Monday, August 22, 2011

Heartbreak Kid (Monday Qualifier-wise)

The trend continues, but this time both the disappointment and the optimism are magnified. To make a long story short, I have once again come up one shot short of Monday Qualifying--this week for the Nationwide Tour's Knoxville Open.

To miss an event that is so close to my beautiful home and one in which I had great success last year makes this the most disappointing missed qualifier I have experienced. On the flip side, the manner in which I came so close today leaves me feeling as optimistic as ever about my game. I was packed with nervous energy this morning at the beginning of my round, but I did a great job channeling that energy and focusing on each shot. My execution was great, but unfortunately, I was a little too "amped" and had trouble controlling my distances over the first few holes. A terrible first putt on the third hole resulted in a three-putt bogey from just 30 feet away before an inexplicably long seven-iron approach from the fairway sailed over the fifth green leaving a tough up-and-down and resulting in a second bogey. I was two over par through five holes, but felt like I was executing well. From that point on, my golf was nearly flawless. Despite a couple of missed opportunities on the greens and two disappointing pars on back-to-back par 5's at numbers 9 and 10, I birdied six of the final 13 holes and made no bogeys in the stretch to post a four-under-par round of 67. At the end of the day, it worked out that exactly seven players shot 66 or better, so I was once again left on the outside, but I am extremely proud of my performance today.

Coming down the stretch, I knew my back was against the wall, but I also knew that I was executing well enough to make something great happen, and I almost did. I was just one under for my round heading to number 15. A great up-and-down for birdie at the par-5 15th preceded an aggressive tee shot down the watery 16th fairway to set up a short-iron approach and another birdie. A solid drive and a very good 8-iron approach into the 17th left me with a 20-foot putt from directly behind the hole, but a well-hit putt missed high of the hole. I went to the 450-ish yard 18th hole determined that I was going to make a two. A perfect drive took advantage of the wind at my back and got me to within 130 yards of green. Facing an uphill approach, I launched a pitching wedge up into the wind right at the flag. When I climbed the hill to the green, my ball was sitting four feet directly behind the hole. A great putt found the hole and capped off my round. It was so great to execute well down the stretch. My game is great, and I am ready for great things to happen.

This one hurts; there is no doubt about that, but I am going to have a strong week of practice this week and be ready for whatever is coming up next. I need a night to process some things in order to come up with a good plan moving forward, but I will come back in a day or two with an update of where I'll be heading next. Something good is coming in the near future, and I can't wait to make it happen and then share it with all of you! Thank you so much for your support and encouragement!

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