Sunday, July 31, 2011

Time to Monday Qualify

This is the shortest blog post ever because there is only one thing to say: I'm going to be focused, patient, and intelligent for all 18 holes tomorrow, and I will qualify for the Nationwide Tour's Cox Classic in Omaha, NE. Come back to here all about it in the evening!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Having a Great Week

Following the conclusion of last week's Egolf Tournament, I actually surprised myself by enjoying a full two days off from my golf clubs. I had a relaxing Sunday and, after a short morning workout, used Monday as a leisurely travel day to get home to beautiful Dandridge, TN. Though I have never really struggled with any kind of "burn out" or tiredness related to golf, the two-day break did have me charged up and ready to go on Tuesday. The last three days have been some of my most productive all summer, and I am continuing to feel better and better about my game.

I have enjoyed the sense of normalcy that has come with this week off from competition. I have been getting up early and exercising before the heat of the day becomes overpowering and then packing my lunch and heading to one of my "offices" for some long, hot, fun days of practice. I have spent a huge chunk of my time this week working on my distance control with my wedges and trying to get my putts starting on the right line more consistently. In addition to that, I have had some mini-competition in the form of two 18-hole matches the last two days. My practice sessions have been difficult, but the fruits of the work have shown in two very effortlessly good rounds the last couple days.

I am determined to get through my process goals this week. I feel fairly satisfied with the practice sessions that I have been having the past several weeks, but I have continuously come up short of achieving all of my practice goals, and there is really no excuse for that. I have putted fairly well for the most part all year, but my wedge play and putting both definitely have room for improvement, and I am certain that completing my process goals each week will help me get over the hump and find the breakthrough to which I am so close.

Speaking of that breakthrough, I am exciting about the plans that I have for the near future. On Saturday I will drive up to Missouri just for a night on my way to Omaha, Nebraska, by Sunday where I will compete in the Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour's Cox Classic on Monday. The Nationwide Tour starts a very nice stretch for me in which it visits Omaha, NE, Springfield, MO, Kansas City, KS, Knoxville, TN, and Pittsburgh, PA, on consecutive weeks. I am hoping that I can play well in the Omaha qualifier and start a nice little run for myself. As a very good (though hopefully irrelevant) back-up plan, the Egolf Tour has two remaining regular-season events which will take place in the first and second weeks of August. Should I have any unexpected trouble qualifying for the Nationwide Events, I will fly back to the southeast and try to improve upon my solid play for the year at that level. I am ready to play well and do something great, so I am excited to have a lot of opportunities in the near future to do just that.

First things first, though: I need to continue to have a strong week of practice right now. My trusty mentor/coach Bobbo and I haven't been able to get together yet this week, but I'm hoping that we will tomorrow. I am confident that I am working on the correct things and moving in the right direction, but his input is almost always helpful.

By the way, something about which I am particularly excited right now is my chipping. I have struggled with my chipping all year by my standards, but I feel like I have really turned a corner in the past ten days in that regard. I'll keep you posted on my progress, but I am very encouraged by what I have seen lately around the greens.

That's all for now. I feel great, but I know that I can continue to sharpen my game and find more consistency. Keep it here for more news as I keep working towards my goals!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pleased and Disappointed at the Same Time

Today was the final round of the Egolf Professional Tour's Scratch Golf Championship at Woodside Plantation. I entered the round in a tie for 10th place but just four shots behind the leaders. I had hopes of a good round and a great finish, but I was never able to find the positive momentum for which I was looking. I drove the ball very nicely all day and had a lot of good opportunities to make birdies, but it seemed that my iron play wasn't quite as sharp as it could have been, and I never could get any of the medium-range birdie putts to fall. I did play my first bogey-free round of the year, but unfortunately made just one birdie and an eagle for a three-under-par round of 69 to finish the tournament. The round moved me to 12 under par for the week and into a tie for 8th, but with the winner finishing at just 15 under, I am disappointed with just how close I was to that breakthrough for which I am waiting. The good news, however, is that my game is continuing to progress, and I know that each solid performance I put forward is bringing me closer and closer to doing something great.

For the week I am quite pleased with my performance. I was very loose with the driver in the middle two rounds and had very poor touch on the greens for the first round, but all-in-all I am pleased with the status of all areas of my game. My wedge play, putting, and driving of the golf ball all need to improve and become more consistent, but I really do feel like I'm getting better all the time in those areas. I am excited about the way that my game feels.

I have some exciting options in terms of what comes next for me. The one thing I know for sure is that I have next week off and will be using it to have some great practice. Keep it here for some practice reports and an update of what will be next. It's going to be good! Thank you so much for following and for all your encouragement!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hard Day but Holding It Together

My play today in the third round of the Egolf Tour's Scratch Golf Championship was very inconsistent. A few good shots in a row would give way to a "what-the-heck?" shot and leave me scrambling. To my credit, I had a great attitude all day and continued to believe in myself, but just couldn't string together enough good shots to get anything going. I offset two bogeys with only three birdies and had to settle for a one-under-par round of 71. I still have a lot of confidence in my game and feel like I can play a very good round to finish the tournament tomorrow.

Here is a story from today's round that makes me proud: In each of my first two rounds, I have three-putted my final hole for disappointing bogeys. Today, I hit a poor nine iron into the 18th hole and faced a 40-foot putt up a tier. The frustrating way that I had finished each of the first two rounds crossed my mind, and I did misjudge the first putt to leave myself five feet for my par. I pushed all distracting thoughts from my mind and just trusted my routine and rolled the par putt right into the left-center of the cup. It was certainly a small victory, but I am proud that I didn't let the negative thoughts from earlier rounds impact my approach to that final putt.

I started the day in fourth place and two shots behind the leaders. I am now in tenth place and four shots behind, but I still feel like I am in good position heading into tomorrow's final round. I need to drive the ball consistently well (like I did in round 1) and have the putter get hot, but if I stay relaxed and patient, I can have a great day tomorrow. I know that it will be a fun final round. Come back for a tournament wrap up after the round tomorrow. Thank you for following!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good Position

I didn't have a great day in round 2. My ball-striking, which had been very good in round 1, was just a little bit off all day, and I was forced to work pretty hard. I hit a few good shots here and there but was not very consistent and had to rely on my short game and scrambling ability to save me a few times. In the end I limited the damage to just two bogeys--strangely coming on my first and last holes of the day--and offset them with four birdies for a two-under-par 70 in the second round. Though I certainly struggled a little bit today, my 8-under-par total has me in fourth place and just a couple shots behind the leader. I had a great practice session after my round today and feel very good heading into the weekend. I tee off at 8:50 tomorrow morning in round 3 and very much expect to have a good day. I will be enjoying myself! Come back for a good report tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Good Start

I played extremely well in the first round of this week's Egolf event at Woodside Plantation Country Club (Jones Course). Starting at 7:30 a.m., I birdied my first hole of the tournament and went on to birdie holes 5-8 as well to make the turn at five-under-par 31. A frustratingly slow back nine saw me give away shot after shot, but I still managed to birdie holes 10 and 13 before a bogey at the closing hole dropped me back to six under par for the day with a score of 66. I continued to hit the ball very nicely on the back nine, but three-putted both par-5's for disappointing pars and three-putted the final green for my only bogey of the day. I would have liked to have taken advantage of my great ball-striking with more birdies, but I am happy with my opening-round score.

My game was really good in some areas in round 1. I drove the ball absolutely beautifully and my iron play was quite solid as well. Unfortunately, I still wasn't very sharp with my wedges, and, though I did make some really good putts, my pace on the greens wasn't very good. I definitely have areas of my game that need to continue to improve, but I feel like I am on a very good path.

I am excited to keep my good play going. I tee off tomorrow in the second round at 12:30 and am looking forward to another good day. Come back to check out my summary tomorrow evening and see full results at www.egolfprofessionaltour.com.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Putter and the Weather in Aiken

What's the commonality between the two? Both are going to be HOT! I'm in Aiken, South Carolina, for the Egolf Professional Tour's inaugural Scratch Golf Championship at Woodside Plantation. The weather forecast predicts temps right at 100 degrees for the next couple days, and I'm confident that my game will match the weather conditions. Woodside Plantation features bermuda greens that are grainy but very fast and true. The course requires intelligence and precision off of the tee and then great touch on and around the greens. It will definitely yield plenty of birdies, but I feel like it is a good test, and I am looking forward to a fun week. I get started tomorrow morning in the first group of the day at 7:30. Come back in the evening for a great round-1 report!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rats

I was very confident heading into the final round of this week's Egolf event. After playing decently well in the first three rounds of the Southern Open at Irish Creek, I felt like I was just a few good putts away from having a great round. Unfortunately, my already cool putter turned even colder in the final round, and despite some pretty good ball-striking, I had to settle for a two-under-par round of 69. That round sent me plummeting down the leaderboard and left me in a large tie for 15th at the end of the tournament.

It is very disappointing to again be so close to playing well but have nothing more than a mediocre finish to show for it. I am happy with my play and very encouraged by the potential that I am continuing to show, but I am ready to have some kind of breakthrough performance. I had very much expected to play well this week, but I can tell that I still have some work to do so that all areas of my game will be sharp at the same time.

My practice lately has been good, but I have definitely been struggling a little bit with my putting drills. I haven't been super comfortable over the putter all week, but after the round today I spent some quality time on the practice green and had the best session I have had in a while. I also did some good work with my wedges on the driving range this afternoon and feel like I am continuing to improve with those clubs. My practice during tournament weeks sometimes becomes a little scatter-brained and inefficient, but my practice after today's final round was a great example of what I want my days to look like during the tournament.

I don't have to wait very long for another chance at the Egolf Tour. Next week the tour will be in Aiken, South Carolina, for an event, and I am extremely confident and ready to have a great tournament. By the way, I know it's getting to be very close to tournament time, but I am still looking for a potential host in the Aiken, SC, or Augusta, GA, areas. If anyone knows people in that part of the country, I would be very appreciative if you could put me in touch with them.

I am still going strong! I am definitely ready to have a breakthrough performance somewhere, but I know that it is coming in the near future. My game is very good, and, though I have probably been putting a little too much pressure on myself lately, I am still having tons of fun chasing my dream.

I need to have a couple of good days of practice and preparation, but I will be ready to go on Wednesday when next week's Egolf event begins. Keep it here for a practice report and a pre-tournament update in the next few days. Thank you so much for following me!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Am Going to Finish Strong

Finishing good rounds is something that I have struggled with a little bit lately, and today in round 3, I let a good start get away from me. I started birdie, birdie, par, birdie, birdie before missing close-range putts for two more birdies at holes 6 and 7. Another birdie at the par-3 8th got me to five under par for my round, but unfortunately I could not keep my momentum rolling. A few errant shots and some missed birdie putts equaled a two-over-par performance over the final 10 holes and a three-under-par score of 68 in round 3.

I really felt good in the early going of round 3. I was driving the ball great and felt pretty comfortable with all areas of my game. It is disappointing that those good feelings went away and left me battling my way into the clubhouse, but the truth of the matter is that I am seeing my great potential in some of my hot starts lately. I know that I have the physical skills and the mental game to shoot some very good scores, and I am confident that they are coming in the very near future.

Despite my disappointing finish today, my round still moved me up the leaderboard a little bit. I am currently in a tie for 8th and in good position heading into the final round. Tomorrow I am going to stay relaxed for an entire 18 holes and let my talent and hard work shine. As long as I have a solid game plan on each shot and execute it confidently, I think tomorrow will be a great day. Come back for a final round report and a tournament wrap-up tomorrow!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Round 2 Inconsistencies

I struggled today in the second round at the Club at Irish Creek. Despite making 5 birdies, I didn't hit enough good shots to post a good score and had to settle for a one-under-par round of 70. I hit two errant tee shots that both cost me a shot and also struggled on the greens a little bit. There were also moments when I felt great, though, and after the round, I had a very good little practice session and am confident that I will play well tomorrow.

I currently stand at six under par for the tournament and am in a tie for 15th place. I know that I can play very well the next couple days, and it will be exciting to see where I finish this week. I am going to do a really good job of staying in the moment and being patient this weekend, though, and I will let the results worry about themselves. I tee off at 8:50 tomorrow morning in the third round, and I'm ready to have a good day. Come back to hear all about it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Playing Great

My golf game is so good right now. Today in the first round of the Egolf Tour's Southern Open, I shot a very relaxing round of 67 on the par-72 layout of the event's secondary course, River Run Country Club. With the exception of a lazy driver swing off of the tenth tee and an overly aggressive seven iron into the 16th hole, I was never in trouble all day, and were it not for two sloppy three-putts, my round would have been extremely good. I am really pleased with the way that I am playing and feel confident that I can keep my strong play going and have a great event this week.

Tomorrow I move to the event's host course, the Club at Irish Creek. Scores have been and will continue to be quite low at both courses, but that can be a little deceiving about the difficulty of these two tracks. Both courses require some very good play from the tee and into the greens which are riddled with contours and surrounded by drop-offs. Soft and calm conditions present great scoring opportunities, but both courses require good shots in order to be successful. With that said, I'm really looking forward to playing Irish Creek tomorrow. I know that if I have a smart game plan and execute well off of the tee, my accuracy with my irons and my putting will allow me to have great success. I tee off at 12:20 tomorrow on the 10th hole at Irish Creek, and I'm really looking forward to the round!

***By the way, I need your help again. I'm playing in a brand new area for me next week. The Egolf Tour has a great new event at a place called Woodside Plantation in Aiken, South Carolina. I don't have any housing contacts in that area. I'm wondering if any of you know anyway in the Aiken, SC, or Augusta, GA, area who might be willing to "adopt" me for the week next Monday through Saturday (July 18-23). Thank you so much for following me and for your support!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Disappointing Monday but Going to Have a Great Week

I played great for the first 10 holes of the Monday qualifier in Cincinnati. I was 5 under through 10 holes on a difficult course and was determined to stay in the moment and finish strongly. I feel like I did a good job of staying focused, but unfortunately did not play very well down the stretch. Some disappointing shots in the closing 8 holes left me with a 1-under-par round of 71 and on the outside looking in. It was disappointing to let my good play get away from me once again, but I know my golf game is in very good shape.

I am now on to plan B for the week, and I am going to make the most of it. I am playing an EGolf event in the Charlotte, NC area, and I really like both of the golf courses for this tournament. I tee off tomorrow morning at 8:10 in the first round at River Run Country Club. A great day of practice today has me feeling ready to go, and I am confident it is going to be a very good week. Come back tomorrow to hear a great report from round 1.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Feeling Good

Some nasty sinus congestion and pain has actually affected me for most of this week, but I am really starting to feel better now. I battled through it to have some good workouts and light practice sessions early in the week, but the last two days have been back to a fairly normal routine, and I am feeling much better. After a fun nine-hole match with some former teammates of mine on Wednesday, I worked on my wedge play and putting until dark, and have continued to have good practices the past four days as well. On a week shortened by the Monday qualifier and my battle with the sinus problems, I completed the vast majority of my non-competition week process goals, and feel like I am ready to go moving forward!

I made a 7-hour trek across the midwest today to Cincinnati, OH, and played a practice round at Four Bridges Country Club where I will be playing in a Monday Qualifier tomorrow for this week's Nationwide Tour event. I honestly did not have a very good practice round today, but I feel like my game is in good shape. Four Bridges is an awesome course for a Monday Qualifier because it requires a lot of precise shots. The course is riddled with trouble and will reward a solid game plan and good execution. In addition to that, the greens are in very poor shape, so a golfer with a good attitude who stays committed to hitting solid putts will come out on top. In short, the course and the conditions suit me perfectly, and I feel ready to have a good day.

I tee off at 9:57 tomorrow. I will have a fairly conservative game plan but am going to commit to each and every shot and execute fearlessly all day. I am determined to hit good putts all day and know that I will get some to fall. I will stay in my game plan for the entire round. It should be a great day. Come back here to hear all about it tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sick (Literally and Figuratively) After the Monday Qualifier

A painful near miss in the Monday Qualifier for the John Deere Classic has given way to another painful experience. I have often taken good health for granted because I have been fortunate in that I get sick very rarely, but I am currently struggling with something like a sinus infection, and it has me knocked out. I am determined to have a good week of practice, but I need to get better first. I did a good jog and workout yesterday, but did not get an energy boost or any good feelings from the activity. I am feeling a little bit better this morning, so I will definitely get out for a little bit of practice today, and hopefully I'm just a good night's sleep away from being 100%.

Thinking back to Monday is somewhat painful, though. I have made some mental mistakes before, but on Monday, I would say for the first time in a long time, I actually "choked" under pressure. I felt awesome heading into Monday's round. I was relaxed and confident and fully anticipated that I would qualify for the John Deere Classic. I had a great warm-up session, and walked to the 10th tee (my opening hole) feeling like it was going to be a good day. I executed beautifully and started with a pair of birdies at 10 and 11 before going on to birdie six of my first ten holes to stand at six under par with eight holes remaining. I felt so good that I got lazy mentally. I know better than to think ahead, but I let myself start thinking about and making plans for the actual tournament. I parred each of the next four holes, but twice in that stretch hit poor wedge shots from less than 100 yards in the fairway. I was still in great shape with four holes to go, but didn't have the correct mindset for a strong finish. I was still thinking ahead to the tournament rather than just giving my full focus to each shot, and I made couple of poor swings and made a couple of poor decisions in the closing holes. A double-bogey, birdie, bogey, par finish left me with a four-under-par score of 67 and one shot shy of qualifying for the event. Both my game and my attitude were awesome at the beginning of the day, and I know how to finish a great round. I just didn't have the maturity to keep my excitement at bay and stay in the present through the end of the round. I know that I will learn from this experience and be better because of it. Each near miss brings me one step closer to the breakthrough that I know is coming, so I am excited about that!

The good news is that my game is in great shape, and I have some exciting stuff coming up soon. Next week the Nationwide Tour is just north of Cincinnati, Ohio, and I will be playing in a Monday Qualifier for that event in five days. My number one outcome goal for the year is to qualify for the Nationwide Tour's Tour Championship in October, and that goal is by no means out of reach.

Speaking of goals, my practice has been good lately, but I have been making a lot of excuses for not finishing all of my weekly process goals again. I definitely work hard and do most of the right things to make sure that my game is constantly improving, but my weekly process goals are in place to make sure that I have very intentional practice on the areas of my game that are the most important to me. I can complete my process goals each week, and I am going to do a better job of that moving forward!

Other than my little sinus infection, I feel great about things. It was disappointing to let a good chance slip away from me this week, but I know that my game is in great shape and I truly believe that something very good is in store for my near future. I'm going to get healthy, have a great week of practice, and then go work towards that breakthrough that I know is coming! Keep it here for progress reports along the way.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Like John Deere!

Well, I really have no allegiance in the lawn equipment or tractor business, but tomorrow morning I will tee it up in the Monday Qualifier for the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic, so I feel a fondness for the brand right now! Incredibly hot weather the past few days and some very strong storms this afternoon added an element of challenge to my practice over the weekend, but I feel like I was able to have very productive sessions and feel great about my game. A lot of people have told me that I remind them of Steve Stricker, and he is the two-time defending champion of the John Deere Classic, so I am hopeful that the connection will serve me well tomorrow and then into the tournament as well.

I really am excited right now. My game has been so steady that even when it doesn't feel great, I have been able to find some good results, and it actually feels pretty darn good right now. As with all Monday Qualifiers, tomorrow is an 18-hole crapshoot, but I am confident that if I play well, I will earn one of the four spots in the tournament field.

I tee it up at 8:40 tomorrow morning on the 10th hole of Pinnacle Country Club. I am going to commit to an intelligent game plan on every single shot that I hit tomorrow. If I do that and then execute fearlessly, I will be in great shape. Come back here for some good news tomorrow evening, or check www.iowapga.com for results.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oops... Sorry for the Long Delay

I didn't even realize that I never posted a report from the final round of my last Egolf event. I am going to give a very brief report here to bring everyone up to speed.

I ended last week's Egolf event with a very indifferent round of 67. It was a nice score and it moved me up the leaderboard a couple spots into a tie for 15th, but I really let a lot of good opportunities get away from me and didn't feel great when I signed my scorecard. I have spent a lot of time in my car since then and have realized that finishing 15th in a tournament where I really didn't feel great about the way I played means that my game is in awesome shape!

The road has been my home since then. A quick trip home from Charlotte gave me one day to re-group before hitting the road for the midwest. I drove to Missouri on Monday, up to the Quad Cities (Davenport, IA-area) on Wednesday and back down to Columbia, MO, on Thursday night. I am attempting to Qualify for the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities next week, and I had to make it through the "Pre-Qualifier" to get to the Monday Qualifier. A solid round on Thursday successfully moved me into the Monday Qualifier, so I'll be competing for a chance to make a PGA Tour start in three days.

My game feels awesome, and, despite all the time travelling, I've been having one of my best weeks of practice in a while. I feel great! Come back for a pre-Qualifier report on Sunday!

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...