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!