Friday, June 25, 2010

Moving On...

Rats... I felt good about my game heading into this week's event on the Tarheel Tour and still feel good about it even though I am writing this from home in Tennessee rather than being in Pinehurst, North Carolina, playing in the third round today. After an opening 68 on the easy Southern Pines Golf Club, I went to the Little River Golf Resort for my second round. A great warm-up session had me feeling ready to go out and play a good round to get back in contention, but a bogey-bogey-bogey start quickly had me fighting for survival. I was determined to be a little more aggressive after the rough start, but more or less I just tried to stick to my game plan and play a solid round from the fourth tee forward. I battled hard all day, but could only fight it back to a one-over-par total of 73 and my two-under-par total of 141 came up two shots short of making the cut. It's disappointing to be done early this week, but I am not discouraged at all.

Even after the third hole yesterday, I really couldn't find my best game. I drove it really nicely for the most part, but my iron play and putting were just not there. I played the opening nine holes at three over par, and knew I had to play a great closing nine to get myself to the weekend. I almost did just that. I made great birdies on 11, 12, and 14 that were all set up by very good aggressive tee shots. A lousy seven iron into the par-3 16th led to a bogey which set me back before a great up and down for birdie on the 17th got me back to even par for the round. I knew that the cut would likely fall at four under par, so that meant I needed one more birdie on the par-four 18th. Unfortunately, I hit a really poor tee shot that got snagged by some trees just off the tee box, and I had to work hard from there just to make a bogey. It was a disappointing end to disappointing tournament, but I sure do feel good about the way I battled back on the closing nine holes.

My game is good. I'm excited to know that better results are coming in near future. I'm going to keep improving, and you can bet that I'll be back in contention soon! Check back here in a couple days for a practice report and an update on what's coming up next.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rocky Start but Good Patience

My game was lousy in round 1. After a great start where I executed well for the first three holes, I just sort of lost it. I was hitting tee balls everywhere, mishitting iron shots, and putting with the touch of a Romanian power lifter. It looked ugly, but I stayed committed to my plan and never started to press. Finally, after a bad tee shot on the 13th hole, I pulled it together and salvaged a birdie on my way to playing the next four holes in four under par. A disappointing bogey on the 17th ended my run and capped me at three under par for the round. It was a round of 68 to start the event. Southern Pines Golf Club played as easily as any course we've played this year, so that is not a good score, but I am very proud of the way I battled and kept myself in the tournament.

Tomorrow I tee it up at Little River at 10:40. I'm going to stay relaxed, have fun, and commit to an intelligently aggressive plan on every shot. Good strategy and fearless execution will equal a good round tomorrow even if I can't quite find my "A" stuff. Check back here for the good news from round 2!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tie 16th, Tie 6th, ???

I begin filling in those question marks tomorrow. I'm coming off of my two best events of the year, and I'm feeling prepared to play well this week, too. I'm in the Pinehurst, North Carolina, area playing at Little River Golf Resort and Southern Pines Golf Club. Little River is the event's main host, and Southern Pines will host one of the first two rounds. I have played a practice round at both courses and feel ready for a solid week!

I play at Southern Pines tomorrow morning at 7:40. Southern Pines is very short by usual standards at 6,300 yards, but it does require thoughtful and accurate play from the tee. The greens have quite a bit of slope but are only medium speed and are very soft as well. Therefore, even though the Tour Officials are going to try to tuck the hole locations in difficult spots, birdies will still be readily available. My goal tomorrow is to position myself to have a putt at birdie on every hole. Often on "easy" courses, I feel like I need to make birdie on every hole to be successful, but this type of approach is both counterproductive and stressful. I want to play smart most of the day and only be particularly aggressive when I have a perfect yardage. If I am patient and commit to my plan on every shot, tomorrow could yield a great score.

On Thursday I head over to the event's host venue, Little River. That course is somewhat more demanding simply because it requires some medium and even long irons into the greens. However, it, too, offers a plethora of birdie opportunities.

I'm looking forward to another good week. My game feels good, and I am really having fun on the golf course right now. I'm going to stay relaxed and continue to keep my thoughts. I think the trend in my finish positions of late might just continue this week. Keep it here for my progress, or follow along at www.egolfprofessionaltour.com.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Exciting Day; Good Tournament

My final round at the Country Club of Salisbury was an exciting one. I felt great going into the day, and really feel very good about the way I played all day. I got off to a great start with birdies on each of the first three holes and the sixth hole. Unfortunately, I could not keep up the torrid pace and never got any closer to the lead than that. I made a lot of pars the rest of the day and swapped a bogey on the 12th hole with a birdie on the 15th to finish the round at four-under-par 67. Of course I'm disappointed not to have shot a better score after the great start, but I'm proud of the way I played this week and also proud of the way I stayed patient and completed my final round without ever deviating from my game plan.

With that said, I wish I had performed better at the end of the round today. While I didn't feel nervous, my great start definitely got my adrenaline flowing, and my rhythm got off a little bit. I started the back nine with three consecutive missed fairways, and my momentum was just stunted. Like I said, I stuck with my game plan and never started to press, but I just couldn't quite get it back on track.

My effort today was good for a tied for 6th place finish--my best finish of the year. I've definitely got some momentum moving forward. I feel great about the way I'm playing, and I feel very good about my mindset on the golf course right now.

I'm going to hang out in the Charlotte area tomorrow and hopefully find a place for a quick practice tomorrow before heading on to the Pinehurst, NC area on Monday morning to begin preparing for next week's Tarheel Tour event. Two weeks ago I finished tied for 16th. This week I was tied for 6th. I like where I'm heading!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Improving Every Day

Round 3 was a good one for me today. I drove it well and played a lot of great and patient iron shots on the way to a bogey-free six-under-par round of 65. I handled the par fives well and also hit a few really nice wedge shots on the back nine. On top of all that, my putting was solid. I did not make any long putts, but I made quite a few solid ones in that 3-6 foot range. All areas of my game are feeling good. I think I'm ready for another really good round tomorrow!

My round today has me to 14 under par for the tournament. The leader is a 19 under. Obviously, I would like to be closer to the top, but I am tied for 7th and feel like I am in a really good position heading into the final round. I am not going to go out there tomorrow trying to win, but I honestly believe that if I stick to my game plan all day, there is a chance that I will be on top at the end.

The game plan for tomorrow is more of what I did today. I must choose intelligently aggressive shots tomorrow and continue to execute my plan fearlessly on each shot. I'm going to be patient but also be ready to jump on birdie opportunities. On the greens, I'm just going to continue to do what I'm doing on the greens: picking a line, trusting it, and stroking it confidently. I feel like I'm going to play great tomorrow.

My parents are driving over from Tennessee, and I am pumped for a great day. Check back here for a great final round report tomorrow!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More Good Stuff

I'm getting there. I made a few mistakes in round two that just seemed silly, but I did a lot of things right and posted a second round score of five-under-par 66. The scores are really low this week, and my two-day total of eight-under has me tied for 20th heading into the weekend. The leader is at 14 under and well within striking distance as long as I stay patient and do not try to force things over the next 36 holes. Ball, target, swing fearlessly! That's the formula. If I can play one shot at a time and trust this simple philosophy, good things are going to happen the next two days.

Come back for a round three report tomorrow evening!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good Start

I played really well today in round one. I made two mistakes that I would really like to have back, but I shot a nice round of three-under-par 68 at the Sapona Country Club.

After feeling great before the round, I got off to a really nice start. I hit every fairway and all but one green on the the first ten holes and stood on the second tee (my 11th hole) at four under par. That stretch even included a disappointing three-putt par at the par-five 18th. On the second hole, I made my only really awful swing of the day. On a hole with trouble right but very much room on the left side, I failed to commit to any game plan and flailed at a drive with a "don't go right" swing. I snarf-hooked it so far left that it caught some trees just off of the tee and dove left out of bounds. Not daunted, I re-teed with the same club, picked a solid target down the fairway, and smoked one down the left center. None-the-less, the penalty led to a double bogey. I remained confident moving forward from that and never did miss another fairway, but I was trying too hard to force some birdies in the closing holes and only managed to get one back from the double. I wish I could have posted a better score today, but I'm really happy with the way my game felt.

I'm excited to go out tomorrow morning and play at the Country Club of Salisbury. The course suits me very well, and my game feels great. I tee it up at 8:20! Check back here for the good news after round 2!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good Practice Rounds

I have played both courses that will be used for this week's Tarheel Tour event, and I am feeling ready to go. In the first round, I will play at the Sapona Country Club before going to the event's host course at the Country Club of Salisbury for my second round (and third and fourth rounds!). Both courses suit me very well, and the Country Club of Salisbury is absolutely my favorite type of golf course. It is short and fairly tight with some thick bermuda rough but still leaves the option of hitting quite a few drivers available. Sapona is also short and tight, but it is a little bit more "tricked-up" and requires a lot of iron shots off of the tee. Both courses feature very good greens with a lot of slopes and great run-offs around their edges. While the courses both offer a lot of short irons and wedges, a great deal of precision is required off of the tee and into the tricky putting surfaces, so this week should be a lot of fun.

I play tomorrow at 12:40 at Sapona and will play at 8:20 on Thursday at Salisbury. I had two good practice rounds, and I'm excited to have a good week. My strategy for the week is to pick an intelligently aggressive target on every shot and then swing fearlessly. Then I'm going to trust my line on every putt and roll each one confidently into the hole. It's going to be fun!

Check back tomorrow night for a good round one report!

**Next week I'm heading to another Tarheel Tour event in Carthage, North Carolina. Carthage is a small town in the Pinehurst area. Does anyone have a housing contact for me around Pinehurst? Thank you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Great Week Off

I had an awesome week off after my best finish of the year in my last tournament. I worked on my wedge play a lot and really feel like I sharpened that area of my game while keeping the ball-striking at a high level. My putting feels great in practice, and I know that I'm ready to have a good week in that area, too.

On top of all that, I also got to spend some really great time away from golf with my family and girlfriend. Alicia flew down from Missouri for the whole week, and both of my older sisters took a little time off work and traveled to Tennessee so that we had the whole family home. Together we all enjoyed rafting in the Great Smokey Mountains, tennis, frisbee, and a lot of quality time just being a happy family. Times like that really take a lot of weight off of my shoulders on the golf course because I know that I am well-loved unconditionally by a lot of people. So to Mom, Dad, Laura, Gina and Jake, Isaac and Abigail, and Alicia I want to say: Thank you all very much for the best birthday week ever!

I am now in Salisbury, North Carolina, getting ready for another good week on the Tarheel Tour. With a healthy attitude and a quiet confidence, I'm feeling very good about my game!

I'll play my second practice round tomorrow and write a pre-tournament post tomorrow evening with course information. It's going to be an exciting week!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Not a Great Finish but a Good Tournament!

Today was not the finish I had in mind to my best tournament of the year, but I'm excited to finally see some good results to match the improvement I have felt in my golf game. I had that "got-a-chance-to-win" feeling in my gut for the first time in a while this morning, and that was really cool! However, I was determined to just stay relaxed and play one shot a time, and I can honestly say that for a long time I did just that.

I got off to a really good start today. I followed a couple of solid pars on the first two holes with a six iron to literally inches on the par-three third. After missing a good look for birdie on the fourth I made a twenty-foot birdie putt on the fifth. I was feeling great. After a good drive on the sixth, I pulled an iron shot into a bad position in a greenside bunker and made bogey. Not daunted, I was determined to be aggressive and hit another good drive on the very narrow par-five seventh hole. Unfortunately my ball did not fade as I had planned and found its way against the face of a left-side fairway bunker. I barely got the ball out of the trap and proceeded to make a disappointing bogey on what is probably the easiest hole on the course. That bogey dropped me back to even par for the day. From there, I tried to stay patient, but I must admit that early in the back nine I began to press a little. I had a pep talk with myself on the 12th tee box and really executed well from that point on. A poor shot on the par-three 17th led to another bogey, but I did birdie three of the last seven holes to post a final round score of one-under-par 71. That is certainly not the score for which I was hoping at the start of the day, but I'm happy with the fight that I showed to earn it after the mid-round struggles.

I ended the tournament at 13 under par in a large tie for 16th place. I definitely wanted to finish better than that, but this was easily my best outing of the year. That makes a lot of sense because my game feels the best that it has felt all year. My ball striking was very good for most of the week. My putting and wedge play definitely could have been better, but I am happy with the way everything felt. I think that this finish and the good feelings I have about my game right now will really give me the jumpstart that I need to finish the year strong.

I have a week off now and will be spending it at home in Tennessee. Some things I really need to improve are my putting and wedge play, and I also want to spend some practice time moving the ball left-to-right. While my ball-striking was very good this week, I was very reliant on a right-to-left ball flight. I worked the ball left-to-right a few times successfully off of the tee, but every time I tried to cut an iron shot the result was mediocre at best. I don't mind at all for the draw to be my predominant shot, but I want to be fully confident working the ball left-to-right as well.

I finished this tournament eight shots behind the winner. I know that the three areas that I just mentioned cost me way more than eight shots this week. I'm not saying that all I need to do is go work on them and then I'll win next time I play, but I now know for absolute certain that I am close to breaking through in a big way. I'm excited to do some practicing and improving so that I'll be able to have that "got-a-chance-to-win" feeling again very soon (and often)!

Next up is another Tarheel Tour event in Salisbury, North Carolina, June 16-19. I'm going to be ready to bring my best!

**Does anyone have any housing contacts for me in the Salisbury/Kannapolis area in North Carolina? Thank you!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gonna Get it ALL Right in Round 4

I've been close all week. In Friday's third round, my ball-striking continued to feel great. I made two shaky swings on a couple of front-nine iron shots that led to bogeys but was very solid thereafter. I have still struggled with both my wedges and my putter, but I feel like I'm very close to having those areas figured out as well. Despite the early miscues today and the poor wedge play and putting, I battled to a third round score of 69 to keep myself in contention in this tournament. I am at 12 under par for the event, and the leaders are at 17 under. I'm not going to go out there trying to win, but I definitely believe that I can. If I continue to strike the ball the way that I have so far this week and I improve my performance with the wedges and putter, it will be an exciting day.

Either way, I'm super excited to be back in contention in a golf tournament. My game feels great, and I am loving playing late on the weekend. Tomorrow is going to be a good day. I'm going to stay relaxed, keep it simple, and just trust myself on every swing tomorrow! Check back here for results or look online at www.egolfprofessionaltour.com. Good news coming!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Good Round!

I hit the ball great in round 2. I can honestly say that I putted badly on my way to a six-under-par 66. My ball-striking was better than I can ever remember it being. If you let me count the eighth hole where my wedge shot spun back a few inches onto the front fringe, I hit all 18 greens today and reached two par five greens in two. What's even more impressive is the fact that on 17 of the 18 greens, I had less than 25 feet for birdie. The 11th hole was the lone time that I had longer than 25 feet for birdie, and I suffered a disappointing three-putt bogey from 40 feet there. My putter was cold all day, but I worked on it after the round and I know that it will come alive in the next two rounds. If I continue to hit it the way I did today, I might go scary low the next couple days!

There are still some scores to come in from the second round, so I'm not sure where I stand, but I know that I will be in striking distance heading into the weekend. I just want to continue to keep it simple and get the putter hot, and I'll be in great shape.

I'm heading back out to the course for some relaxation in the pool and then some practice once the heat subsides a little bit. What a great afternoon! It should set up a great day tomorrow. Come back here for more good news tomorrow afternoon!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Almost...

I played nicely today. My thought over every shot was, "here's my ball; there's my target; GO!" I've been playing so great in my practice rounds and when practicing on my own, so I'm determined not to over-think shots just because the tournament has begun. The plan worked quite well from a ball-striking standpoint. I hit the driver well and my iron play was very solid. Unfortunately, the Jackson course at Rock Barn requires good wedge play and putting to go low, and I was a little off in both of those areas. I hit a lot of wedge shots to 20 feet and made only one putt from that range all day. The end result was a disappointing total of three-under-par 68 on a golf course that yielded a plethora of low scores.

I'm very happy with the way I felt on the course today. I started very slowly and found myself one over through five holes. I remained patient, though, and made four birdies in the middle of my round before missing seven consecutive birdie putts of less than twenty feet on the last seven holes. I hit a lot of good putts, but they just weren't falling today. Tomorrow I am going to hit my wedges closer to the hole and make more putts!

I tee it up at 8:10 tomorrow morning and I am going to play a great round and get myself into contention this week! Check back here for the good news!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

READY

I'm at a place called Rock Barn Golf and Spa this week for another Tarheel Tour event. Rock Barn is a 36-hole facility, so I will be at the same site for each of this tournament's first two rounds. Tomorrow I will play the Tom Jackson course in the first round and will play the Robert Trent Jones course on Thursday. After playing practice rounds at both courses the past two days, I feel ready to go. My game is sharp in all areas, and I know that I can win this week!

While the Jones course (which will serve as the host course for this week's event) is a demanding layout with some length and a variety of trouble waiting to punish errant shots, the Jackson course begs to be attacked. It is both short and forgiving and should offer a lot of birdie opportunities. I handled both courses very well in the practice rounds, and feel ready to go post some really good numbers this week!

I tee it up at 11:20 on the Jackson course tomorrow. I'm going to have fun and get off to a great start in this week! Check here for results or follow along on the Tarheel Tour's website at www.egolfprofessionaltour.com.


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...