Monday, May 31, 2010

Good Feelings!

Since my early exit from last week's tourny, I have had three really good days of practice. I played 36 holes a day with my buddy Mike Van Sickle on Friday and Sunday and also had a really good practice session on Saturday. My game has been great. I'm driving it better, and all other areas are feeling really good!

I'm off to Conover, North Carolina this morning to a place called Rock Barn Golf Club. I'll play a couple of practice round over the next two days and then tee it up Wednesday in the this week's event. I will be confident standing on that first tee. Check back here for some pre-tournament practice reports.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Still on the Brink

Not this week, my friends! Every part of my game felt ready heading into this week, and every part except one looked good in the tournament. Unfortunately, I drove the ball too poorly on too many occasions to recover. In today's second round, I sprayed the driver all over the course, and despite solid iron play, wedge play, and putting, I could only muster an even-par round of 71. That left me with a two-over-par total of 143 for the tournament and a missed cut by five shots.

That result is another disappointment, but I sure am feeling better than I was earlier in the year. I know that I am truly close to playing well, and I cannot wait to do so. I am going to take advantage of the next couple days to get in some good practice and tidy up my driver while further sharpening the rest of my game.

The Tarheel Tour is in action again next week at a place called Rock Barn Golf Course, which is in Conover, North Carolina (near Hickory, about an hour north of Charlotte). I'm going to remain upbeat, and I'll head into next week's event again feeling like I'm going to be in contention at the end. I'm really going to make it happen. Keep the faith, fans--good things are coming soon!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Surprisingly Bad in Round 1

Man, I thought I was playing great heading into the first round of this week's event, but I just didn't quite have it today at the Club at Star Fort. I sprayed the driver around a little bit, and though my scrambling skills looked very good at times, I could only salvage so many pars from the trees. I shot a lousy two-over-par 74, but I really do still feel like I'm playing well.

My putting today was very promising. I hit my line on every putt except one, and the one where I missed my line the putt went in because I had misread it! I made some great putts in the four to eight-foot range today, and I'm very excited about that.

I drove it poorly today, but I that area of my game has been very good of late. I know that today was just a little kink in my progression to being in great form with the driver!

I tee it up at 8:10 tomorrow at the Patriot Club. I'm really excited to go out and play a great round of golf. If I continue to stay relaxed and have fun, good scores are bound to be the result! Tomorrow's the day!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Courses and Good Practice

I am really happy with the two practice rounds I have played this week. It has been two full days of practice this week, and I feel like my game is more than ready to go! The host course for the week is called the Patriot Club at Grand Harbor. I played there today. The secondary course is called the Club at Star Fort. I played there on Monday and will start the tournament there with a 12:30 tee time tomorrow afternoon.

Both courses are nice layouts which allow for some degree of error off of the tee, but require solid execution to avoid trees and bunkers lining most every fairway. Star Fort is an "old school" type of course, with a lot of narrow, tree-lined fairways and smallish, slopey greens. The Patriot is a more modern layout which blends some wide, split fairway holes with more traditional bunker and tree-lined doglogs. Both courses have putting surfaces with a lot of character. Star Fort is a little bit shorter than average while the Patriot is about average length. I feel really comfortable on both courses and feel like I am going to play quite well!

I have been hitting it great both on the practice tee and the course. I'm excited about my iron play and the way I'm driving the ball. My wedge play has felt good from the fairways, but my chipping has left a little to be desired around the greens. I worked on that a little after my practice round today, and feel like it is close to being where I know it should be. I'm confident that it will be good this week. My putting has been stellar. I took a solid week off from practicing my putting--only hitting putts when playing on the golf course. I'm thinking much less and just acting on the greens. The results have been great in these two practice rounds. I'm hoping that this week will be my week to truly get hot with the putter! I'm really confident in all areas of my game right now!

I'm really feeling good about this week. I'm relaxed, confident, and happy to be doing what I do for a living. Life is good, and so is my golf game! Check back here for some good news from round one!

By the way, follow the results daily on the Tarheel Tour's website at www.egolfprofessionaltour.com.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recharged!

Since the disappointing result of not getting through local U.S. Open Qualifying, I have continued to feel great about my golf game, and have had the opportunity to have some fun off of the golf course, too. I enjoyed some time with my girlfriend, Alicia, and her extended family in Columbia and Kansas City, Missouri, to celebrate her graduation from the Journalism School at Mizzou, and then I worked my way to Washington D.C. for an amazing weekend of fun with my sister! In between there, I spent a night with some dear friends just outside of Indianapolis and had an absolutely wonderful visit with them. The last two weeks have consisted of a little bit of golf, some good workouts, some great frisbee tossin', A LOT of great time with great people, and one amazing Darius Rucker/Brad Paisley concert with my sis! What a fun time!!

While I did allow myself to have a couple days off over the past week and a half, golf was never too far from my mind. I am in Charlotte, NC, tonight but am on my way to Greenwood, South Carolina tomorrow to begin getting ready for the Tarheel Tour event which begins on Wednesday. My game has felt great for the past month now, and I'm definitely ready for that breakthrough event. I'm feeling relaxed and confident and ready to go!

Check back here for a pre-tournament update after the practice rounds! This is going to be a great week!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bad Day at U.S. Open Local Qualifying

Well, I won't be playing in this summer's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. My game is still good, but I just didn't have it today in St. Louis at Winghaven Country Club. I shot a four-over-par round of 75, and it took 71 to advance to the sectional round of qualifying. 

I started in a very steady rain today and was determined to play patiently and put together a solid round. My first two shots of the day followed the game plan perfectly. I hit a nice controlled fade off of the first tee into the fairway and feathered an eight iron about 15 feet left of a pin cut on the right edge of the green. Three putts later... I was finished with first hole. I was not overly disturbed by my start, but it seemed to set the tone for the day. When I would string together a few good shots, I could never make anything happen, and it seemed that I could never really recover from the bad ones. A lost ball off the 17th tee cost me two shots, but I was never very close anyway.

I was very proud of my finish today, though. After hitting a ball out of play on the 17th, I re-teed and made a birdie with my second ball (which means a bogey with the stroke and distance penalty), and then hit two great shots to birdie the difficult par-four 18th. 

I'm very disappointed that my U.S. Open dream for this year has ended after just 18 holes of qualifying. I fully anticipated playing well today, and am quite surprised with the struggle that the day turned out to be. I still feel like my game is right where I want it to be. I have a lot of confidence standing over almost every shot I hit right now, and that is a great feeling! I need to find that lovin' feeling with the putter, but I still know that it's close.

I play again in just under two weeks at a Tarheel Tour event in South Carolina. I am going to be playing the best golf of my life when I tee it up for that!

By the way, that Tarheel event is in a town called Greenwood, South Carolina. I'm not even sure where that is, but does anyone happen to have a housing connection in that area?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

No Good but I Feel Good!

I struggled to a final round score of even-par 72 at Cowan's Ford Country Club. Front nine winds and some good putts that burned the edge left me a disappointing one over at the turn, but I was determined to stay patient and battle out a good round on the back. I hit it great on the back, with the exception of one awful swing where I hit a three iron out of bounds off the tee on the short par-4 13th. Other than that I made three good birdies and had a couple other close calls for birdie. One of those birdies was a great up and down on the par-5 18th to get my total back to even for the round. I'm not happy with the score, but I'm very proud of the way I fought until the end and stayed positive.

So I ended the tournament at nine under par and tied for 48th. That is definitely not what I had in mind for the week, but my game felt great. I just had too many little blunders here and there to ever really get it going. I know that my game is where I want it to be now, though!

I'm home in Tennessee for a day now and will be cooking dinner for Mom tonight. Happy Mother's Day, Mom! On Monday morning, I'll be taking off for Missouri. I'm going to start my journey to Pebble Beach at local qualifying for the U.S. Open in St. Louis on Thursday. I'm going to get through local qualifying on the Thursday, and then stay and practice in Columbia for a few days.

I'm excited to keep playing well and keep getting better. Check back here for a travel update and a practice report before the U.S. Open qualifier!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Round 3

I'm not sure what to feel about my third round. I feel great about the way I hit the ball and about my mental approach, but my short game let me down, and my score of two-under-par 70 was not very good on a day when Cowan's Ford Country Club gave up a plethora of low scores. Overall, I'm still very, very happy with the status of my game and feel great heading into round four.

My nine-under-par total right now has me smack dab in the middle of the field heading into the final round. With the leader at 20 under, I'm obviously not in the position I would like to be, but I'm very confident that if I continue to play patiently and execute better on and around the greens tomorrow, I can move up nicely and record a great finish.

I feel good about everything, and I'm very excited to go play a great final round tomorrow!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bad Finish but Good Golf in Round 2

I played great in the second round today at Northstone Country Club. I drove the ball very well, hit a lot of very good iron shots, and, for the most part, putted nicely. I double bogeyed the last hole of the day to finish with a two-under-par round of 70. I played much better than that, but my seven-under-par total through two rounds has me in a nice position to make a great move on the weekend.

I played so well today. I really did not hit any bad shots until the 14th fairway where I chunked a pitching wedge from 118 yards in the middle of the fairway. This shot and a lack of commitment on the ensuing four-foot putt for par led to my first bogey of the tournament. I recovered with a nice birdie on the 16th hole and a good par on the difficult par-three 17th. Then I walked to the 18th tee, which is the most demanding tee shot on the entire course. I had considered playing conservatively off of the tee, but decided instead to trust myself and rip the driver. I committed and smoked it right down the center of the fairway, leaving myself just 130 yards for my second shot. With a wedge in my hand, I proceeded to completely butcher the hole. A bad shot, and poor chip, and three putts later, I was done with my second round. A disappointing end but I can't let that erase the great feelings the round had me feeling all along.

My game is good. If I can be patient and not try to force anything this weekend, I really feel like I'm going to play well and move up the leaderboard. I tee it up at 8:10 tomorrow morning at Cowan's Ford Country Club. I'm going play patient, play well, and have fun! Check back here for some good news!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Good Start

For the first time all year, I feel like I'm off to a very good start in a Tarheel Tour event. I played a solid first round today and posted a five-under-par 67 to get my week started. I played at Cowan's Ford today, and that course gave up some really low numbers (the leader shot 61), but I feel like my bogey-free round was just the start I needed to get me rolling to my first good tournament of the year!

I was a little shaky off the tee today, but my misses were small enough for me to recover each time. The few times I got in real trouble, my short game bailed me out. I putted the ball well today! It was great. I rolled in some good putts in that 6-10 foot range and in doing so remembered how much easier it is to shoot a good score when that happens. I really feel like my putting is ready to break out and become stellar again!

Tomorrow I play at Northstone Country Club. It, too, offers a lot of scoring opportunities. I believe I'm going to drive the ball much better tomorrow, and I know that the putter is going to continue to heat up. I'm going to shoot a really good score tomorrow. I can feel it.

Go Time at the Cowan's Ford Open

I tee it up in an hour and a half at this week's Tarheel Tour event. I'm just north of Charlotte, playing at a course called Cowan's Ford today and a place called Northstone Country Club tomorrow.

My practice rounds were great, and I am feeling really good. Both courses allow me to hit my driver a lot, and I'm driving it very well. Both courses should offer a lot of birdies (and an eagle or two!), and I'm ready to go make them.

This is the week the putter catches fire! It's going to be good news!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Holy McIlroy

I witnessed one of the greatest non-major rounds ever today. I was fortunate enough to watch the Quail Hollow Championship in person on Sunday, and because Jim Furyk and Bill Haas proved a rather boring twosome to watch, I dropped back and followed Rory McIlroy and Anthony Kim from the second hole on. McIlroy shot 62, and went from a four-stroke deficit at the beginning of the day to a four-shot victory in the end. What a great performance it was!

After the round, I couldn't help but thinking that during the second round in my tournament this past week, I was six under par through 12 holes. McIlroy was only five under through 12 today. Clearly he had no mental block whatsoever about going low. He just kept the gas pedal down and ran away with the tournament. I don't feel like I have a mental block, either, and I really feel like my day to right that story for myself is coming soon. It was cool to watch, but it will be infinitely better to do!!

I have had a couple of really nice practice sessions since the disheartening ending to last week's tournament. Ballstriking-wise, I'm not really working on anything. I am just trying to swing in good balance with nice rhythm. Everything feels great. My wedge play and chipping are steadily improving and feel very close to being where they need to be, and my putting is really coming along. I'm working on a new strategy with my green reading at the moment. While I've always looked at putts from multiple angles before addressing the ball, the line I see once I get over the ball has always been the read to which I give the most weight. Lately I feel like I've been hitting a lot of good putts but making nothing; therefore, I'm working right now on picking an aiming point before I address the ball and trusting it regardless of what I see over the ball. I don't think I will read putts this way for long, but it is definitely a good strategy for me right now. I'm going to putt the ball great again very soon!

I'm heading north tomorrow to the northern side of Charlotte for another Tarheel Tour event. My game felt great this past week, so I'm hoping that that will continue and the putter will get hot. I truly feel ready to be at the top of the leaderboard in one of these things. This might be the week! Stay tuned for practice round reports and course information!

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...