Sunday, September 11, 2011

Great Final Round = Winner Winner in Nebraska

That headline says it all. I played well today in the final round of the Nebraska Open and shot a 65 to come from two shots behind the 36-hole leader and win by three shots. It was great round, and I'll give you a brief play-by-play of the action:

I was determined today to stay committed to my game and take care of things that I can control. Therefore, my plan was to hit a lot of intelligent shots and think my way around the course regardless of what I saw on the scoreboards or from my playing competitors. My play on the first three holes didn't fit that description. After a solid opening tee shot and a safe par on number one, I drove it into the left trees on number two and the right trees on number three. A low, hooking shot out of the trees on number two got me near the green and a great up-and-down saved my par. From the right trees on the third hole, I pretty much had to chip my ball out into the fairway. Facing 107 yards for my third shot into the par four, I hit a great wedge right over the flagstick and calmly rolled in a 15-foot putt for par. To walk away from with pars on those two holes was a testament to my positive attitude and my good short game. I felt awesome escaping my two errant tee shots with pars, and I got back on track in a big way with three consecutive birdies on holes 4-6 to open up a two shot lead. In fact, after my conspicuous start, I followed my game plan almost perfectly the final 15 holes. With the exception of two more poor tee shots on holes 10 and 15, I hit great tee shots the rest of the way and hit each of the last 15 greens in regulation except for number 10. I made pars on holes 7-12 and saw a couple of players get back to within one shot of my lead. But on the par-5 13th, I ended my par streak in a big way. A great drive and a sweet hybrid from 235 yards set up a 12-foot putt for eagle and I rolled it right in the middle. That eagle opened up a three-shot lead, and pars on holes 14-17 kept me two shots clear of the field before I hit a great 7-iron approach within four feet of the hole on 18th hole for a closing birdie to seal my final-round 65 and a three-shot margin of victory. It was a solid round and a great feeling.

I won this week because I did everything fairly well. My wedge play was very good, but other than that, I did everything just fairly well. I hit a lot of good tee shots and was able to keep my misses in play; I hit a lot of solid iron shots and rarely hit what I would call a "poor" iron; and I putted the ball nicely all week. My touch was great on the very fast greens. I had no three putts this week, and, though I did miss four putts this week in the 3-6 foot range, I was fairly solid from short-range on the greens. My short game was sharp this week as well, and that was great to see. All areas of my game feel pretty good, but there is definitely room to keep improving, and I am excited to continue getting better.

I do need to say that I was not good at all this week at working towards my process goals. I really do feel like I had good practice sessions and obviously I did the things I needed to do to be successful, but I didn't complete my fitness goals, putting drills, or wedge-play practice this week. I put in a lot of effort with my putter and wedges this week, but didn't really manage my time very well and was again too lenient on myself about my goals. I have the entire next week off from competition, and I am going to hold myself 100% accountable for all of my process goals and get back into good habits with my practice.

With that said, my game feels awesome. I know that I need to continue to sharpen all the areas of my game and develop more consistency and continue to improve, but I feel like I am still progressing very nicely. My next competition will come September 22-23 in the Missouri Open at the Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia, MO. I am excited to compete in my college town in an event that I won last year. I know that some good practice between now and then will have me ready to defend that title just like I did this week in Nebraska. My game is exciting, and more and bigger good things are on the way. Keep it hear for practice reports along the way!

By the way, the outpouring of support that I have already received from all of you after this win is awesome! Thank you so much for thinking of me and cheering for me!

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