Thursday, September 27, 2012

Quick Pre Final-Round Update

It has been a crazy week, and I don't have any time to write right now, but I want to let you all know what has happened at this week's eGolf event at Olde Sycamore. Here is the bullet point version:

After a poor ball-striking performance in the Tour Monday Qualifier this week, I was determined to clean up my performance and have a great eGolf event. In the beginning, I didn't.

In Wednesday's opening round of the tournament, I was two over par through one hole, three over par through three holes, and four over par through six holes. I battled hard all day, but could manage only a two-over-par round of 74.

I had a good afternoon of practice on Wednesday and had more good work on Thursday morning. I really didn't feel a lot better on the course on Thursday afternoon than I had in Wednesday's first round, but I posted a six-birdie, no bogey round of 66.

I have safely made the cut and will tee it up in Friday's final round at 8:30. I am pumped to still be playing!

It's going to be a busy weekend, but I will definitely be back to give you the final report from Olde Sycamore and information about the exciting stuff that is approaching for me.

Thank you so much for keeping up with me!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

No Good This Monday

There is not a lot of good news from my qualifying round for this week's Tour event. I hit the ball surprisingly poorly and never gave myself any good birdie looks all day. Luckily, I made a thirty-foot birdie putt on the first hole, or the course would have shut me out. I made two bogeys and just the lone birdie for a non-qualifying score of 73. I'm not sure what exactly went wrong. I felt great about my weekend of practice and felt good heading into my round Monday morning. I was simply out of sorts all day. I drove the ball well enough to shoot a good score, but my iron and wedge play was simply atrocious. It was disappointing while it was happening, and I'm definitely bummed not to be playing on the Tour this week, but I did a good job of regrouping after my round yesterday and had a fantastic practice session in the afternoon. I'm fully focused now on the eGolf Tour event this week at a course called Olde Sycamore on the east side of Charlotte, NC. The event is Wednesday-Friday, and I expect to have a solid week of work and be in contention coming down the stretch on Friday. Good things are still happening, and great things are coming. Keep it here for all the news! Thank you for keeping up with me!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Great Weekend of Work

After further thought, my body of work at this week's eGolf event was pretty good. To finish in fourth place with a performance that certainly left a lot to be desired is definitely a good outcome. My ball-striking was really quite poor over the final two rounds, and both my routine and my results on the greens were poor in the final round. Given the good finish in the tournament despite the disappointing aspects of my execution, I was motivated to have a good weekend a practice and clean up some of the areas that let me down this past week. I have some exciting opportunities coming up in the next couple weeks, and I really feel like my game is in great shape for them.

I was able to have an excellent weekend practice. I nailed my remaining putting drills and trusted my new routine while dealing with a little bit of pressure towards the end of each. My short game work was also quite good this weekend, and I am really starting to develop some confidence in my chipping. I had struggled with some of my practice goals during the tournament, but I efficiently handled all of my drills this weekend. In addition to that, I had my first full-length, pain-free run since injuring my foot on Saturday morning to complete all of my fitness goals for the week. Therefore, I once again knocked out all of my process goals this past week. I am proud of the way that I have held my commitment to finish my process goals every week, and I plan to keep it up until I am all the way through Q-school.

This will be a fun week with a big opportunity for me. I am playing in the Monday Qualifier for the Tour's Chiquita Classic in Charlotte, NC. I know that my game is in good enough shape to qualify and play well in the tournament, but because I know that Monday Qualifiers can be a crapshoot, I have also signed up for this week's eGolf event which is also in Charlotte. Obviously, I expect and hope to be competing on the Tour, but it is exciting to know that I will be playing competitive tournament golf either way. With that said, I really do think that I am playing well enough to make a late season run here on the Tour. It will all start with a solid effort in the Monday Qualifier.

Come back Monday evening for a report from the Qualifier. It is going to be a great week! Thank you very much for following me!

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Final-Round Failure; Still Reasons for Optimism

I owe a full report from Friday's final round of this week's eGolf event, but I just want to give a quick summary of it for now. I felt mentally prepared to give a great performance as I headed into the last round alone in second place and just one shot behind the leader. Unfortunately, I didn't deliver. I drove the ball erratically and wasn't very good on the greens either. I lost control of my mindset at times and definitely didn't stick to my new routine as well as I would have liked. In many ways, it was a disappointing performance. I did, however, have the mental fortitude to play hard through some adversity. Despite being two over par through seven holes, I tried to keep myself fired up about each shot, and I put together a pretty good stretch of golf. Birdies on holes 8, 10, 11, and 17 sent me to the long par-5 18th needing a birdie to force a playoff. A poorly executed second shot left me hitting my third from the unpredictable bermuda rough and my sand wedge shot from just over 100 yards came up about 25 feet short of the hole. It was a make-able putt, but I was too aggressive and hit it through the break and well past the hole. I missed the ensuing par putt for a disappointing bogey finish that dropped me into a tie for fourth place in the tournament. I was disappointed with my finish and with my play in general during the final round, yet I was still in position to win the golf tournament. That is very encouraging stuff! I am going to have a solid weekend of work and get my game and my routine back where I want them. Come back Sunday evening for a more thorough report and to hear about the excitement coming up in the next couple weeks. Thank you for keeping up with me and for your support!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Perfect Test for My Fidget-less Routine

I looked a bit out of sorts all day in round 2. After opening the Egolf Tour's Cabarrus Classic with a very solid round of 64 on Wednesday, I was far from solid in Thursday's second round. I was sloppy off of the tee, mishit a lot of iron shots, failed to hit my wedges close the hole, and was a little uncomfortable on the greens. With all of that, I still managed my game quite well and posted another bogey-free round. I could muster only three birdies, however, and signed for a 69 at the end of the day. I am currently eleven under par for the tournament and alone in second place heading into tomorrow's final round. The leaderboard is quite bunched and there are a plethora of good players within three shots of the leader's twelve-under-par total. The final round will be jam-packed with excitement on Friday, and I am pumped to be in the mix!

I have to admit that I let my mindset get away from me a little bit during the second round. As I made par after par and failed to convert some very reasonable birdie opportunities, I began to press a little bit and try too hard. The greens were fairly bumpy given soft conditions and my afternoon tee time, but instead of focusing on my routine and worrying about my own execution, I was trying to will the ball into the hole over the bumps. For the first time in the last couple weeks, I found myself taking a couple extra looks over some of my putts and fidgeting a little bit again. It wasn't too bad, but I want to nip that in the bud and keep progressing with my new and improved routine.

Friday will be an excellent test for my mental game and my new routine. I will be in the final pairing and will certainly be feeling some added pressure, but if I can stay relaxed and stay focused on my own game, I will be able to execute my new routine easily. I am going to try not to think about my score or my standing in the field at all. I just want to see it, feel it, and trust it on each and every shot and execute fearlessly. It is going to be a fun day, and I am looking forward to everything about it! Come back for a full report Friday evening. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good Start at Cabarrus

My game was close to feeling just right in the first round of this week's eGolf event at Cabarrus Country Club. I was fairly comfortable with my new routine and executed really nicely most of the day. I birdied all four par fives and notched four other birdies on my way to a bogey-free opening round of 64. My only shortcomings were a couple of sloppy misses from inside of ten feet on the front nine and a couple of mishit tee shots. I was never in any trouble all day, though, and am very pleased with all areas of my game. My mindset will be the same for round two on Thursday. I need to be committed to my new routine, a good attitude, and patience on the course. I think I can keep improving. Keep it here to follow the action. Thank you!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time to Go!

It has been a soggy couple of days in preparation for this week's Egolf event at Cabarrus Country Club. Rain has doused the greater Charlotte area, but surprisingly, there have been a lot of nice windows during which the rain has subsided or at least lightened enough to get quite a bit of work done. After a productive day on Monday in which I had some good practice and played two-thirds of a practice round, I dodged heavy rains in the morning and played a full practice round Tuesday afternoon. I have started to hit the ball much more solidly over the past couple of days, and my short game and putting continue to feel great. During this week's event, I will once again been focused largely on incorporating my new routine into my golf game and having a great attitude on the course, but I must say that I think I'm ready to be competing at the top of the leaderboard late on the final day. All aspects of my game are continuing to improve, and I know that if I'm patient, great results will come soon. I'm going to be patient this week, and we'll see what happens. I get started at 8:20 in Wednesday's first round. Come back for a good report in the evening. Thank you for your support!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oops, Delayed Final-Round Report + Week Summary

I never shared the story of the final round from this past week's Egolf event at Star Fort Golf Club in Ninety-six, SC. That's a sad deal, too, because it is a pretty good story. By virtue of the fact that I made the cut right on the number, I earned the privilege to be in Friday's first group off the tee. Playing at 8:00 a.m. in a group with just one other competitor, I had a feeling it might be a good day. Despite a strangely poor warm-up session, I felt great all morning, and even though my opening tee shot missed the fairway wide right, it didn't take me long to settle into a solid final round. I missed some greens in the early going, but my short game was spot on, and I even chipped in for an eagle on the par-5 second hole. Though I never had any great looks for birdie the rest of the front nine, I was able to neatly tap in for par on almost every hole. I made my only bogey of the final two rounds with a sloppy three-putt on the tenth hole, but then came alive and birdied four of the last eight holes for a final-round score of 67 (-5). That round moved me up to a tie for 15th place. It felt great to post a good score and move up the leaderboard a little bit!

The most important take-home point that I will remember from last week's tournament is the great birdie that I was able to make on the 36th hole knowing that my chances of playing the weekend were likely hanging in the balance. I try not to let the cut line or other distractions affect my focus heading into each shot, but of course I felt a little more pressure knowing that I was right around the cut line. In addition to that clutch birdie, I'm excited about the way that my new routine is feeling. I did a great job this week of trusting it, and though I definitely took an extra look at my target a few times and still fidgeted a bit more than I would like to, I made great progress and am encouraged by my effort.

I had a good week of practice during the tournament as well. Star Fort featured beautiful bermuda grass greens that were in fantastic shape. I do that vast majority of my playing and practicing on bent grass greens but will play all three stages of Q-school on bermuda this fall, so it was important to me to have a good week of practice on and around the putting surfaces. I definitely did just that. I nailed all of my putting drills this week and completed all of my short game work quite efficiently as well. My short game work and putting drills are definitely doing their job. I feel like my game on and around the greens is good right now and is continuing to improve. My ball-striking was a bit off this week and has continued to be through some weekend practice sessions, but I know that I will get that back, so I am very excited about the state of my game and the direction in which I feel like it is going.

I did all of my fitness work this week, too, so I completed all of my process goals. I even went for a couple of runs this week, which is something I hadn't done since hurting my foot three weeks ago, and I'm pleased to say that everything is feeling good on that front. My fitness level is holding steady at a high level. It was a solid week of work, and I am feeling great.

I was scheduled to play this Monday-Tuesday on the Carolinas Pro Tour, but that event has been cancelled due to a lack of player interest. That is just as well because I can now turn my attention fully to the Egolf Tour event this week at Cabarrus Country Club. The event is Wednesday-Friday, and I now have two full days to prepare for it. I'm already excited to play, and you can bet that I'll be ready by Wednesday. Keep it here for all the news throughout the week! Thank you for following me!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stressful Solid Day in Round 2

I told myself that I wasn't going to worry about the cut as I played the second round of this week's Egolf event at Star Fort Golf Club in Ninety-six, South Carolina. I began the day at even par, but had a fantastic morning heading into my 1:10 tee time for the second round. "Just relaxed play and commitment to my new routine," I urged myself heading into the round. I started on the back nine and birdied holes 11 and 12 after on opening par on the 10th. Maybe it was going to be an easy day I thought. Wrong. After my hot start, I parred the next 14 holes. Many of the pars were of the routine kind as I actually did play quite solidly, but on a few occasions, I had to work hard and convert some important putts in the 5-8 foot range to keep my scorecard blemish free. Even though I was able to keep the bogeys off the card, I couldn't help but know as I played my final hole of the day that another par was not going to be good enough to make the cut. Facing a dogleg right par four with thick rough and a stand of pines on both sides of the fairway, I carved a nice faded driver into the fairway and proceeded to hit a hard pitching wedge to six feet. I was directly above the hole and faced a scary looking putt. I had completed my six-footer drill during my morning practice session, and I drew from that experience to calmly (somewhat calmly, anyway) roll the putt right into the middle of the hole. The closing birdie gave me a three-under-par round of 69 and allowed me to make the cut right on the number.

Obviously making cuts is not my goal. I expect to be in contention and winning Egolf events, but I am proud of the way that I finished today and know that I can draw on that experience in positive ways moving forward.

The fall events on the Egolf Tour (of which this is the first) are all 54-hole events, so tomorrow will be the final round. I really like this golf course and feel like I'm ready to play a very good round on it, so maybe I will post a good number and shoot up the final-day leaderboard. I know that I will continue to have a good mindset and work on ingraining my new pre-shot routine. Things are feeling good! Come back for a final-round report in the evening. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Update from Ninety-six, South Carolina

The eGolf Tour is back in action. I drove down to Ninety-six, South Carolina, on Tuesday and had a great day of preparation for this week's event, which is being played at a course called Star Fort. This course is really good. It features fairly tight fairways with thick, penalizing rough and fast bermuda greens. I feel comfortable on the course and had a spectacular day of practice on the bermuda greens Tuesday, so I expected big things from myself when the tournament got started on Wednesday.
I am committed to my new "less fidgety" routine and, after the first round here at Star Fort, I can definitely tell that it is going to be easy to incorporate into my game. Unfortunately, my execution wasn't very good in round 1. I drove the ball poorly, struggled to hit my irons solidly, misjudged a couple pitch shots, and had two disappointing three-putts. With all of that, I stayed very composed and patient all day. I ended up birdieing the final hole for an even-par round of 72.
I will definitely have to post a good number in round 2 if I want to get back in this event, but I believe that I can do that. I'm going to remain committed to breaking in my new routine and also to enjoying myself on the course, and I am confident that good results will follow! Keep it here for more updates along the way. Thank you for following me!

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Change is Good; Exciting Things Coming

It has been a busy week, but I am pumped to say that it has been filled with very productive and important work. At the Carolinas Tour event on Tuesday-Wednesday, a problem that has been slowly growing in my golf game reached a point where I could ignore it no longer. Having to address the problem stressed me out while thinking about it, but once I started working on Thursday, I made quick progress and feel great about things now. The next four weeks are packed with a lot of exciting action, and thanks to an excellent week of practice, I am feeling great heading into them.

The problem in my golf game can best be described as a general “fidgetiness” over the ball. Sports psychologists in golf talk a lot about pre-shot routines, and it is definitely true that having a reliable pre-shot routine is fundamental to a solid mental game. There are conflicting ideas about what a pre-shot routine should be however. Dr. Bob Rotella and many prominent sports psychologists believe that a useful pre-shot routine should be executed the exact same way before every single shot, but Jack Nicklaus believed that a successful pre-shot routine should include anything that enables a player to feel ready to hit the specific shot that faces him or her. I definitely have a fairly set routine that I perform before each and every shot, but I also have adopted a bit of Nicklaus’ philosophy in that I will allow myself some extra preparation on certain shots. Earlier in the year, this “extra preparation” entailed an extra look or two at my target over some shots, but over the course of the year, I have gotten to the point where I’m having trouble pulling the trigger. I will go through my routine, address the shot, and then look at the target many times while waggling the club or taking my left hand on and off the grip. The extra time over the ball affects my commitment to the shots that I am trying to hit. I decided on Thursday that I am going to commit to executing a more consistent pre-shot routine and taking just one look at my target once I address the ball. As long as I create a clear picture in my mind of what I am trying to do with each shot before I address the ball, there is no reason to take more than one look at the target. Because my fidgetiness had become habitual over the course of the year, it was a daunting task trying to make the change, but the uncomfortable feeling has subsided dramatically in just the last four days of practice, and the results have been phenomenal. I feel much better when it’s time to pull the trigger on golf shots now, and I can’t wait to show off my new routine under tournament pressure.

The next four weeks will offer plenty of opportunities for me to get my new routine “battle”-tested. The Egolf Tour kicks off its fall series this week in a town called Ninety-six, South Carolina, and plays the following two weeks in the Charlotte, NC, area. In addition to being back in action on the Egolf tour, I will likely double-up one week and play another event on the Carolinas Tour as well during that stretch. Immediately following the Egolf run, the Tour plays in consecutive weeks in Charlotte, NC, and Potomac, Maryland, and I plan to get myself into both of those events. It is an exciting time of year, and I am thrilled to keep competing.

I feel like this past week was one of my very best weeks of work I have had all year. Though I played the two-day event on the Carolinas Tour, I committed to achieving all of my non-tournament week process goals, and I was able to do that. My putting practice with my new routine was fantastic, and I saw similarly exciting results with my short game and wedge play. Though my foot is still recovering, I had a great week of workouts as well. I still substituted bike rides for all of my running workouts, but I did do some short sprint work on a hill on Sunday afternoon. My foot is probably ready for me to run on it, but I don’t want to push it. I was very thorough in all of my work this week, and I’m pumped to say that I truly feel like I got better in all facets of what I do.

I’ll hit the road early this week for South Carolina. The Egolf event is at a course called Star Fort and will be played Wednesday-Friday. I’m pumped to be back in Egolf action. At the beginning of the year, I wrote down multiple Egolf wins and the top position on the year-end money list as two of my outcome goals. Though I might be mathematically eliminated from achieving the second of those goals, I’m going to try like crazy to do the first and see how close I can get to the second. Most of all, though, I’m going to commit to my new routine and get comfortable with it in tournament play. It’s going to be a fun week and a great stretch over the next few weeks. Keep it here to enjoy the ride with me. Thank you so much for your support and for keeping up with me!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Final Round Report

I'm about to hit the road and head home from Charlotte, but I wanted to just drop a quick line about the second and final round from the Carolinas Tour event at Olde Sycamore. I played well, but still wasn't overly comfortable on the course and didn't feel like I was trusting myself very well on a lot of shots. I posted a score of 68 (-4) and finished in a tie for seventh place. I am pleased to have played well enough to earn a check, but the course definitely was yielding some better scores in round two, and I feel like I need to get "that lovin' feeling" back with some solid work over the next few days. I'm still very encouraged by the fact that I was able to post some pretty decent scores without feeling in control out on the course, but I feel like my game has been trending quickly upward in the past few weeks, and I want to get back on that trend. I'm pumped to have some good work back at home. Keep it here for a more thorough report in the coming days. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quick Round-1 Report

This week's Carolinas Pro Tour event is at a course on the east side of Charlotte, NC, called Olde Sycamore. It is a fairly short course, but the fairways are tough to hit, and the course features some punishing rough and greens that are difficult on which to putt. With that said, the course should be pretty easy. Scores in round one didn't reflect that on Tuesday, however, and I contributed with a very mediocre score of even par after a three-birdie, three-bogey effort. I had a good warm-up session and am feeling good about my game overall, but was out of sorts all day on the course. I did enough things well to still feel good about everything, though! I am in the middle of the pack heading into tomorrow's final round, but I'm only four shots behind the leader. It will be an exciting day, and I know that I can make a big move with a solid round. Come back for some good news in the evening! Thank you for following me!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My foot is still healing, and I have definitely been moving a bit slowly since returning home from last week's Carolinas Pro Tour event, but it was another productive week for me. I had to replace all of my runs for the week with bike rides, but I have enjoyed the change of pace and feel like my bike rides (from 16 to 23 miles) have been a more than sufficient cardiovascular workout to help me keep my fitness level high. Though I did not do a great deal of extra practice this week, I easily completed all of my process goals for week and feel like I continued to make great progress with my putting and short game. In addition to that, I have had good workouts and feel like I am staying strong and helping my foot to recover. With the very encouraging effort I put forth in the tournament last week combined with another solid week of work, I am feeling very good moving forward.

I will play another event on the Carolinas Pro Tour this week at a course called Olde Sycamore on the east side of Charlotte, NC. The 36-hole tournament will be Tuesday and Wednesday, and, after a sixth place finish two weeks ago and a fourth last week, I am trending in the right direction in these events! After this week, the Egolf Tour fall series kicks off with an event in Clinton, South Carolina, the following week, so I will try to carry some great momentum into that as I make a push to climb up the Egolf Tour money list this fall. I'm feeling great, and I'm excited to keep competing.

Since this week will mark the third consecutive week that I have played a two-day event on the Carolinas Pro Tour, I am going to make sure that I don't have another "easy" week with my practice goals. I am going to hold myself accountable for all of my non-tournament week process goals this week, which means that I will have to manage my time well and have very focused and efficient work sessions. My number one focus will be ensuring that I am prepared to play well in the Carolinas Tour event on Tuesday-Wednesday, but in addition to that, I am determined to have a thorough week of work as I prepare to make a strong run this fall.

This is going to be a big week. Keep it here for tournament results and all the rest of the news as well. Thank you for following me and for your support!

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...