Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Great Tournament

I wrapped up my play in the Egolf Tour's St. James Classic with a great score of two-under-par 70 in the final round. On a day when wind gusts easily surpassed the 30-mph mark, my score was the second lowest round of the day, and it propelled me up the leaderboard to a tie for 6th place. As with every round, my final round could definitely have been better, but I am very happy with my attitude and my performance. It was a great week on two very tough golf courses. I re-learned a valuable lesson on Wednesday and improved each day after that on my way to my best mini-tour finish yet. I am certain that this is the precursor of great things to come in the near future.

In today's final round, the wind was blowing from the moment I arrived at the golf course to begin preparing for my 8:10 a.m. start. I got off to a solid start with a birdie on the par-5 third and pars on holes 1, 2, and 4. On the fifth, I hit a foul ball left of the fairway and played hard to make a double bogey. A stellar birdie on the 8th hole helped me make the turn at even par. Heading to the very difficult back nine with the wind continuing to pick up intensity, I had a feeling I could do something special if I played some solid golf. I made fantastic birdies on 10 and 11 and added another at 14 to get to three under par for my round. I thought I might be sneaking up on the leaders, but I faltered on the next two holes. A misjudged wind on the par-4 15th resulted in a solidly struck 8 iron coming up 20 yards short from 125 yards (yes, that's right). A great pitch was unfortunately followed by a nervous putt that wondered low of the hole from just five feet. Then, on the par-3 16th, I pierced the wind with a beautiful 4 iron that settled just twenty feet directly below the hole. Unfortunately, I had a huge brain lapse and hit the birdie putt some six feet past the hole going up the hill, and I missed it coming back down. What a bummer! I responded with one of my best tee shots of the tournament on the par-5 seventeenth and set up an easy birdie by hitting the green in two. I solid par on the last left me with a final round 70. It was a great score, but it left me thinking what could have been.

I know better than to play the "what if" game, though. I will remember this tournament for the great golf that I played and the valuable lesson I learned on Wednesday when high expectations and a "results-oriented" view of my golf shots left me angered to the point that I wasn't thinking clearly over a lot of shots coming down the stretch. I know that if I am patient, process-oriented, and relaxed on the golf course, my game will produce good results. I proved that the last three days of this tournament. Sure I let a few shots get away here and there, but my game is progressing at a great rate right now, and I'm going to enjoy the challenge of getting the most out of it every week. I really do think I can win at any level on any week, and I'm ready to do the work necessary to let that happen.

This was a great week. I need to give a big thank you to Dr. Laura Malnati, my physical therapist who helped me play pain-free this week by helping me get my back in good shape. I also want to thank to whole Fitzhugh family. They have been my gracious hosts this week and have provided everything from meals to caddying services with everything in between.

Next up is an Egolf event in Columbia, SC, next week. I'll be getting there on Monday afternoon and the event will start on Wednesday. Keep it here for more exciting info!

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