Today was a fun day. I was pleased with my ball-striking in the early-going of the round. I drove the ball well and hit some decent iron shots. Two solid pars on the first two holes gave way to a great birdie on the par-4 third hole before I added another birdie with two good shots and a nice chip on the par-5 fifth. I stumbled by missing a golden birdie opportunity from 97 yards in middle of the sixth fairway and then suffering a sloppy bogey on the short par-3 seventh. I rebounded beautifully, however, with a good birdie on the easy par-5 eighth and a great birdie on the difficult par-4 ninth. Heading to the back nine, I was two shots behind the leader, but feeling very good about my game. My worst drive of the day (which really wasn't that bad) came at the tenth and left me with a little tree trouble, but a great up and down saved my par and kept me rolling. On holes 11-14, I had birdie putts from ranging from 10 to 20 feet on each hole, but converted none of them. I hit poor putts on 11 and 12 but then executed what I thought were perfect putts on 13 and 14 only to watch the first slide by on the high side of the hole and the second stop an inch short right in the middle. I was frustrated through that stretch but remained determined to finish strongly. On holes 15 and 16, I hit both approach shots right at the flag only to watch one come up 40 feet short on the long par-3 15th and the other fly 30 feet long on the watery par-4 16th. A poor swing led to a bogey on the par-3 17th, and I found myself at 15 under par for the tournament heading to the 18th hole. I was determined not to pay attention to the leaderboard and rather to stay focused on executing each shot to the best of my ability, but I knew that the bogey on 17 had dropped me back into a large tie for 3rd and that a closing birdie would significantly improve my standing for the week. I tried my best to approach the par-5 finishing hole with patience and trust. I hit a solid drive up the right side of the long hole and faced 280 yards slightly uphill to a green that sits some 20 yards over a steep, grassy ravine. I picked a good yardage and line for my lay-up shot and executed perfectly to set up a 79-yard wedge shot uphill to the back left hole location. I decided to hit a three-quarter sand wedge in order to control the amount of backspin on the ball, and hit a nice shot eight feet from the hole. Knowing that quite a bit was on the line, I calmly went through my routine and rolled the right-to-left swinging putt right into the middle of the hole. While it wasn't the result for which I had hoped at the day's start, that finish felt sweet!
I am definitely happy with the status of my game. I feel like my ball-striking could be much more consistent, and I will always be working to further sharpen all the the elements of my game, but I am very pleased with the comfort level that I have over all types of shots right now. This week was just another step towards the breakthrough that I know is coming.
I would like to see that breakthrough happen this coming week and feel like it can. I am currently in Charlotte awaiting a morning flight back to Kansas City to pick up my car and head down to Springfield, MO, for the Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour event next week. I was supposed to fly this evening, but Delta cancelled my flight--GGGRRRRRRRR! Despite the travel snafu, I feel awesome about things and am really looking forward to having a productive day of travel and preparation for the Monday Qualifier tomorrow. Keep it right here for more exciting news soon! Thank you for following and for your great support!