Thursday, April 11, 2013

Round 1 of a Great Week in Brunswick, GA

I am still rolling along. After a long day on Tuesday that featured a 4:00 a.m. wake-up call in Texas, three airports, 70 miles in my car, and a less-than-stellar practice round, I was feeling fairly tired. I awoke for an early practice round on Wednesday hoping to improve on my effort from Tuesday evening but had little luck. I felt out of sync all morning and really played poorly. I wasn't too hard on myself, but I was determined to have a productive afternoon on Wednesday before Thursday's opening round of this week's event on the NGA Tour. I had a restful lunch hour, and then returned to the course for some work. I never found that lovin' feeling with my ball-striking, but I had a great session on the practice green and did some solid work on my short game as well. Before dinner I went for a nice run, and I really started to feel more like myself after that. I got a great night of sleep and woke plenty early to go through my normal pre-round routine before my 8:06 first round tee time. I felt great during my warm-up, and when I hit the first tee, I knew it would be a great day.

This week's event is at a course called Heritage Oaks on Oak Grove Island in Brunswick, Georgia. It is a very cool course in a pretty setting, and waist-high saw grass is a dominant feature of nearly all of the holes. Good strategy and precise execution are required to navigate the course from tee to green. I like that. The greens present a unique (and unexpected at this level) challenge. They are horribly slow, inconsistent in their firmness, and extremely bumpy. While it certainly would never be my choice to play on poor greens, these are perfect putting surfaces for those who are mentally tough. I figure everyone in the field is facing the same challenge, so I am approaching the greens with a good attitude and trying to have a normal work week on them.

So far, so good. I did have two three-putt bogeys (including a missed putt from no more than 18 inches), but I hit every green in regulation and made six birdies for an opening-round 68 (-4). My ball-striking wasn't as sharp as it has been at times lately, but it was pretty good, and I felt very comfortable on the course. I am playing well, and I really like the challenge presented by this course.

It is a great feeling to overcome a sluggish day and a half and feel like I am as fresh as ever again. I am having a great week of work, and after my solid opening round, I feel like I am going to have a great tournament as well. I have an afternoon time for Friday's second round, and I'll be ready for it. Keep it here for nightly updates. Thank you for keeping up with me!

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