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!

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