Monday, April 15, 2013

Final Round Report and Summary of a Great Week

I entered Sunday's final round at last week's NGA Tour event tied for sixth place and four shots behind the leader. I knew that a solid performance would give me a chance to win, and I felt like I was ready to deliver just that. I definitely made a couple of mistakes--one of them particularly bone-headed--in the final round, but for the most part I played beautifully. I posted an eight-birdie, one-bogey round of 65, but one of the players who was ahead of me shot 63 to run away with the tournament. I finished alone in third place, one shot behind the second place finisher. It is my best finish of the year so far, and though I am very happy with it, I am also hungry for more and better.

I actually did not feel as great on the course during the final round as I have felt on some days over the past two weeks. A number of shots had me feeling a little bit uncomfortable, but I was able to stay in the present fairly well and managed to avoid making any big errors. My round started with an unexpected bonus as I rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the second hole. I failed to birdie the par-5 third, so that felt like a dropped shot, but good birdies on holes 5, 8, and 9 moved me to four under par for my round as I made the turn. I wanted to win the tournament and was definitely excited to feel like I was moving in the right direction, but I did a great job of thinking one shot at a time. My big blunder of the day came at the par-4 tenth. After a nice tee shot, I hit a nine iron to the water-guarded green. My approach landed about two steps short of the hole, bounced up to what looked like the edge of the cup, and then came spinning back away from the hole some 15 feet. I had hit the shot very softly so I was surprised by the spin, and when I got to my putt, I really wanted to make it. My last thought to myself was, "this putt is uphill and into the grain; you need to get it there." I killed it. It felt like an explosion in my hands. I hit my 15-foot putt five feet past the hole. I regained my mental capacities and hit what I thought was a great par putt, but it dove low of the hole and I tapped in for my bogey. I was determined not to let that derail me, though. I gave myself a make-able birdie putt on each of the last eight holes, and though I didn't get them to drop on 11, 12, or 13, I birdied four of last five holes to post my final-round 65.

It was great to post a good round on Sunday. I have played a couple less-than-stellar final rounds this year, but I think my game is in better shape now than it was for some of my disappointing final-day efforts. Even though I ended up five shots behind the winner, I felt like I was in contention all day, and I relished that feeling. I am excited to get back in that position many times. I am confident with where my game is and even more so with my mentality on the course, but the most exciting thing is that I feel like I am still improving in both areas. I say this all the time, but I mean it: great things are coming!

In addition to the good tournament results, this was a great week of work for me. I finished the week one putting drill short of completing all of my work goals, but I'm not going to beat myself up over that. The condition of the putting green at this week's event made my drills very challenging, and I put in a lot of good work in the effort to get them done. I overcame two very sluggish days where my game and my body did not feel great on Tuesday and Wednesday to have a fantastic week. I think that sticking to my practice and fitness routine really helped me come out of that mid-week funk in time to feel great for the tournament. It is very cool for me to see the benefits of my work goals, and this week was a great example of that.

I am heading up to Greensboro, North Carolina, this week for a 54-hole eGolf Tour event at Forest Oaks Country Club. I am a big fan of that golf course and am looking forward to another great event. The tournament is Wednesday-Friday, and though I think I am going to take "tax day" off to do some paper work and travel, I will be ready for the tournament.

Stay tuned for updates from Greensboro. Thank you very much for following my blog and keeping up with my career. I truly appreciate all of your support!

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