Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Very Good but No Good

At the end of the day I made too many mistakes to be successful in the Monday (Tuesday) Qualifier for this week's Nationwide Tour event in College Park, MD. I had five (yeah, that's right, 5!) penalty shots today, but executed beautifully other than that and fired a three-under-par score of 69 at Northwest Golf Course. Unfortunately, there was a playoff for the final qualifying spots at 68, and I was left on the outside.

My round today was impressive. I feel like I'm swinging great, and I really trust all areas of my game right now. Unfortunately, I just hit three foul balls off the tee today, and in the end, the costly penalties were too much for my solid play to overcome. I hit a ball into waist high heather on my first and sixth holes and suffered a stroke-and-distance penalty on both occasions before ending my round with a wayward drive into a hazard on the 18th hole. With the exception of those three swings, I was really happy with the way I played today. I left a few shots out there by failing to birdie the par-5 eighth and seventeenth holes after good tee shots, but I really executed well other than my three errant drives.

I still feel good about my game and believe that great things are coming. Stay with me as I make solid plans for the rest of my week and turn my attention to U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying. I'll be back in a day or two with some updates on what I'm doing to be fully prepared for that. Thank you for following!

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Our Nation's Capitol and Ready to Play

Two fun days of golf have me feeling ready to go this week in the greater Washington D.C. area. I played with my sister (Dr. Laura Malnati!) and another great Physical Therapist named Ken Herbel at a beautiful course in Northern Virginia called Twin Lakes on Sunday morning before joining three friends for a little practice round match today at Northwest Golf Club in Silver Spring, MD, to prepare for our Nationwide Tour Qualifier that is there tomorrow. My game, which was admittedly a little bit erratic on Saturday during the final round-and-a-half of last week's Egolf event, was very sharp at times on Sunday and consistently pretty darn good today. I feel like I'm hitting the ball very well, and my short game touch is coming back to me. I am very happy to be here in this area with my sis, and I think that if I can stay relaxed and enjoy myself on the golf course, great things could happen for me.

So there is the potential for the next seven days to be extremely busy, and I mean that in a very good way. Tomorrow at 10:10, I tee off at Northwest Golf Club in the Monday (moved to Tuesday) Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour's Prince George's County Open. If I am successful tomorrow, I will of course compete in the Nationwide Tour event in College Park, Maryland, Thursday through Sunday. Then on Monday, June 6, I will compete at nearby Woodmont Country Club in the Sectional Round of Qualifying for the U.S. Open. It's going to be an exciting week!

My game is very good right now, but I need to remain focused very much on just hitting one shot at a time and not letting my thoughts get too far into the future. Right now, I'm just thinking about being patient and smart and having a great day tomorrow at Northwest Golf Club. Come back tomorrow evening to see how it went!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Brief Report

I'm going to keep this short because I am about to hit the road to bigger and better things! Unfortunately, I'm not hitting the road on the best note. My game was sloppy today for 26 holes at Pine Needles. I was inconsistent in all areas of the game and even made a few mental mistakes, which is very uncharacteristic for me. I played the last 8 holes of my third round in even par to finish off a third round 68, and followed that with just three birdies and three very poor bogeys to shoot even-par 71 in the final round. The poor play today dropped me into a large tie for 21st.

I'm not happy with my play today or my finish in this tournament, but I am thrilled with the week of work I had. My game is in good shape, and, though I didn't show it today, the work that I have done (and am continuing to do) is paying great dividends. I'm traveling to the Washington D.C. area this evening where I will compete in a Monday Qualifier for a Nationwide Tour event next Tuesday (moved back a day because of Memorial Day) and will stick around that area for U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying the following Monday. I feel like I'm ready to play really well and am excited for what the next couple weeks might hold.

I'm going to be hangin' with Dr. Laura Malnati the next couple evenings, so that will be tons of fun, but I'll still be fine tuning my golf game during the day as well. Come back for more reports in the coming days.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Long Long Ten Holes

The weather made for a long day in Friday's third round at Pine Needles. Humid, cloudy, and calm morning conditions gave way to some winds and then thunderstorms right at noon. I played ten holes before the horn was blown to suspend play. After we got into the clubhouse, storms stayed around the area for the remainder of the day. We did head back out to the practice facilities at 5:45 to warm up and returned to the course at 6:30 to resume play, but after hitting two shots on the 11th, the horns sounded again as another storm came into the area. With that, we were done for the day and will pick up third-round play tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m.

I'm playing very well right now. I made three birdies and no bogeys in the ten holes I played today, and feel like I'm playing solidly enough to really make a move tomorrow. Like I said, round 3 play will resume at 8:00 a.m., and, with some good weather, we will begin round 4 immediately upon the completion of round 3. My game feels good, so I'm rooting for some good weather and 26 more holes to move up the leaderboard. In any event, tomorrow will be a fun day, and I'm looking forward to more chances to trust my hard work in tournament action! Come back here for a tournament wrap-up report tomorrow evening.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Frustration... But Moving Forward

My second round in the Egolf Tour's Donald Ross Classic was not very pretty. Playing at the very short and score-able Southern Pines Golf Club, I was erratic and failed to take advantage of a lot of short wedge shots. I hit a few poor drives, some off-line iron shots, and really looked like an idiot around the greens a couple of times. In addition to all that, I missed a tap-in on the 8th hole due to a lack of focus. With all that said, I did play the final 10 holes in three under par to post a two-under-par round of 69. That score was not good on the golf course I played today, but it is good that I was able to keep myself in the tournament despite a poor day.

I really wasn't happy with the way I played in round 2, but I still feel good about my game. My golf swing is feeling good, and I feel like the stuff I have been practicing with my wedges is working. I didn't quite execute the way I would have liked with my wedges today, but my practice is still feeling good, so I'm sure that my wedge play will be great very soon. My putting hasn't been as good as I expect it to be so far this week, either, but I'm still rolling the ball beautifully. With the exception of my chipping, I feel like all the areas of my game are on the brink of being great. I need to find something with my chipping, but as good as I've always been around the greens, I know I'll get it back soon.

I have a lot about which to be excited, but the most exciting thing for me right now is the fact that I have two more days to play Pine Needles and move up in this event. If I can be patient and execute confidently, I really feel like I can put together good rounds on this golf course. I tee it up tomorrow at 9:30, and I am determined to enjoy myself and trust the work I've been doing. It should be a good day, so come back to hear all about it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Solid Start

I played my first round today in the Egolf Tour's Donald Ross Classic at Pine Needles Golf Club, and I hit the ball like a champ. I hit 17 greens in regulation, and despite a putter that was certainly not what I would describe as "hot," I made six birdies and a lone bogey to post a five-under-par score of 66. My bogey was caused by one of two errant tee shots on the day, but other than that, I missed very few shots. Had I putted the way that I expect it to, I could have shot a very low score today. All-in-all, however, I was pleased with the way I played and am excited about how good my game feels.

Tomorrow I move to the shorter Southern Pines Golf Club. The opportunity to shoot a very low score exists at Southern Pines, but I will have to be patient and stick to a good game plan to do so. I really feel great about the hard work I have done, though, and I am having fun out on the course. If I can keep doing that, tomorrow will be a good day. I tee off at 10:50. Come back to see how it goes!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Feeling Great in Pinehurst

I tee it up at 7:40 in Wednesday's first round so I'll keep this short. This week's e-golf event is called the Donald Ross Classic, and that is a fitting name because both courses are great Donald Ross designs.

The host course for the event is the Pine Needles Golf Club. It has hosted many USGA Championships, including the Women's U.S. Open in 2007. The other course for this event is called Southern Pines. Pine Needles has some long par 4's, but both courses put a premium on accuracy before distance. My good practice from last week has really shown benefits in my two practice rounds. My game is feeling great! I really like both of these courses, and I am excited to have a fun week. Like I said, I get started at 7:40 tomorrow, and I am going to enjoy myself, be patient, and trust all the hard work I have been doing lately. It should be a good week!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Great Week

I have had a thoroughly productive week. It started, of course, with the first step towards one of my "Outcome Goals" when I successfully advanced through Local U.S. Open Qualifying on Wednesday. After that, I felt determined to get down to business and have some truly good days of practice. My wedge play and chipping have really been costing me lately, and I am determined to get them back in shape. I feel like I made great strides in that direction this week. I completed all of my process goals for the week--no small accomplishment considering that funky weather a the excitement of Wednesday's qualifier kept me from getting started on my wedge play or putting drills until Thursday. I was relentless the last four days in my search for consistency and precision with my wedges, and the work is really yielding good results. I completed my wedge-shot proximity drills this afternoon relatively easily with each of my four wedges. I couldn't have done that earlier this week! In addition to that, I completed all of my putting drills and had a solid week of working out and running. It feels good to have achieved all of my process goals, and I will hold myself accountable to do so much more moving forward.

I have been needing a week like this for the last several weeks. While I always enjoy practicing, and I do work hard, my stick-to-it-tiveness with some of the frustrating areas of my game might not have been where it needed to be lately. I overcame some challenges while working on my wedge play this week, and I really feel good about that part of my game now. In fact, all areas of my game are pretty solid right now. I need to continue to work on my chipping as I'm still not very comfortable over a lot of shots around the greens, but other than that, I feel like I'm just trying to fine-tune all the facets of my game.

I'll hit the road tomorrow morning for an Egolf event this week at Pine Needles Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina. That's the first stop on what I hope will be an exciting trip. I'll talk more about the upcoming excitement soon, but, first things first, I want to have a great week at Pine Needles. Keep it here for a pre-tournament report on Tuesday evening. Thank you for following and for your support after U.S. Open Local Qualifying!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Great Practice

The last two days have been great! I have really been having good practice sessions. The majority of my practice has been with a wedge of some sort in my hand, but I have also spent good time on the driving range, the putting green, and the golf course. I haven't quite found that lovin' feeling consistently with my wedges, but for moments at a time I have felt great. I get more consistent with each session, and that is very encouraging. I am starting to see consistently better results around the greens with my chipping. I will always be fine-tuning my touch and trying to sharpen my short game more and more, but I feel like I'm close to being back to my usual, confident self around the greens. My ball-striking still has plenty of room for improvement, but I'm very happy with the way I'm hitting it right now. All-in-all, my game is in good form, and I'm having a lot of fun working to improve it.

I had a fun session with Bobbo this morning during which he watched me practice all areas of the game for almost three hours. While a few shots here and there may have prompted some kind of critique, we spent most of the morning talking about how good everything looked. I know my game feels good and that I'm improving, but it is a nice feeling to get some confirmation that I'm practicing the right things. Bobbo said everything looks good, and I can tell you that the shots are starting to look really good, too.

I've put a good dent in my process goals for the week the past two days, but I still need to have a productive weekend of practice to reach them all. I'll get them done, though!

It's been a solid week so far. I feel like my game is in very good shape and that it can be in great shape when I hit the road Monday for next week's Egolf event at Pine Needles in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Come back for an update of the weekend's work on Sunday, and I'll let you know how I'm feeling as I get ready to take off for a fun tournament stretch.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good Day!

I knew that my game couldn't have been lost too deeply despite some disappointing results my last couple times out in competition. In U.S. Open Local Qualifying today, I executed very well for the most part and shot a 7-under-par round of 65 to take medallist honors and easily advance to the 2nd ("Sectional") Stage of qualifying. Today's accomplishment was pretty solid considering that 51 players were competing for just four spots in the next round. I knew that a solid round would get the job done, and I am very pleased that I was able to deliver.

My first tee shot of the day was not indicative of the solid play that would follow. Standing on the first tee at Holston Hills and feeling pretty good after a very nice warm-up session, I calmly hit a horrible block-slice off the heel of my driver that flew very short and some 50 yards right of the fairway. Facing some tree trouble for my second shot, I tried to play a low hooking hybrid with hopes that I could leave the ball somewhere in front of the green with an easy uphill pitch shot to the front hole location. Instead the ball came screaming out of the rough and flew almost all the way to green before landing into an upslope just short of the green and settling nicely just six feet from the hole. It was a routine birdie, and I was off and running! The next 12 holes were much more routine as I hit a lot of fairways and every single green through the first 13 holes. An up-and-down par save on the par-3 14th kept me bogey free and five under par for the day heading into the last four holes. I continued to stripe my driver in the closing holes, but my poor wedge play and chipping of late did rear their ugly heads for a brief stretch on holes 15 and 16. I missed the green with short wedges on both of those holes, and suffered my only bogey of the day when I failed to convert a simple up-and-down on the 15th. I was definitely a bit on edge after my shaky play on 15 and 16, but Holston Hills closes with back-to-back par 5s, so I knew that I could seal the deal with a strong finish. A perfect drive and a busted hybrid rolled just off the back of the green on the par-5 17th, but I holed an easy chip shot for eagle to give myself a real boost heading to number 18. Two solid shots left me below the hole in a front greenside bunker from which I played a nice shot and holed a slick 3-footer for birdie to finalize my round of 65. It was sure exciting to pull myself together and finish so well after giving a shot or two back on numbers 15 and 16.

Qualifying for the U.S. Open is the third of my three major "Outcome Goals" for 2011. Some of the process goals that I am trying to reach in order to help myself accomplish my outcome goals involve par-5 scoring, consistent putting, and precise wedge play. In today's round, I played the four par-5s at Holston Hills in 6 under par, so that was good. I also putted the ball very well. My wedge play, however, was not sharp at all. In order to make it through the Sectional Round of qualifying and reach the U.S. Open, I am going to need to be solid in all three areas. I still have not been doing a good job of achieving my process goals each week, and I really think I can and should do better. My process goals are in place to help me reach my outcome goals, and I'm going to work hard on the processes so that I can see the results that I want!

I have the rest of this week at home to work on my process goals before I head back out for a week on the Egolf Tour next week at Pine Needles Resort in Pinehurst, NC. I will have a great week of practice with the rest of my time at home before I hit the road again, and I will achieve all of my non-tournament-week process goals this week!

While today did remind me very much of the need to keep sharpening all areas of my game, I am thrilled with the way that I was able to play today. I drove the ball beautifully, and my iron play was pretty solid. I feel very confident on the greens, too. I actually ended up winning the qualifier by three shots today as three people tied for second with scores of 68. While that may make it seem like today's task was easy, advancing to the Sectional Round of U.S. Open Qualifying is actually a great accomplishment. I have experienced Sectionals once before (in 2009), and I feel like advancing to the U.S. Open is very do-able if I remain calm and confident. The Sectional Qualifier is 36 holes on June 6th, and I have signed up to play in Rockville, Maryland.

I have a lot of exciting things coming up soon. I have the chance to get back in contention on the Egolf Tour next week, there are some Nationwide Tour Monday Qualifiers coming up in the next few weeks, and I will have a chance to advance to the Unites States Open Championship in early June. It all starts with four good days of practice here at home in Beautiful Dandridge, TN, though. Keep it here for updates as I work towards my process goals and really start to sharpen my game!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time to Compete!

It feels like it's been quite some time since I last teed it up in competition. It's not even been two weeks, but I'm feeling hungry to get back after it. I play in Local Qualifying for the U.S. Open tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, and I'm feeling good. Though chilly winds and rain have characterised my last few days of practice, I feel like my game is steadily improving and is ready to compete. Local U.S. Open Qualifying is only 18 holes, but I know that a solid game plan and patient execution will bring me success. I'm excited to compete tomorrow, and if I execute confidently and stay patient, the results should be good. Come back here tomorrow for the results!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm Back in Action

I'm sorry for my long absence from the blog. I have actually been "in action" the whole time I have been gone, but I did take advantage of my first full week off from competition in quite some time to have a great week of practice, workouts, and relaxation last week. I spent a lot of time working on my physical skills but also was able to enjoy a good time celebrating Mother's Day with my Mom and some quality time with my sweetheart, Miss Alicia. The last ten days have been just what I needed--I am feeling good about my golf game and great about life.

I apologize that I didn't provide any practice reports from the last week. I have had some really encouraging things going on in my golf game. After trying something new and little bit technical (for me) in my chipping, I am back to simply trusting my feel and and letting my body hit chip and pitch shots naturally around the greens. I have always been a great chipper, but after struggling a little bit earlier this year, I was trying to make some drastic changes. I am now just trying to re-sharpen what I have always done around the greens, and I feel great about the direction my short-game is heading. My ball-striking still hasn't returned to the solid form that it was in a month ago, but it is very manageable right now and is trending in the proper direction. Overall, I feel like my game is in good shape and getting better, so I'm excited!

This week I have only 18 competitive holes on the schedule, but they are 18 important holes! On Wednesday I will play in the first ("Local") stage of U.S. Open Qualifying. I will be playing at Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, TN. Local Qualifying for the open is a bit of a crap-shoot, but I am very comfortable at Holston Hills, and I know that I can take care of business if I play well.

I feel great and am excited about everything. I'm going to have a great day of practice tomorrow and will be ready to go on Wednesday. Keep it right here to hear all about it. I'll be much more current with my updates now!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rats!

Well, I thought I was on to something in Round 2 of this week's Egolf event, the Willow Creek Classic in High Point (Greensboro), North Carolina. With my tee time pushed back to 2:30 in the afternoon after round-1 delays, I had plenty of time in the morning to work on my struggling golf game. I had a very productive morning, and really felt good when my round started. I played the first 11 holes in one under par and could have been much better had a number of a well-hit putts found the hole during that stretch. From holes 12-16, however, my sour play of late really caught up with me. Consecutive muffed chips led to a bogey on the very easy par-5 12th, and a foul ball off of the tee on the par-3 15th ended up out of bounds and led to a triple-bogey 6. A sloppy bogey on the 16th followed before I finished with two pars and a very poor score of four-over-par 75 at Colonial Country Club. I was really encouraged by some things that I did today, but I definitely need to have some good practice and improve a lot in the coming weeks.

For the first time this year on American soil, I am heading home early. I hate missing cuts, but I think that it is a fairly inevitable part of being a professional golfer. I played poorly this week, and that is going to happen from time to time. I am going to find that lovin' feelin' again soon, though, and good things are in my near future. I'm disappointed with the way I have performed for the past week and a half, but I know that I'll get back into good form soon!

I have just over a week before my next competitive venture. I will be prime when I return to action! Come check out the blog for some progress reports as I practice!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Patience and Putter Salvage Round 1

Okay, I've been lying to you for the last couple weeks. Since the third round of my last Egolf event in Columbia, SC, my golf game has felt out of sync. I do honestly feel like I'm on the cusp of playing great golf, but I have definitely been a little bit off lately. My ball-striking, wedge play, and chipping have all kept me guessing a little bit, and today's first round in Greensboro was no exception. After a three-hour rain delay, I got started with my first round at 11:40, and it was clear that I just wasn't quite sharp. I hit it unsolidly and off line all day, and my chipping and wedge play were horrendous. I played the most intelligent round of golf I can ever remember playing, though, and that, coupled with solid putting, allowed me to get it around High Point Country Club's Willow Creek course in one-under-par 71. I am very proud of that score, and excited about the opportunity that it gives me to have a great tournament.

I'm not sure why my game is off right now, but I spent some time after the round just working on my rhythm. I began to hit my full shots a lot better, but was still struggling to find that lovin' feelin' with the wedges. I know that something will click soon, though, and I really feel like good things are coming.

Because of the delay today, my second-round tee time tomorrow at Colonial Country Club is yet to be determined. I was scheduled to play at 1 p.m., so we'll see how much later than that it ends up being. In any event, I'm excited to have a good morning of practice and to get back into action. I shot a decent score playing poorly today, and I have a feeling I'm going to play much better tomorrow! It should be good. Come back here for a half-way report tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In Greensboro, Ready to Play Great in Egolf Event

I definitely had full intentions of playing in this week's Nationwide Tour event in Athens, GA, but I didn't play very well in the Monday Qualifier. My wedge play, which is a part of my game on which I have spent a lot of time and about which I feel very good, was abismal, and I hit some lousy shots elsewhere as well. The end result was a two-over-par round of 73 that did not even sniff qualifying. After my afternoon qualifying round, I was quickly in my car and on the way to Greensboro for this week's Egolf Tour event. I am here now, had a full day of practice today, and feel ready to have a great tournament!

This week's event is hosted by High Point Country Club's Willow Creek course, and the secondary course for the event is called Colonial Country Club. Both courses have an old-school type of feel to them, and I am a big fan of both! Willow Creek has some major-championship caliber greens right now. They are very firm, fast, and slopey, so it should present a good challenge. Both courses offer a lot of wedge shots and a couple reachable par-5's, however, so scoring will definitely be low. I feel like I am ready to dominate some of these events, and I really believe this is a good week so start!

I play at 8:40 tomorrow morning at Willow Creek. I'm excited! I'm going to play intelligently, and I'm going to have fun. This could be a great week. Come back tomorrow for a round-1 report!

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...