Friday, June 24, 2011

Uncharacteristic

My third round was a story of two nines, and both featured shortcomings with which I am not used to dealing. On the front nine, I hit the ball beautifully but struggled over very make-able birdie putts. Even so, I hit the ball so well that I made the turn at three under par. I was swinging great heading to the back nine, but solid pars at 10 and 11 gave way to a four-hole stretch in which I made mental mistakes and threw away a lot of shots. An uncommitted swing on the 12th tee led to a wide miss and a bogey. On the 14th hole I had an easy wedge shot but failed to trust my yardage and hit the shot over the green. My play on the par-5 15th was riddled with stupidity. I hit what I thought was a good drive but watched it leak slightly into the right rough. Facing a 205 yard carry to a green fronted by a creek, I had no good option for my second shot. My hybrid was going to fly way too far and leave me a difficult pitch from over the green, but I didn't feel like I could hit a long iron out of the rough. Rather than coming up with a good plan and executing confidently, I decided I would just flail at a hybrid and hope it worked. I decelerated and chunked the shot into the hazard fronting the green. I found my ball just outside the creek and tried to hack at it but whiffed once before determining that I needed to take my penalty and drop. A pitch and two putts later I walked off with a 7 and felt temporarily demoralized. To my credit, I had a pep talk with myself and birdied 16 and 18 on the way in to post a two-under-par score of 69 for the round. It was a disappointing score and a disappointing feeling to know that I let such poor mental mistakes cost me so many shots, but I am happy that I minimized the damage with a strong finish.

My round actually moved me up the leaderboard a couple spots. I am currently tied for 20th heading into tomorrow's final round. I need to continue to execute well and really commit to my routine on every shot. I am playing great golf right now, and a great round tomorrow could lead to a good finish in this tournament. I tee off at 8:40 tomorrow morning, and I am going to play smart, play well, and have fun. Come back in the evening for some good news!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Things That Make You Go "Hmmm?"

My play today in Round 2 of this week's Egolf event actually felt better to me than my Round 1 performance. Battling some tough conditions, I couldn't ever seem to get things working in my direction, however, and struggled the entire day. I birdied both of the par 5's on the front nine (which was my closing nine) but couldn't manage any other birdies for the day and suffered three bogeys for a one-over-par round of 72 at Northstone Country Club.

Though it was my first round over par in quite some time, there were a lot of positives that I will take from my round today. I really hit the ball pretty well and had some great up-and-downs when it ended up in surprisingly bad places a few times. In fact, other than blowing one simple up-and-down and misreading quite a few mid-range birdie putts, I was happy with the way I played. My game is still feeling good.

I'm not in the position I would have liked to have been heading into the weekend, but I am right in the middle of the field and only seven shots behind the leader. My game is going to be good this weekend, and I feel like I am going to shoot some good numbers. I am just going to continue to approach each shot with a committed game plan and a lot of confidence. I tee it up at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning at Cowan's Ford Country Club. It's going to be a good day, and I am going to have fun, so come back tomorrow night to hear all about it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good Start

I am off to a good start at this week's Egolf event. I played my first round today at Cowan's Ford Country Club, and, despite a couple of loose swings and a few missed make-able putts, I was able to post eight birdies to just two bogeys for an opening score of 65 on the par 71 layout. I drove the ball decently well after a shaky start and hit a lot of quality wedge shots. I also birdied all three of the par 5's and narrowly missed a very good look at eagle on the finishing hole. I was very encouraged by my round one play and feel like I can improve upon it as the week continues.

Tomorrow I play Northstone Country Club at 12:30. Northstone is very score-able, but it does require a lot of quality shots. I am confident that the hard work I have done lately combined with a good game plan for my round will result in a great day during round 2. Come back to hear all about it tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm Ready!

I've had two really nice practice rounds for this week's Egolf event and am feeling great. Having good rhythm has been my only real swing thought this week, and I have been hitting the ball beautifully. In addition, my wedge play and short game are feeling pretty good, and I'm rolling the ball very well. I am excited about the way I am playing!

This week's tournament is at Cowan's Ford Country Club and Northstone Country Club. Cowan's Ford is the main host for the event. While the two courses are quite different, both suit my eye and my game very well. Cowan's Ford is more of a traditional-style course with fairly narrow, tree-lined fairways and good, moderately undulating greens. Northstone is more of a unique course with a lot of severe undulation on and around the greens that complicate play. Both courses are short, however, and present a lot of birdie opportunities. Scoring should be good this week.

I get started tomorrow at 8:20 a.m. My plan is to have a lot of fun and get 100% committed to a great plan on every shot before I hit it. If I do that, tomorrow and the rest of the week should be very good. Come back for a round one update tomorrow.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

I'm definitely one of the lucky ones. I've been very loved by my mom and dad my entire life. Today is Father's Day, so I want to send a huge thank you out to my dad, and say that even though neither of us is the best at saying it, I think we have a pretty good system of showing each other the love and respect that we have for one another. My dad is one of the biggest supporters of my career, and I'm very thankful for that. So, Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you.

I spent Father's Day with an adopted family of mine in Greensboro, North Carolina. I played 28 holes of golf, including a full round at Bryan Park, the host course for the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, and five holes at Starmount Forest Country Club, a Perry Maxwell designed course in Greensboro. I tried to really focus and work on some of the areas of my game that were off during my tournament last week. I drove the ball better and hit some really good iron shots, but still didn't hit my wedges as well as I would like. All-in-all, though, my game felt great, and I am feeling very good about my tournament next week.

I didn't quite finish all of my process goals for the week, but I am really happy with the week of practice that I had. My wedge play really needs work, but the tournament facilities this past week really didn't offer any areas for short game practice. I need to be more creative, however, and do the work that needs to be done to help my game. I felt great about my putting practice for the week, and I feel like completing my putting drills really has an immediate and profound impact on my tournament performance on the greens. My process goals are good for my game, and I need to stay committed to finishing them each week.

I'm excited about the week that I have had, and I can't wait to have an even better one next week. My game is good, and I'm going to work hard to keep improving. I think good tournament results are on the way soon. Keep it here for updates as I head into another Egolf event this week.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Decent Finish and Some Good Momentum

I never quite felt good about my golf game in any round of this week's Egolf Event, and the final round today was no exception. I did improve steadily, however, and managed to keep most of my misses in positions from which I still had some chances to make birdies today. In addition to that, I putted more like my old self again in the final round, and though I missed some make-able putts, I was solid from close range and did get a couple of 10-15 footers to fall. I played my final nine holes in four under par today to shoot a five-under-par round of 66 and get my tournament total to 11 under par for the week. That wasn't great scoring by any means, and it resulted in just a tie for 30th place, but I am happy to see that on a week when nothing ever felt quite right, I was able to keep it under par each day and shoot some decent scores.

The most exciting thing about my day today was the fact that I had my best practice session of the week after the round. I worked on a little bit of everything and for the first time all week was seeing consistently good results from my ball-striking and wedge play. I also knocked out a three-footer drill with the putter on my first attempt and did some good work on my chipping. I feel like I made a big move towards that "lovin' feeling" today in my closing nine holes and then especially in the hours that followed the round.

Next week I will tee it up again in another Egolf event in Huntersville, NC, at a course called Cowan's Ford. I feel liked I picked up a little momentum moving forward today, and I'm confident that I will be feeling good for Wednesday's first round. I still think big things are in store for my golf game this summer, and I'm excited to keep working at it!

Thank you for following me! Keep it here for an update heading into next week's event.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm Going to Play Great in Round 4

My third round play started to hint in the right direction. A few foul balls and a couple surprising short misses with the putter kept me from scoring very well in the third round, but I felt like my ball-striking was starting to feel a little bit better. I hit some pretty good shots in the last six holes today, including two perfect ones on number 9 to close with a birdie and post a third-round score of two-under-par 69. On a day when the field averaged just over 68, that wasn't very good, but I left the round feeling good about the direction my game is heading.

I still sprayed a couple of shots in the first 12 holes of my round today. I missed the fairway with a four iron off the tenth (my first) hole and made bogey. Later I blocked the four iron way right of the par-5 15th green and had to settle for par after hitting a perfect drive. Then, I missed a generous fairway on the par-4 second hole way right in a hazard, thus incurring a one-stroke penalty and bogeying the very benign hole. In addition to that, I missed a couple of easy birdie putts that I would expect to make and also missed par putts of less than five feet on back to back holes. My putting has been really solid all year and especially lately, so I'm not concerned about it, but it was frustrating to see shots slip away like that. All in all though, I feel like I played well enough to shoot a good score today, so I'm thinking that I can clean it up tomorrow and end this tournament on a high note.

I tee it up tomorrow at 9:10. I'm going to pretend that I'm in contention and play hard on every shot. It will be fun day, and I'm looking forward to playing well and getting some positive momentum going. Come back for a round-4 and tournament summary tomorrow.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Two More Days to Find It

Well, my game wasn't any prettier today in Round 2 of the Egolf Tour's Bolle Classic at Sapona Country Club. I played the event's co-host, the Country Club of Salisbury today, and despite a strong affection for the course, my game floundered. Once again, I did a remarkable job of limiting the damage and suffered just one bogey, and today I did a better job on the par 5's, and managed to post a three-under-par round of 68 to make the cut, which fell at 4 under par, right on the number.

Overall, my game was disappointing again today. I drove the ball the worst that I have in a long time and again struggled with my irons and wedges. My thought process was a little bit off today, too. For the first time in a while, I found myself thinking about the cut-line and letting that influence my nerves. To my credit, however, I did stay committed to my game plan and did a good job of gathering my focus for every shot. In fact, while my ball-striking worsened towards the end of the day today, I came up with a couple of clutch chip shots and holed 10-foot par putts on each of my last two holes to sneak into the weekend.

There are a lot of positives that I will take from the last two days. I am learning to manage my game better when my ball-striking isn't there, and the fact that I have only made two bogeys for the first thirty six holes of this tournament is a testament to that. Also, I have been very happy with my putting from short-range and am proud of my commitment on my last two putts of the day in round 2. I also hit two really good chip shots in tough situations on the second nine of my second round. My chipping is an area of my game to which I have dedicated a lot of practice time lately, so it felt great to hit a couple good ones when I needed them. So, my performance has certainly not been good for the first two rounds of the tournament, but I still have plenty of things about which to feel good.

The best news of all is that I have two more rounds at Sapona Country Club to move up in the field. I am confident that that "lovin' feeling" is going to come back to me soon. I tee it up at 9:30 tomorrow morning, and you can bet that I will be smiling! Come back for a report from round 3, and expect to hear good news!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First Round Struggle

I didn't have my "A" game today. I struggled off of the tee and into the greens, and my wedge play was abysmal. I rolled the ball great on the greens but didn't get many putts to go in the hole. I was very tough mentally, though, and followed my game plan all day. Despite hitting just a few quality golf shots all day, I did manage to hit all but one green in regulation and limited my damage to just one bogey. I could only scrape out two birdies, however, on the very score-able Sapona Country Club and posted a first-round score of 70 on the par 71 layout.

Golf was hard today. I felt uncomfortable over most shots, and when I would hit a good tee shot to set myself up for a wedge shot into a green, I really struggled to get the ball anywhere near the hole. I know that the work I have done on my wedge play is good, so I'm confident that today's struggles will be short-lived. In addition to struggling with my wedges, I failed to take advantage of easy birdie opportunities on Sapona's three par 5's. A misjudged chip led to a disappointing par after hitting two good shots into the par-5 first hole before errant tee shots on 14 and 18 led to two more pars on the back-nine par 5's. I just didn't hit enough good shots today to take advantage of the many birdie opportunities that Sapona offers.

With all that said, I love the feeling that comes from being mentally tough and getting through an ugly round with a decent score. I feel great about the fact that I limited my damage to only one bogey today and that I birdied two of the last five holes. After my round, I made the short drive over to the Country Club of Salisbury where I will play my second round tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., and I had a great practice session. I hit some balls and did a lot of wedge work, and I really liked how everything was feeling. Then, I spent some quality time on the practice green and knocked out two of my putting drills for the week. I left feeling very good.

My tournament round may not have been very pretty today, but I feel great about the status of my game and am in really good spirits heading into tomorrow. I really like the CC of Salisbury, and feel that if I stay committed to the same game plan and continue to enjoy myself, I can really have a great round. Come back for a round-2 report tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back in Action

Though my near miss in last week's U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier was much more encouraging than disappointing, I must admit that I needed a few days to regain the motivation that helped me come so close to qualifying. My practice last week was much more casual than usual and consisted mostly of friendly matches on the course without any "grind" time on practice facilities. I felt a little bit lazy ignoring my process goals last week, but I think it was good for me. I hit the practice facilities hard this Monday, and today (Tuesday) I left home for an Egolf Event in Salisbury, North Carolina. My motivation is back, and I am determined to keep improving on what has already been a very good year.

This week's event is at a course called Sapona Country Club, and the Country Club of Salisbury will serve as the event's co-host. I played great at Salisbury last year, and Sapona really fits my game nicely, so I'm confident that this will be a good week. I was definitely a little bit off in a practice round today at Sapona, but a very focused practice session this afternoon has me feeling good heading into the first round tomorrow.

Tomorrow I tee it up at 8:20 a.m. on the first hole at Sapona. My game plan is simple. I am going to form a solid plan on every shot, commit to that plan on every shot, and then execute fearlessly on every shot. If I really do those three things on every shot I hit this week, it will be a great tournament. Come back for a round one report tomorrow!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Awesome Day, Disappointing Result

I played my heart out today in U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying. With 112 guys--the majority of whom have either full Nationwide Tour or PGA Tour Status--competing for 10 spots in the U.S. Open Championship, I overcame a shaky start and played some the of the most solid golf of my life only to see my 4-under-par total for the day leave me in a tie for 11th, one shot out of the qualifying positions.

I played the shorter South Course at Woodmont Country Club in the morning and was three over par through seven holes. I was hitting the ball nicely even during that stretch, but a slight miss here and poor touch on the greens there led to three bogeys. For the final 11 holes of my morning round, I played beautifully, but only managed two birdies to offset my three bogeys and had to settle for a one-over-par round of 70 on the shorter course. I felt good about my game, however, and when I set out on the North Course for my afternoon round, I wasted no time getting after it. Some great tee shots and quality short irons and wedges helped me birdie four of my first six holes in the afternoon. My momentum was quickly stopped by back-to-back bogeys on my seventh and eighth holes (16 and 17 on the North), but I stood on the 18th tee with ten holes to go at one-under-par for the qualifier. I played very solidly from that point, but failed to convert a couple of good birdie opportunities on my final nine holes. I birdied my 35th hole of the day to get it to four under par, and then hit a driver and a five iron to just 15 feet on the 495-yard par-4 ninth only to watch my solidly struck putt stay just high of the hole. I tapped in for an afternoon round of 67. It was a great round. I played great golf the hole day and especially for my final 27 holes, but in the end I came up one shot short.

I'm so encouraged by the way I played today. I was a little off in the early going, but I continued to believe in myself, and my hard work really began to show as the day went on. I hit some great wedge shots under pressure, drove the ball beautifully, and was pretty solid with the putter. I beat 90 percent of the field today, and most of those people have Status on one of the PGA-run Tour's in America, so I know that my game is good enough to compete at any level. I won't be playing in the U.S. Open this year, but I know that my time will come, and I think it will be sooner than later!

Thank you for following me and for all your support and encouragement. Come back in a day or two to see what's coming up for me in the near future.

For full results from today, check out: http://www.usga.org/news/qualifying/2011/usopen_sectional/U-S--Open-Sectional-Qualifying-Results---Rockville,-Md-/

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Good Preparation

Tomorrow is the second step of my journey to the 2011 U.S. Open. My sectional qualifier is at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, MD, and I am feeling ready to go. Woodmont is a 36-hole facility, and we will compete on both the North and South courses tomorrow for the qualifier. I have spent four of the last five days practicing out there and had two of the most productive practice rounds I can remember last Thursday and Friday. I feel like I have done good work to learn my way around both courses and am comfortable on both. My practice has been very good as well. I feel like I'm swinging great, and I have continued to focus on my putting and wedge play. My game feels good, and I think tomorrow will be a great day.

I peg it on the South Course tomorrow morning at 8:17. There are 112 competitors here competing for 10 spots in the U.S. Open. Here's my game plan: I am going to have a solid plan on every shot; commit to and trust that plan on every shot; execute fearlessly on every shot; and enjoy every minute of being out there. I believe that I am good enough to compete for our Nation's Open Championship, so hopefully tomorrow I can go out there and earn the right to do just that! It'll be a fun day. Come back here for a report tomorrow night.

Visible Progress

I’ve been making a lot of invisible progress lately. By that, I mean that my scores have been consistently rather stinky, but beneath that,...