The tournament at Rock Barn was the last event of the regular season on the Egolf Tour. The second of my three outcome goals for the year was to finish in the top 20 on the Egolf Tour's money list. I am happy to report that I have achieved that goal. I am currently number 18 on the tour's overall money list and number 15 among Egolf Tour members. The reason I mention that last number is that the Egolf Tour pays for the top 20 finishers on its members' money list to go to PGA Tour Q-school in the fall. That means that I will have a 4,500 dollar burden lifted from my shoulders. I am excited to have achieved this goal. It shows that my game was fairly solid throughout the course of the year and that the practice that I am putting into my golf game is working. Having narrowly missed qualifying for the U.S. Open in June (the third of my outcome goals for the year), it feels good to put a check mark next to this goal!
Speaking of my outcome goals, my number one goal for the year is to earn enough money on the Nationwide Tour to qualify for its Tour Championship in October. Despite playing well and having some close calls, I have not made any concrete progress towards this goal because I have not succeeded in Monday Qualifying for any Nationwide Tour events yet. I am certainly behind the proverbial eight ball in terms of achieving this goal, but I highly believe that it is still possible. The Nationwide Tour has a handful of events remaining before the Tour Championship, and I am confident that I can get on a run and play multiple events as soon as I get into one.
Unfortunately, I won't be making that first Nationwide Tour start of the year this week. The Monday Qualifier for this week's event in Kansas City was a bit of a weather-delayed nightmare. I was slated to tee off at 11:27 yesterday morning, but morning storms and torrential rainfall delayed tee times just over five hours, so it was a 4:45 in the afternoon before I teed off. The course was not in great shape by the time I got to it, but I was determined to be mentally tough and have a good day. Because play was horribly slow, I got in just 13 holes before dark, but I played fairly solidly and made three birdies and no bogies on Monday. I had to return to the course to play the final five holes this (Tuesday) morning, and I felt pretty good. With a fairly strong wind blowing, I made solid pars on holes 14-16 and hit a good drive on the par-5 17th. Facing a strong left-to-right wind and 270 yards to a green fronted by a pond, I hit a perfect lay-up shot down the fairway and left myself 85 yards to the flag. I hit a crisp wedge shot, but let the ball float a little too much in the cross-wind and my ball settled eight feet right of the hole. From there I faced a slick putt with at least a foot of right to left break, but I felt good about it and expected to make it. I didn't. I hit a very stupid putt. Having visions of the quick putt leaking low of the hole, I gave it a little extra speed to help it hold its line, and I rammed it through the break, and it rolled some five feet past the hole. I was fairly calm and went through my routine well on the ensuing par putt, but did not hit a very good putt and suffered a very disappointing bogey. A par on the difficult par-4 18th left me with a score of 70 and one shot short of qualifying. It is hard to swallow another close call leaving me on the outside, but I need to remain encouraged by the fact that my game is good enough to have me in these positions so often.
My game is still feeling good. I need to have some good practice this week because I have definitely been a little loose with my ball-striking the past couple weeks, but I am happy about how well I am able to hold rounds together even though things feel a little bit off. My wedge play needs some more attention as does my putting, but I know that the work I have done all year on those two areas of my game has me in great shape moving forward. I still think I can achieve my goal of getting to the Nationwide Tour's Tour Championship, and a good week of practice this week will help me move towards that next week when I tee it up in the Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour's Knoxville Open. I know that my breakthrough is coming, and it would be very storybook-ish to have it happen at home!
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