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!

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