I really liked what I saw. It's an old-school type of Country Club with a lot of dog legs and narrow fairways. The greens, which are medium sized with a lot of suttle undulation, were already starting to get medium firm today, and if the forecasted weather for the week comes to fruition, they could be very firm later in the week. The course will definitely require precision both off of the tee and into the greens, but birdie opportunities are available at nearly every hole. The course suits my game very nicely, and I'm pumped to tee it up on Thursday.

Because of the Wednesday Pro-Am, I will not have much access to the course tomorrow. I'll be able to get in some good practice, though, and will definitely have my game ready to go Thursday.

This is an exciting opportunity, but I'm really just going to think of it as another day at the office. I tee it up at 2:20 on the 10th hole Thursday afternoon, and you can bet that I'll have a smile on my face! I have a feeling it's going to be there all week... Maybe even late on Sunday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Looking Good for Knoxville Open

I played really well today at Toqua Golf Club in the Monday Qualifier for the Knoxville Open. I shot 67, and I'm standing alone in second place with over half of the field done for the day. With seven spots available in the tournament, it's looking pretty likely that I'll qualify. I will be heading back to the course soon so that I will be ready if a late barrage of low scores force me into a playoff, but regardless of the results, I am quite pleased with the way I played today.

I hit all but three fairways and missed just four greens on my way to a six-birdie, one-bogey round. I left a few shots out there by failing on relatively easy up-and-downs on three of the four par fives, but I made up for that by hitting a lot of really good mid-irons for some short birdie putts. While too much caution on the fast, bumpy greens cost me a few birdie putts that I hoped to make, I putted very well overall today. In fact, I made a clutch twelve footer for birdie on the 16th hole and followed it up with a great five foot comeback putt after getting too aggressive with a long birdie putt on 17. It felt really good to putt the ball well.

I'll update this later tonight with the final results of the qualifier, but I played very well and it's looking good for now. My game is good, and I sure hope I get to make my first Nationwide Tour start this week!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ready to Monday Qualify in Knoxville

I'm feeling good! I play at Toqua Golf Club tomorrow in the Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour's Knoxville Open. I'm staying in my own bed tonight and will drive to the course on the southwest side of Knoxville tomorrow morning in plenty of time for my 10:00 a.m. tee time.

I played at Toqua today, and while it's not my favorite course, it is absolutely one that suits my game just fine, and I am really excited to shoot a good score tomorrow. The course is fairly short and winds through a residential area on Lake Loudon. Accuracy and intelligence are required off of the tee, and accurate wedge play will be the key for birdies. The greens are not in very good shape right now, so putting will be a little bit dicey, but I'm certain that if I stay committed to my routine and hit good putts, I will get plenty of them to fall.

As with most Nationwide Qualifiers, a field of about 140 guys will be playing for seven spots in the event. While those numbers seem daunting, I am absolutely certain that I am one of the seven best players competing, so I am going to play intelligent golf and execute well, and I'm confident that I will be a happy guy at the end of the day tomorrow.

Keep it here and I'll let you know about it tomorrow. And then I'll give you a pre-tournament report for the actual Knoxville Open!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Good Times and Good Practice

I'm enjoying my time in Columbia, Missouri. I've been able to catch up with a lot of my best friends and supporters while also getting in some quality practice.

I have to share a story from my practice today. I was going about my business on the driving range working on a few things that haven't felt just right lately, and after getting it tuned up quite nicely, I decided that I would go play nine holes. While walking to the first tee, I saw a foursome of former teammates walking off the ninth and noticed that one of them was saying goodbye to the others. The three remaining were Englishmen Will Harrold and Stuart Ballingall and Columbia, MO, native Nick Wilson. I partnered with Nick on the back nine as we took on the Brits in a Ryder Cup preview match. Despite Harrold's four-birdie effort, I made three birdies and an eagle to carry the Yanks to a thrilling one-up victory. It was a lot of fun, and my game looked and felt very good.

I did some short game work after playing today and really feel like I'm still firing on all cylinders. I need to keep fine tuning everything and make sure that the putting stays sharp, but I feel great.

I'll be heading home on Friday to start getting ready for the Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour event in Knoxville. I'm going to get in this one! Keep it here for an update beforehand.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Golf Game is Like the Weather... Hot!

Okay, that subject line is admittedly a little corny, but it speaks two truths about the last week since my near miss in the Monday Qualifier at last week's Nationwide Event. My game has continued to feel effortlessly good, and the weather has been almost unbearably hot. For the first time since turning professional last September, my job actually felt like work this past week. I had to force myself to practice in temperatures that reached the triple digits with air that had a humid stillness which made it absolutely stifling. My practice sessions were frustrating and shorter than usual, but I made it a point to walk at least nine holes every day, and I really feel like I got both better and tougher mentally.

I also had the opportunity to play in a couple of charity "pro-ams" associated with the Nationwide Tour event last week even though I didn't quite get into the tournament. The idea behind a Pro-Am is that amateur golfers from the local community will put together a four-man team and pay an entry fee to get to play with a professional golfer for 18 holes. I enjoy the opportunity to do this because it gives me the chance to get to know some new people and help them with their golf games (if they want me to) while also showing off a little! I definitely like to have fun when I play golf, and I like being able to share some light-heartedness on the course with others.

Some really good news from Missouri is that temperatures are returning to the low 90's or even 80's for this week. I'm going to hang out in Columbia for a few days and take advantage of the good weather and the great practice facilities that are available to me here. A week from today I will tee it up in another Monday qualifier for a Nationwide Tour event, and this time it will be near my hometown in East Tennessee. I'm going to treat it like any other qualifier, but I will admit that it would be particularly sweet to make my Nationwide Tour debut so close to home.

I'll keep you posted as my practice intensifies over the course of this week. Good things are coming, and I'm excited!

Monday, August 9, 2010

They Say You've Got to Be There...

I'm a heartbroken little pup right now. My game has been so good lately and today was no exception in the Monday Qualifier for this week's Nationwide Tour event in Springfield, Missouri. I played today at a course called Rivercut Golf Course after getting into town and riding the course at about 4:00 in the afternoon yesterday. My play was darn near flawless from tee-to-green. I hit all 18 greens in regulation and had a good look at birdie on all but two holes. I had it six under heading to the par-five 18th, and after a poor drive played two solid iron shots to sit some forty feet from the hole. Knowing that two putts would likely get me into the event, I couldn't calm my nerves enough to do it. I left the first putt some two and a half feet short and made a very nervous stroke to miss the second putt. It was a 67, and the 66's qualified.

I'm so disappointed with the way I handled that situation on the closing green. I just was not thinking clearly. I was nervous, and I hit both of my putts without really committing to or trusting anything. I am okay with the fact that I am going to execute poorly from time to time, but I cannot accept the fact that it was a matter of thinking poorly that cost me in this situation.

With that said, it is over now, and all I can do is learn from it. I'm super-excited about the status of my game right now. I'm hitting so many quality golf shots and really do feel like my putting is coming around. I know that good things are coming, and I'm certain that the next time I am in the position that I was today, I will stay calm, think properly and get a better result. I know that I will be there again soon!

Check back here in a couple days for a practice report and to see what's coming up next.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sorry for the Delay--Rounds 3 and 4 Report

I know this news is late in coming, but it is good. I played a disappointing third round that included a ball out of play on the par-five 2nd hole and more missed opportunities on the greens before resulting in an even-par total of 72. However, in the final round, I vaulted back up the leaderboard with a great score of 66. After a one-under-par first nine in the final round, I made the turn and got hot. I birdied holes two through six before a poor break off the tee on the seventh led to a bogey, but I finished strong with a great birdie on the par-five 9th. The final round bumped me up to a tie for 10th place. I'm excited to have finished so strongly and placed well in the very strong field.

My confidence is definitely high right now. I'm on the road out to Missouri where I will Monday qualify into a Nationwide Tour event in Springfield on Monday. More on that will be coming soon. Thank you for following, and I'm sorry for the delay in this week's updates.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good but Frustrating in Round 2

My game is as good as I have ever seen it. I'm hitting the ball beautifully and my touch around the greens is pretty darn good. On the greens, however, I'm giving up shots left and right by not converting make-able birdie putts. My ball-striking today was better than yesterday, as I missed just two fairways and two greens, but I was not able to capitolize with as low of a score as my iron play warranted. With two three-putt bogeys and a plethora of missed birdie opportunities from inside fifteen feet, I still managed to shoot 68 and move up the leaderboard considerably.

In its softened state, the course is yielding some great scores. The leader is now fifteen under par for the event. While I am a full ten shots back, I'm in 14th place right now. I'm not going to think about "catching" the leader the next couple days, but I know that with an improving putter, I'll be able to get it deep into red numbers over the weekend, and I'm excited to see how far I can climb.

I'm just going to continue to play intelligently aggressive golf and trust that my skills on the greens (which are good) will convert my good ball-striking into the results for which I've been looking. I tee it up at 9:15 tomorrow morning, and my putter is going to be just like the weather: scorching hot!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Not a Great Start but Feeling Good!

The Spring Creek Golf Club here in Charlottesville, Virginia, is an absolutely beautiful and challenging course. The course has great bentgrass fairways that are very wet right now, so the course, which is normally medium length, is playing very long this week. While the fairways are usually generous, some pretty severe fairway bunkers and dense woods line virtually every hole. The real challenge, though, exists on and around the greens. Very fast putting surfaces combined with significant undulations and a lot of run-off chipping areas make accurate iron shots and great short game touch a must to have a successful round. It's a great course which definitely offers a good challenge, but with greens rolling perfectly and soft conditions, good scores are still very much available.

I played two practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday, and felt pretty good going into today's first round. Though I actually had a lousy warm-up session this morning, I went out and played a beautiful round. I hit all but three fairways and hit 15 greens in regulation. On most all of those 15 greens, I had a very make-able look at birdie, but I could only manage to make three of them and had to settle for a disappointing score of one-under-par 71. I just wasn't very comfortable on the greens today. I feel like I hit a lot of good putts, but never seemed to have the break figured quite properly. I'm really confident that I'm going to continue to roll the ball well, and I know that they will start going in tomorrow.

My round today has me just behind the middle of the pack. Scores were pretty low with the lead belonging to a couple of guys at 65. We are only one fourth of the way done this week. With three rounds left, I feel like I can definitely get myself back into contention. I tee it up at 8:20 tomorrow morning, and I'm going to shoot something low!

Check back here for an update after round 2.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Little PT Inspiration

I left East Tennessee yesterday afternoon to head northeast in the direction of the Tarheel Tour Championship in Charlottesville, VA. The event doesn't start until Wednesday, so I overshot that destination just a little to spend some time with my sister, Laura, in Washington, D.C. After a fun evening walking around the city and throwing the light-up frisbee by the Washington Monument last night, we were up early for some golf this morning. Playing with three Physical Therapists, I was out of my ranks intellectually, but my golf game stacked up just fine. I need to give a shout out to Ken Herbel and Ben Keeton (Jackson Clinics Physical Therapy) for the inspiring performances on the course this morning. I played really well, and feel great going into the Tour Championship this week.

I'll be heading down to Charlottesville to begin preparing at Spring Creek Golf Club tomorrow morning. With my team of PTs behind me, I'm confident it's going to be a great week!

Check back here for an update before the tournament starts on Wednesday.

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...