Saturday, March 31, 2012

Solid Finish; Momentum Rolling Forward

I still didn't shoot an excitingly low number, but my performance in the final round of this week's Egolf event--the River Run Classic--was one that has me feeling very excited moving forward. Even though a frustrating start had me at even par through 14 holes despite hitting the ball beautifully, I stuck with my plan for the week and remained upbeat and positive, and I was able to snag a couple of birdies in the closing four holes to post a final-round score of 70 and sneak up the leaderboard a little bit. I felt like I played well enough to post a very good final round, but I know that exciting scores will be coming shortly. I moved up into a tie for 15th place, and I'm confident that this finish will be the start of some good results to come as I get rolling into the season.

I want to tell one funny story from the final hole of the tournament. The 18th at River Run is a beautiful par 5 with a lake the runs up the right side of the fairway. The green sits across the lake, creating a great risk/reward opportunity on both the tee shot and the second shot. I hit an aggressive tee shot up the right side of the fairway in the final round, and had a chance to go for the green in two. Facing 226 yards to a front hole location on a huge three-tiered green, I hit a nice full hybrid hoping that it would use the large slope behind the hole-location and funnel back toward the hole. I executed quite nicely, but my shot was just a little too low, and it skipped up and over the first tier of the green. Then, to my astonishment, it kept rolling all the way up and over the second tier. When I walked across the bridge, I found my ball just two yards from the back fringe. The greens at River Run are extremely fast and very complex, and I am proud to say that I negotiated the first 53 holes of the tournament without a three-putt. On the final hole, however, I faced a 120-foot putt down two massive tiers with a lake waiting to capture any over-aggressive effort. I studied the putt for quite a while, and then employed the hit-and-hope strategy. The putt sped down the first slope and made it's way across the middle tier. It was losing its speed across the middle tier and I thought that it would stop before making it down the second slope to the bottom level of the green. The ball continued to creep, however, and eventually trickled down the final slope and settled just two feet from the hole. I can't bring myself to fist-pump on a golf course, but I did raise my arms in triumph to the crowd that was gathered on the clubhouse balcony overlooking the green. It was a happy ending to a tournament that I honestly believe will spark my 2012 season.

I am going to play in a Carolinas Pro Tour event next week at a course called the Palisades on the south side of Charlotte, NC. I'm excited to keep playing and to go chase down another win on that smaller tour. More importantly, I'm going to keep practicing my relaxed and more easy-going attitude during tournament golf. The Carolinas Tour event will keep the momentum rolling into the next full-length Egolf event the following week at St. James Plantation. I feel like I am getting into the flow of the golf season, and I really enjoy this time of year.

I have done a good job this week of working towards my process goals. I need to have a good Sunday tomorrow to complete one final putting drill and a little bit of short game work, but I have been very productive thus far. I managed my time well during this week's tournament and am excited to keep a good routine going as I start to spend multiple weeks at a time on the road. I am working hard but feeling great about it.

2012 is going to be a great year! Keep it right here to enjoy the ride with me!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

So Close to Playing Well

My game feels good, but my scores are still just hanging around that "mediocre-at-best" category. Today in the second round of the Egolf Tour's River Run Classic, I feel like my execution was pretty good most of the day, but all I have to show for it is a round of even-par 72 and an early final round tee time on Friday.

The fact that I have a tee time at all for the third and final round is exciting, though. I hit both of the only two shots that I would call very poor today on the 13th hole and suffered a double bogey. That dropped me back to even par for the event with a very daunting five-hole finish ahead of me. I was determined to remember my new attitude and remained fairly upbeat. After making an important par-saving putt at the par-3 14th, I made easy pars on 15 and 16 and stepped to the tee of the demanding par-3 17th still at even par for the tournament. I had 194 yards downhill to a flag cut just over a bunker in the front right portion of the green. The shot was probably playing about ten yards less than the yardage for the downhill, so I decided to be aggressive and try to hit a hard six iron. I committed to the shot and hit one of the best irons I can remember in a long while. The ball nestled some 4 feet behind the hole, and I made the putt for a birdie. A closing par at the risk-reward par-5 18th left me feeling disappointed with my score but proud of my execution and excited for the opportunity to play in the final round.

I'm on the brink of playing great golf. I need to shoot a very low round sometime soon to get my year rolling. Maybe tomorrow will be the day! Either way, I'm going to continue to enjoy myself and keep getting better. Come back for a final-round report tomorrow evening. Thank you for following!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mission Accomplished (Sort of) in Round 1

I enjoyed myself and smiled all day during the first round of this week's Egolf tournament--the River Run Classic. I was a little shaky in the early-going but stayed relaxed and was able to put together a two-bogey, three-birdie first round of 71. I knew that I didn't get a whole lot of birdie production out of my game today, but I felt like that was some fairly good playing given windy conditions, super fast greens, and a fairly demanding lay-out at River Run. Apparently a couple of guys in the field didn't find the course to be quite as challenging as I did because there was a 62 and a 64 in round 1. I'm not too worried about that, though. I played well and feel like my attitude and my game are both in good form. I'm excited to make more birdies in round 2 and post a good number. I don't tee off until 1:50 Thursday afternoon for my second round, but I'm going to be relaxed and confident, and I'm going to enjoy myself again. Come back late in the evening for an exciting round-2 report!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

River Run Ready

This week's Egolf event is the first 54-hole tournament of the year on this circuit and all three rounds will be held at River Run Country Club. River Run is a great course with plenty of challenge, and I'm excited to play it. My game looked a little bit rough today in a practice round, but a solid day of practice on Monday and a new attitude have me feeling ready to go! I will enjoy myself from start to finish tomorrow, and I'm going top hit a lot of confident and relaxed shots. Good results are going to come soon, and I think they can start tomorrow! Come back for a round-one report in the evening.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Great Wedding!

Okay, this was kind of predictable. I had a stellar three days of practice on Monday-Wednesday and set up myself so that I had very little work to do over my buddy's wedding weekend in order to complete all of my practice goals. A nasty weather day on Friday and lots of fun groomsman responsibilities put a damper on my practice the second half of the week, however, and I never finished my final putting drill or the last 1+ hours of short game drills I was supposed to do over the weekend. I am disappointed not to have completed my practice goals, but I am not going to be too hard on myself this time around. I did have a great match with my former teammate, John Kelly, late Friday afternoon, and I did get up early each morning and was able to complete all of fitness goals for the week. Most importantly, I was there for one of my very best friends on his wedding day and the days leading up to it. We had a lot of fun and the marriage was a huge success. It was painful to miss an Egolf event at a place that I enjoy playing, but I definitely made the correct choice and have great memories to show for it.

I am definitely excited right now, too, because I think I might play tournament golf for many consecutive weeks now going forward. The Egolf tour has it's first 54-hole event of the year this week at a great course called River Run Country Club just north of Charlotte, NC, and then the Carolina's Pro Tour has a couple of consecutive weeks with events before the Egolf plays again.

I think a fun-filled weekend was just what the doctor ordered for me. My golf game is in great shape, and I'm sure that a recharged attitude will get me rolling into this approaching string of events. I will have a great day of practice in Tennessee tomorrow (Monday) and then will hit the road for Charlotte either Monday evening or early Tuesday for this week's Egolf event. I love what I do, and I'm ready to start enjoying it even more during tournament weeks. Good things are coming. Keep it here for all the news!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Three Good Days of Work

I want to give just a very quick update of my practice this week before I hit the road for St. Louis and my good buddy's wedding. I have taken advantage of three perfect days of weather with a lot of good work. Most of my time has been spent with my wedges or putter in hand, but I have also played quite a few holes and am pumped about the way I'm hitting it. I have been knocking out my process goals very efficiently and have just one putting drill and less than two hours of short game work remaininging to complete all of my practice drills. My priority on my trip this weekend will definitely be spending time with my friend and celebrating his marriage, but I know that I will be able to sneak in some golf as well. In fact, one of my former teammates at the University of Missouri will be home in St. Louis this weekend, and I think we're going to have a match on friday. I will continue to do good work even while I'm on the road this weekend. I am going to finish my process goals and keep getting better. Keep it here for a report from St. Louis!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Ready to Report on Last Week; Pumped Moving Forward

For the first time in my professional golf career, I was too disappointed to write anything positive on my blog last Thursday evening. Despite feeling great about the way I was playing and having a lot of confidence, I got uncomfortable and tense in some key spots during the second round of last week's tournament and suffered a second-round score of two-over-par 74 to fall just outside of the cutline. After a great weekend of practice, I can look back on it now and see that my physical skills were actually pretty sharp in last week's tournament and be encouraged by that. In all reality, I executed about 90% of my shots well last week, but I made a few major errors and got a little bit too uptight at some inopportune times and those mistakes cost me. I sound like a broken record with this, but I really do need to relax and just go enjoy myself during these tournament rounds. I honestly feel like I'm playing the best golf of my life right now, and instead of letting that fuel my confidence, I am using it to put more pressure on myself. This past week was an eye-opener that has finally let me see for certain that I am trying too hard to force success on the golf course rather than just enjoying myself and letting it happen. I had a great three days of practice over the weekend and am very excited to keep moving forward.

After my second round was over last Thursday, I was determined that I would not waste any time sulking despite my disappointment. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, I went out for a good practice session after my round and that set the tone for a very solid weekend. I practiced at Pine Needles on Thursday and Friday and then spent the weekend with some friends in Charlotte. During that time, I had some great practice sessions and workouts and was able to complete all of my process goals (+ a few extras) for the week. I also had some really good matches on Saturday and Sunday in Charlotte. I really enjoyed myself on the course over the weekend, and the results showed it. My game looked and felt great! I need to take the attitude that I'm just beatin' up on my buddies to tournament rounds with me. I love to play golf, and I especially love to play tournament golf. I am going to have fun and smile every time I tee it up in tournament play from now on.

I will be taking this week off from competition because my college roommate for three years and one of my closest friends is getting married in St. Louis, MO. I missed another of my best friend's wedding last spring to play an event, and I have regretted it. As much as I want to play in this week's tournament, I know that being in my friend's wedding is the right choice, and I will enjoy my short trip to St. Louis this week. With that said, this will be one of my most challenging weeks of practice. It is a non-tournament week which means that my process goals are fairly laborious, but I am determined to get them done. I have three full days in Tennessee before heading to the midwest on Thursday. I will also be able to sneak in some practice in St. Louis on Friday/Saturday. I will have a great week of work, and will be even more ready to go when next week rolls around. The Egolf Tour plays it's first shorter, 54-hole event of the year next week just north of Charlotte at a course called River Run. My preparation this week combined with a new and improved attitude will have me ready to go!

The golf season is really about to start flowing here soon. It is a very exciting time, and I'm pumped to have a new perspective and to have my game in such great shape. Obviously the year is off to a slower start than I had hoped, but I am not concerned. I am going to have a great week of work this week and then hit the tournament trail with a big smile on my face next week and get my 2012 rolling! Keep it here for updates along the way. Thank you very much for following!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

9 Holes to Build on From Round One

The result was a two-under-par round of 69 at Pine Needles on day one, but my performance was far from solid. I butchered the course's three par-5's, missed a near tap-in on the second hole, and hit a couple of shots that left me shaking my head. On holes 6-14, however, I executed beautifully. I think I can build on that and be a much more consistent in the coming rounds. I am going to get myself back in contention in this event, and it is going to start with a solid round tomorrow in the second round at Seven Lakes Country Club. Come back for the good news tomorrow evening!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lots of News

Sorry for the long delay since my last report. I'm currently in Sanford, North Carolina, where I am staying with some friends for this week's Egolf event at Pine Needles Resort. I've got no internet access, so I'm blogging on my phone; therefore, I'm going to give you the latest news in bullet point format:

-I didn't finish my process goals last week. I feel great about my practice and put in some good time, but struggled with my putting drills and came up two drills short of completing my goal. In addition, I failed to spend the short time that I am supposed to checking my alignment and putting stroke path. Part of my problem last week was just that I was struggling to get the putts to fall when I needed them to, but a small part of the problem was also time management, and that is not acceptable. I'm disappointed in myself, but I'm still proud of the hard work I am putting into my game.

-I have continued to do a great job with my fitness work and have worked into a solid routine that includes appropriate and efficient fitness sessions on tournament weeks.

-I'm going to remain committed to all of my process goals and hold myself accountable for completing all of them every week.

-I made the trip over to the Pinehurst area on Sunday evening and am getting ready to go for the Egolf event this week. I had a great practice round at Pine Needles on Tuesday. I also played a practice round at tournament co-host Seven Lakes Country Club on Monday and am pumped about both venues for this week's event.

-I tee off at 11:50 at Pine Needles in Wednesday's first round.

-This is going to be a great Tournament for me.

-You should come back for a short report of the good news following each round. 

Thank you very much for all your support!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quick Play-by-Play from the Win; Back to Work Now

It felt good to get the job done in the tournament yesterday, and having to overcome a bit of adversity early in the round made it all the more sweet. I began the round with a one-shot lead over three other players and was paired with two of them in the final group. I made solid pars on the first two holes and then let a good birdie opportunity slip away on the long par-five 3rd hole where I failed to get up and down from 68 yards. Still, I was even par through three holes and feeling okay about things. Then I had a mini-implosion on the fourth hole. I was committed to my plan on the downhill par-3, but my execution was absolutely awful, and I hit a six iron into a creek left of the green. I had to drop on a bit of a downslope and proceeded to half-blade a little pitch shot some 25 feet past the hole. I was definitely a little bit rattled, but I pulled myself together and hit a good putt, which followed my line perfectly and rolled right into the middle of the hole. The bogey sent me to one over par for the round and dropped me behind one of my playing competitors who birdied the hole, but I felt rejuvenated by the bogey putt. The fourth hole was my last blunder of the day. From that point on, I made a lot of solid swings, hit some very quality wedge shots, and putted the ball beautifully. Birdies at the par-5 sixth hole and short par-4 eighth got me to four-under par for the event and had me tied with a competitor playing in the group ahead of me heading into the back nine. I stuffed a wedge for a birdie on the par-4 11th and recovered from a poor drive with two great shots on the watery par-5 13th to make another birdie. Two good shots led to a birdie on the par-4 14th and gave me a three-shot clearance over the players in my group, though I wasn't aware of what the player in the group ahead was doing. After pars on 15 and 16, I was informed by a leaderboard that I was leading by only one shot over the player in the group ahead of me. Standing in the fairway of the short but tough par-5 17th, I could see the player in the group ahead of me make a birdie to pull even with me. I had hit a good drive and had a chance to attack the green with my second shot. I chose four-iron and hit it very solidly right at the flag, but watched with disappointment as my ball landed just short of the front edge of the green and came rolling back down the slope in front of the elevated green. I faced a fairly difficult chip and was definitely feeling some nerves as I surveyed it, but I hit a decent shot to about five feet and drained the putt. A conservative tee shot and a six iron into the middle of the green set up an easy par on the closing hole. The end result was a final-round 67 and a one-shot victory. It was a great performance, and it is safe to say that lovin' feeling is back as I head into Egolf Tour play next week.

I am pumped that I have some good news to report to you on here, but I think this week's event is just a precursor of the good things that are to come. I'm back in east tennessee now and had a great afternoon of practice today. I need to keep having good sessions to sharpen all areas of my game, but I think it is safe to say that I am on the right track! I'll be back on the road Sunday evening for next week's Egolf event at Pine Needles, but before then, I have some work to do these next few days to finish all of my process goals for the week. I'm going to get them done, though.

Thank you to everyone for the encouragement and support. Keep it here for more good news moving forward.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Now We're Talking!

I need to get on the road now, but this picture tells the outcome of the tournament! I'll come back tomorrow and give the story.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Good Attitude and 13 Great Holes

I felt great after a very productive week of practice last week and a good performance in my practice round on Monday, but I came out of the gates feeling a bit uncomfortable and hit some dreadful golf shots in the opening holes. Errant iron shots into the first two holes left me scrambling and I was lucky to get out of the the first two with a bogey and a par. It looked like I had righted the ship with near birdies at holes three and four and an 8-iron approach to less than three feet from the hole on the par-4 fifth. Facing a short, sliding, downhill birdie putt, I was determined to firm it into the center of the hole. I pulled it badly, though, and the ensuing lip-out left me with a ten footer for par, and I walked away from the fifth hole with a bogey after stuffing my approach shot. Events on the Carolinas Pro Tour are just 36 holes, and I knew I couldn't let my poor start spiral out of control or I would be out of the tournament. I was hitting solid shots, though, and I knew if I stayed positive and relaxed, that I could do good things. I played the final 13 holes with five birdies and no bogeys for a three-under-par round of 69. I never missed a fairway all day, and my iron play was rock solid after the first two holes. I putted nicely and really showed a lot of promise with my short game as well. It was a great effort all-around after the rocky start, and I am pumped to go build on that round and keep the good stuff going tomorrow.

The course was playing tough today, and my round actually has given me the overnight lead heading into the event's final round. There are plenty of people right around me on the leaderboard, though, so tomorrow will be a fun day. I will be relaxed tomorrow and will enjoy myself from start to finish. I'm going to stay in the present and commit to each shot. I'm going to have a blast! Come back for some good news in the evening! Thank you for following.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Carolina Lakes

I had a great practice round today and am ready to go in this Carolinas Pro Tour event. The course is very good, and a little six-birdie practice round in some tough conditions today has me feeling good! I'm going to stay relaxed and enjoy myself, and I'm confident it'll be a great event!

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Great Week of Work

I just want to give a quick update after a solid week of work. I needed to get some good feelings going, and I have done just that. It wasn't all golden, and I still had to battle some struggles with my short game in matches on Thursday and Friday, but my ball-striking and putting have felt great this week, and some very focused short game work this weekend has me feeling confident about all areas of my game. I was able to complete all of my process goals this week, and I feel very good about that. My week of work was just what the doctor ordered, and I'm ready to get back to tournament action!

I will get a little bit of tournament action in my life this week. I made the drive to Charlotte, NC, Sunday evening and will play a two-day event at a course called Carolina Lakes on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm excited to play in a competitive environment and am looking forward to the opportunity to get some positive tournament vibes flowing! I will play a practice round Monday and then tournament rounds Tuesday/Wednesday. Keep it here for good updates!

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New Blog Site

Hi everyone! Thank you for continuing to try to keep up with me. As you might have noticed, I've not been updating this blog at all late...