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.

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