Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Relaxed and Ready

I purposely gave myself a day off from golf on Sunday to relax after surviving a demanding week at First Stage. Unfortunately, the weather forced me to take most of the day off on Monday, and then travel concerns ruled the day on Tuesday as I tried to negotiate the snow covered Smokey Mountains on my way to this week's eGolf event in Greensboro, NC. All travel went smoothly, and though I didn't have the practice I would have liked on Monday and Tuesday, I arrived in Greensboro Tuesday evening excited for the Wednesday morning start of this week's event.

Facing bitterly cold conditions and a great golf course (Forrest Oaks Country Club), I teed it up in the tournament's first group with a very conservative game plan and designs of a solid effort in my head. My main goal for the next two weeks on the eGolf Tour is to be relaxed and execute my plan on every shot with no doubts and no fidgeting over the ball. I met that goal in Wednesday's opening round at Forrest Oaks, and I executed my conservative game plan beautifully. I hit 17 greens in regulation on my way to an opening round of 65 (-7). I made eight birdies, and my lone blunder of the day came on an inexcusable three-putt from just ten feet on my 16th hole. I played great other than that mistake. I was relaxed, and I truly did execute every shot fearlessly in round one. It was great and definitely something positive on which I can build heading into Second Stage in a couple weeks.

Before I get ahead of myself, though, I have a great chance to accomplish something good here this week. My opening round has me in the lead, and I know that if I stay relaxed, I can keep it going! I had some solid practice after my opening round, and I'm feeling great about everything. Keep it here for the rest of the action this week. Thank you very much for keeping up with me!

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Rest of the Story

So I made it through the First Stage of PGA Tour Qualifying. That in itself is great news, but the way that it happened might just be even better news. I would really like to be able to say that my game and my mindset were great everyday and that I played four steady rounds and easily advanced through the first stage, but that is not quite the way it happened. My game was a bit erratic, and for most of the second round and the early stages of third round my emotions were out of control as well. In the middle two rounds, I was almost overcome with nerves and felt powerless as the fidgetiness returned to my routine and reeked havoc on my comfort level over golf shots. My prospects looked pretty bleak midway through the third round, but I held fast to a couple of my core beliefs and managed to pull myself out of a hole. I am going to give details about how it all played out and what I was thinking throughout the process, but the take-home point for me from this experience is the fact that I faced adversity from both my physical and mental games and managed to overcome them on my way to accomplishing my mission at the First Stage of Q-school. That might prove to be more meaningful in the long run than being in complete control of all aspects of my game and cruising through easily would have been.

Though there is definitely a general sense of heightened pressure that surrounds Qschool, I felt fairly calm and committed to a solid game plan during my opening-round 69. That sense of calm was nowhere to be found on day 2. I know that I control my own thoughts, but I could not reign in my wildly racing mind, and I struggled through a fidgety, uncomfortable, and non-confident round of 73 in round 2. I had a relaxing evening after my round-2 struggles put me behind the eight-ball at the half-way point, but I was greeted by the same out-of-control nervous mindset the next morning when my 3rd-round tee time arrived. I nervously struggled through the opening six holes at even-par before hitting one of the worst drives I can ever remember hitting on the par-5 16th hole (my seventh hole of the round). My ball took off so far off line that it hit trees just fifty yards from the tee box and rattled around in the woods while traveling a distance of only 150 yards. For a very brief moment, I gave up. As I searched for my ball, I felt physically and mentally defeated and, in that brief moment, I didn't think I could recover. When I found my ball (with some help from a group playing the preceding hole), I spent a good deal of time deciding what to do. I chose a very aggressive shot and tried to advance my ball out of the woods and toward the green through a very small opening in the trees. When I pulled off that difficult escape shot, I reminded myself of two of my core beliefs as I walked to my ball.

1.) I have the ability to choose my thoughts, and therefore, with some will power, I can choose to focus on one shot at a time and keep my thoughts in the present.

2.) I am the best putter I know, and regardless of my ball-striking struggles, I have a decided advantage because of my putting.

Keeping these two things in mind does not guarantee that I will always be successful, but in this case, doing so allowed me to turn things around. I was still very nervous, and I continued to fidget more than I want to over shots for the rest of the third round, but I got myself into a mental position to be successful over nearly every shot for the rest of the event. Starting with a great par save on that 16th hole during round 3, I played the final 30 holes in seven under par to get the job done. Despite being in an enormous situation, I was actually at my calmest during the final round. I am proud of that and pumped to be moving on in Qschool.

My game does need some work. Everything was better during the final round, from my driving of the golf ball to my trust level with my fidget-less routine, and I can use that as a great building block as I prepare for second stage. Though confidence is a thought and therefore a choice, it is true that "competence builds confidence." I need to increase my competence as a ball-striker so that the choice to approach each shot with confidence will be easier to make. I will have some quality practice over the next couple weeks, and I will absolutely be firing on all cylinders in mid-November when Second Stage rolls around.

I am going to keep my game sharp with tournament action the next couple weeks as well. The eGolf Tour has two events left on its 2012 schedule, and they will be contested the next two weeks. I plan to play in both and add to what has already been a solid year on that tour. I wrote at the beginning of the year in my "outcome goals" that I wanted to have multiple wins on that Tour. I have but one thus far. Let's see if I can achieve that goal over the next couple weeks.

Equally important will be my pursuit of my process goals for the rest of the year. My putting and short game have really responded well to the focused practice that my goals require, and I am excited to keep up with them. I had a great week of work during First Stage at Callaway Gardens, and while I am sad to say that I actually didn't quite finish all of my goals this past week, I feel comfortable saying that I deserved the day off on Sunday. I will make up for not finishing my process goals last week with diligent weeks leading into Second Stage. My practice has been consistently good most of the year, and I will continue to put in quality work to improve all aspects of my golf.

I am proud, relieved, and very much excited with the way First Stage went last week at Callaway Gardens. This is just the beginning. Great stuff is coming over the next couple months and then well into the future as well. Keep it here to enjoy the ride with me! Thank you very much for your support and encouragement along the way!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Moving On: Enough Said ...For Now

There is a lot to say about my last two days at the First Stage of Qschool, but I'm going to keep it short and very sweet for now. I posted rounds of 67 and 70 the last two days to reach 9 under par for the week. It wasn't easy, but my efforts will be rewarded with a trip to Second Stage! I finished tied for 15th and am now one large step closer to reaching my goal of playing on the PGA Tour. Come back to hear about it in more detail Sunday night. I just wanted to share the good news quickly right now. Thank you so much for following me and for your support!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Time to Relax

Golf is one of the things that I love to do in life. In round 2 at the First Stage of Q-school at Callaway Gardens, I was letting golf be more than what it is. From the very beginning of the second round, I was treating every shot as if it was life and death. I was nervous and fidgety all day, and I hit some of the worst shots I have hit in a long time. I held it together pretty well and actually had some glimmers of hope on the front nine, but a string of narrowly missed make-able birdie putts left me at even par as I made the turn. On the back nine, my discomfort started to rear its head. I badly missed the fairway with four tee shots on my second nine holes, and I had to do a great job of holding it together in order to post just two bogeys from those errant tee shots. I ended up with a second-round score of 73. I was not in a good place mentally during the round, but I played very hard and am proud of the fact that I didn't blow up to a very high score. As it is, my score definitely has me a bit behind the proverbial 8-ball at the half-way point of Stage 1, but I am in a position where two solid rounds the next two days can still easily get the job done. I had a nice practice session after my round, and I know that I am playing well enough to get the job done this week. I love to golf, and I especially love to play competitive golf. The next two days will definitely be intense competition, but if I can relax and enjoy it, I'll be in good shape. It's time to have fun and play well! Come back and check on me for a good round-3 report Friday evening. Thank you so much for keeping up with me and for your support!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sunset on Day 1

The title of this post sounds dramatic, but I'm really just referring to the picture. I am very pleased with how I played and how I felt on day one. I had a frustratingly poor day of ball-striking during my last day of preparation on Tuesday, so I entered Wednesday's opening round knowing that I would have to rely on my greatest strengths--my attitude and putting. I had a good game plan and a great mindset, and I actually hit the ball pretty well. I made just one bogey on the day and never had to scramble very much. My putting felt very solid, but I had a bunch of ten to twenty foot birdie putts that were just a fraction off. At the end of the day I posted a three-under-par opening round of 69. I am feeling good and am ready to play well! Come back for a round-2 report Thursday evening. Thank you for keeping up with me!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Feeling Great at Callaway Gardens

I feel very much at home here at Callaway Gardens. I arrived late in the afternoon on Sunday and had a nice little putting and chipping practice session (during which I finished all of my process goals for last week!). I then put in a very full day of work on Monday. I played a practice round and spent a lot of time on the driving range and putting green. I hit the ball very well on the course but am still not feeling fully comfortable with my ball-striking. My wedge play, short game, and putting are feeling great however, and my ball-striking is decent-trending-towards-good, so I'm feeling great overall. I'll have another productive day of preparation on Tuesday before this show gets underway Wednesday morning. I am excited. This is going to be a fun week. Keep up with all the action right here. Thank you so much for following me!

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Last Week before School

This has been a good week. I have gotten in a lot of great work on my golf game, but have also enjoyed a little time away from the course, too. Next week (Wednesday-Saturday) I will play the First Stage of PGA Tour Qualifying (Q-school) at a place called Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. For a mini-tour professional golfer, Q-school is the ticket to golf's highest levels, and I have been preparing for it all year. I am pleased with the year of tournament golf that I have had, and I'm pumped about this week of preparation as I head into Q-school.

I have been so productive with my time this week. I have put a lot of work into my process goals, and with just an easy day of work on Sunday, I will be able to complete them all. My wedge play, short game, and putting are all feeling great. My ball-striking is still not as comfortable as it has been at times, but I'm starting to hit the ball better, and in a couple of friendly matches this week, I have hit the ball adequately. (I know that "adequately" does not seem like high praise, but I have fairly high standards, and if my ball-striking is adequate, I'm going to be in great shape.) All-in-all, my game is feeling very good, and I'm excited to enter "School" this fall.

I've had some relaxing times off of the golf course this week, too. I have spent some fun time with my sweetheart (of four years last Friday!) this week, and we spent this Friday afternoon on a hike in the Great Smokey Mountains. Though I insisted in my last post that I don't need a break from golf, I have enjoyed the opportunity to spend a little time doing other things with my favorite people this week. I am feeling recharged and ready to go!

Enjoy a couple of pictures from my week. This is the fifth green at Holston Hills Country Club and the view from atop Mt. Camerer in the Great Smokey Mountains.

I'll be doing a good job keeping you updated from Georgia, so come back to follow all the action. Thank you for your support and encouragement!

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Taking a (Needed?) Break

I don't need a break. I'm not tired, and I'm certainly not "burned out" as I hear some people say, but when I look back over my calendar, I have played a multi-day event each of the last eight weeks and, if you count Monday Qualifiers as a tournament round, have not had a full week away from tournament golf since early in the year. I absolutely love what I do and really never get sick of it, but perhaps it is good timing that I will finally be taking an entire week off right now. I am coming off my worst tournament performance of the year this past week, and though I still feel very confident about my game, I can definitely use a little time to regroup and refocus.

My journey to the PGA Tour hits the most exciting time of the year starting just more than a week from now. The First Stage of the PGA Tour's annual Qualifying Tournament (Q-school) begins for me on Wednesday, October 24, at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. I have spent a lot of time at Callaway Gardens over the past three years and am really looking forward to getting back there.

My game is going to be in good shape for Q-school. In this past week's eGolf event at Northstone Country Club, I was not good at all. Ball-striking woes that have been plaguing me for the past five or six weeks really reared their head, and I compounded them by making a lot of mental mistakes, too. I was just sloppy, and that is the antithesis of the way that I play golf. The day after missing the cut, I went to a course called Irish Creek to have a match with some other good players who had missed the cut at Northstone. Despite hitting the ball just as poorly as I had during the event, I played a bogey-free round of 68 on a very good golf course. I made no mental mistakes and was solid with the putter. If I do those two things, I will post a lot of good scores just like I have all year. My round on Thursday was very encouraging because it was good to see that I do still have the ability to shoot good scores when I'm not playing my best.

I feel like I'm on the verge of getting things back in working order. I have been having some of my very best short game and putting practice the last couple weeks, and I feel great about those areas of my game. In addition to that, I got a very simple tip from Bobbo over the phone after my debacle at Northstone this week, and I am seeing some improvement with my full shots. I am pumped about the weekend of work that I just completed. In addition to finishing all of my process goals with great sessions for my putting, short game, and fitness, I spent a lot more time than usual hitting range balls. I typically try to do most of my full-shot practice on the golf course, but I am excited to say that I feel like I had some productive driving range sessions on Friday and Saturday. I played a few holes on Sunday, and, though I didn't test a lot of the shots in my bag, I seemed to be hitting the ball much better. I don't need to be playing great to have great tournament results, but it sure does make things much more stress-free if I can feel good about the way that I am hitting the ball.

I love tournament golf, but I am excited to have this next week fully away from it. I will get all of my process goals done and will have a great week of practice. I feel like I'm ready for Q-school right now, but I will really be ready for it in a week! It's an exciting time of year, and I am feeling great. Thank you for keeping up with me. Keep it here for updates as I continue to improve.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Not a Typo on the eGolf Site

If you've been to the eGolf Tour's website to check for the results of this week's event at Northstone Country Club, you probably think that they must have entered my scores incorrectly. Given the consistency with which I have played this year and the way that I have describing my game as trending in the right direction, it is shocking to see scores of 73 and 77 next to my name, but unfortunately that is  correct. A lot of good streaks came to an end with my poor play in Tuesday's second round. My highest score since February also marked my first missed cut since March. In addition to that, I failed to make a  birdie for the first time in longer than I can remember in the second round. It was a tough day, for sure, and it's impossible to shoot a score like that and not feel a bit worried about things, but I can honestly say that my game feels okay. I had a great afternoon of practice following my second round on Wednesday morning, and I think that I can get things back on track very easily. I want to talk more about my poor rounds here at Northstone and talk about things that I have learned this week, but for now I'm just going to confirm that those were in fact my real scores. I am going to have a great day of practice on Thursday, but please come back in the evening for some analysis of the tournament and an exciting report about what's coming up next. Thank you for following me, and please don't be too disappointed by this minor little setback. Great things are still coming!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Good Results Coming Soon

I'm in Huntersville, North Carolina (just north of Charlotte) for the eGolf Tour's Northstone Open at Northstone Country Club. I had a great weekend of practice at home and a good day of preparation on site on Monday heading into Tuesday's opening round. I even had a very productive morning leading into my afternoon tee time on Tuesday, but I struggled from beginning to end in the first round. I bogeyed the first hole because of a poor opening tee shot, and a really cold performance on the greens kept me from getting anything going all day. My only awful shot led to a double bogey when I splashed my approach to the par-4 12th hole into a green-side pond, and, though I actually hit some decent shots following that blunder, I did not make any birdies in the closing stretch of my round. In fact, I made just one birdie all day and posted a two-over-par score of 73. I feel good on this golf course and feel like my game is in fine shape, but I am obviously very disappointed with that score. Things weren't really as bad as my score would indicate, though. I know I'm a great putter, but I was icy cold on the greens in round one. If I can stay positive and be committed to a good game plan on every shot in Wednesday's second round, I know that I will putt better and get better results. My game is in good shape. Great things are coming. Keep it here for a good round-2 report in the evening. Thank you for following me!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Great Weekend of Work

I came home from my tournament this past week with a lot of mixed emotions about my golf game. It has been really great lately the way that I have been able to take some very poor ball-striking and manage it quite well to post some great tournament scores. That is very encouraging, but the fact that I am hitting the ball poorly puts quite a bit of pressure on the rest of my game, and when I made a couple of mental mistakes in my final round of last week's tournament, it was too much to overcome. I posted a lousy score that left me at the bottom of the final-round field. In addition to the ball-striking woes, I have gone back and forth over the past few weeks as to whether or not I am making good progress towards my goal of improving my pre-shot routine and instituting a new "one-look-at-the-target-and-go" approach to hitting golf shots. I was thinking about a lot of things as I made the trip home on Thursday evening, and two thoughts became clear to me. First of all, it is really impressive how good I am at golf to be able to have the successful results that I have in the past four weeks without hitting very many solid shots. Secondly, I needed to have a very good weekend of work.

I have continued to meditate on that first thought, and I am glad to say mission accomplished on the second thought. I really haven't found any major improvements in my ball-striking yet, but I have had some great practice sessions and absolutely nailed all of my putting drills and short game work. I focused a lot on my routine while I was practicing, and I think I have come up with a key to help my improvements take hold. The "feel it" portion of my "see it, feel it, trust it" approach to golf is very important. If I can truly feel the shot that I am trying to execute before I address the ball, one look at my target just confirms that feeling and I am ready to pull the trigger. If I address the ball and am still trying to get the feeling of what I want to do, however, I fidget and take multiple looks at the target before I finally start my swing. Therefore, it is imperative that I feel the shot that I am trying to hit before I take my stance at the ball. I feel like I definitely made great progress towards improving my routine this weekend. My putting and short game work this weekend was some of my best practice of the year. I'm still not sure why my ball-striking is a little bit off right now, but I feel good about everything else and am confident that I will start hitting the ball better, too. Overall, I feel great about my game after the weekend of work that I just completed.

By the way, I was thirty minutes of short game work shy of completing all of my process goals the week before last. That bothered me. I worked really hard to complete my fitness and putting goals, but I didn't get all of my short game work done. Darn it. I made up for it this past week, though. After completing very few of my practice or fitness goals before traveling home on Thursday evening, I worked very hard and efficiently over the weekend to complete all of my process goals. My goals are definitely doing their job. I feel great physically and my game felt good during some highly focused practice sessions. I will get my goals done every week!

I am hitting the road Monday morning for an eGolf Tour event this week at a course called Northstone Country Club just north of Charlotte, NC. The event is Tuesday-Thursday, and Northstone is a course that I know decently well. I will get in a practice round on Monday and will be ready for a great week. I'm excited about my game. I can't wait until something clicks and I start hitting the ball better, but I know that I am good enough to get the results I want even if I'm not hitting it very well. I have a feeling good things are going to happen this week, and I'm nearly certain that great things are coming up in my future. Keep it here to enjoy this fun ride with me. Thank you very much for following me and for your support!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Disappointing Result, But Excited Going Forward

I did not get the results for which I was hoping from the final round of the Carolinas Tour's Tour Championship. I mixed in some very poor shots with a lot of mediocre ones on my way to a one-over-par round of 73. On a day with perfect scoring conditions, that is a very disappointing result, but I'm not discouraged. I did make progress with my pre-shot routine, and my iron play and driving of the golf ball still showed signs of improvement. It certainly was a sad way to end the Carolinas Tour season, but the day was definitely not a total loss.

I am now in my East Tennessee HOME for the first time in quite a while, and I am very excited to have a great weekend of practice. I have a lot of work to do on my progress goals for the week and also need to have a quality session with Bobbo to make sure that nothing funky is going on with my mechanics. I know that my game is in good shape and continuing to get better, but I feel like I need a productive weekend of practice just to get that lovin' feeling back.

I will be playing an eGolf Tour event next week at a course called Northstone Country Club just north of Charlotte, NC. I'm riding a little momentum on the eGolf Tour with consecutive fourth place finishes in my last two events, but I think it is time to get back in the winner's circle. It will start with productive weekend of work here in Tennessee, though. Keep it here for a practice report later in the weekend. Thank you very much for following me!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Room to Improve But Feeling Good

I made a double bogey on the first hole of my second round. I took two swats at my ball in a fairway bunker on the way to my opening blunder, but I stayed very calm and played another solid round. I hit every green in regulation after the first hole and made five birdies and no bogies over the final 17 holes. My matching rounds of 69 to open the Carolinas Tour's Tour Championship do not have me where I want to be heading into the final round, but I am pleased with the way that I am hitting the ball and feel like my game is progressing.

Only twelve players made the cut here in this small field event, and I am in eighth place and eight shots behind the leader. That means that tomorrow's final round will be a great opportunity for me. I am still not happy with the status of my routine. Three weeks ago when the eGolf Tour opened its fall series of events in Ninety-six, South Carolina, I had my less-fidgety, one-look-at-the-target-and-go routine somewhat ingrained, but for some reason I have not been able to stay comfortable with that over the past few weeks. My non-fidgety routine feels good in practice, but I find myself struggling to stick with it in competition. Thursday's final round will offer me the opportunity to force myself to be uncomfortable and commit to executing my new routine. I need to trust my new routine under tournament conditions so that it can get truly ingrained and comfortable. The reason that this is so important to me is that my See it, Feel it, Trust it approach to hitting golf shots works most effectively if I execute my shot while the image and feeling of the shot that I'm trying to hit are fresh in my mind. I don't know why I'm so uncomfortable pulling the trigger after one look at the target, but I'm going to get there, and forcing myself to do it here in this week's final round will be a great step.

Though I'm definitely not happy that this issue with my routine is something that is causing me such trouble, my game is in very good shape. I'm struggling with a cold putter this week, and I've thrown away a couple of shots with two uncharacteristic mistakes, but I feel like I am still putting well and my ball-striking is starting to come back around. I know that great things are coming this fall!

I am more interested in working on my new routine and committing to it than anything else in Thursday's final round here at the Carolinas Tour's Tour Championship, but don't be surprised if I shoot a good score and climb up that leaderboard a little bit as well. Come back late in the evening for a report from the action. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Encouraging Start at CPGT Championship

As I chronicled in yesterday's post, it has been a long few days to get me to Carolina Lakes Golf Club for the Carolinas Pro Golf Tour's Tour Championship. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep on Monday night and had an interesting morning battling I-77 traffic as I completed the journey to the south-Charlotte golf course. I got to the golf course in plenty of time, however, and had a brief but great warm-up session before my 9:50 a.m. start time. After a poor tee shot off the first tee, I started to hit the ball better than I have in quite some time. My putter was fairly cold all day, but I made just one bogey and did manage to make four birdies for an opening-round 69. My iron play was fairly good all day and I hit the driver much more solidly than I have been lately. Neither my game nor my routine were as good as I want them, but I showed a lot of promise on both fronts, and I am encouraged by that. Carolina Lakes is a good test, but scores were pretty good in round one. My round has me four shots back after the opening round of this 54-hole event, but I'm feeling good about things and I think a low one might just come up soon! Keep it here to follow the action. Thank you for supporting me!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The (BIG) Ups and (little) Downs of Golf

A lot has been happening in the past week, and I am sorry that I have done such a lousy job of keeping you updated about it all. In the past five days, I have had a pretty dramatic high and a very disappointing low on the golf course, but in between the two, I was able to spend some quality time with some of my absolute favorite people in the world, so I would rate the last few days quite highly despite laying an egg on the golf course on Monday. I still have very little time to write, but I will try to give a brief synopsis of my last five days (and in doing so will explain why I have very little time to write).

It started in Mint Hill, North Carolina, last friday with the final round of the eGolf Tour's Olde Sycamore Open. After recovering from a terrible opening-round 74 with a bogey-free 66 to make the cut, I put up another bogey-free round on Friday and jumped from the back half of the field into a solo fourth place finish with a final-round 64. I still didn't feel great about the way I was hitting the ball, but I had a very good game plan and putted well enough to put up a good number. That round gave me back-to-back fourth place finishes on the highly competitive eGolf Tour despite not having my best stuff. That is pretty exciting!

As soon as my round was over on Friday, I drove up to my sister's new place just outside of Washington D.C. in Ashburn, Virginia. That made for a long day, but it was totally worth it because I got to hang out with my sis, and my parents had driven up for the weekend as well. I wish my sweetheart, Alicia, could have been there, too, but it was pretty darn sweet to spend a weekend with my sister. We spent Saturday outside exploring. In the morning we walked around her new stomping grounds and then headed out west and spent the afternoon in the northern VA Blue Ridge Mountains. It was an awesome day!

On Sunday, I was back to work preparing for the Web.com Tour's Monday Qualifier in Potomac, Maryland. Some strange weather halted my afternoon practice, but I still had a productive day and felt ready to go for the Monday Qualifier. Unfortunately, I didn't perform well on Monday. With my mom caddying and my dad and sister there to watch, I had poor touch on the greens and sprayed some tee shots off line as well. The touch issue caused a three-putt bogey early in the round and then a lost ball on my eighth hole of the day led to a very disheartening triple bogey. I fought hard and ended up posting a one-under-par score of 71, but that was two shots shy of the qualifying number. My game was sloppy and I wasn't mentally sharp enough overcome my poor execution. I am disappointed not to have qualified.

My ball-striking is definitely a bit off right now, but I think I am heading in the right direction. I have obviously posted some very good rounds lately, so I know that I am not too far off, and I believe that I am close to playing my best golf ever. I have not done of good job of sticking to my less-fidgety routine, however. I had it very close to where I wanted it a couple weeks ago in South Carolina, but old habits are dying hard. I will continue to work on it, and both my routine and my ball-striking will be back where I want them in no time.

After failing to qualify on Monday, I decided the best thing for my game right now is to keep playing. I am working through some things, and I need to keep putting them to the test under tournament conditions. With that in mind, I decided to take off Monday afternoon from the D.C. area and head back down towards Charlotte, NC. The Carolinas Pro Tour has its Tour Championship Tuesday-Thursday at a course called Carolina Lakes just south of Charlotte in South Carolina. Though I was nearly 500 miles away at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, I will be there and ready to compete for my 9:50 a.m. tee time on Tuesday morning. I am comfortable on that golf course and am excited to play!

Though my execution hasn't been good lately, my only goal from a performance standpoint this week is to have an intelligent plan on every shot, to commit to that plan, and to trust my new routine. If I do that, I know that good execution is just around the corner. I should be in contention for a win this week.  Keep it here for all the news--I will do a better job of keeping you updated! Thank you for following me!

Visible Progress

I’ve been making a lot of invisible progress lately. By that, I mean that my scores have been consistently rather stinky, but beneath that,...