Friday, August 30, 2013

Still Grinding Away in Indiana

I'm in Fort Wayne, Indiana, playing the first of four events that will make up the inaugural Tour Finals. This week's tournament--the Hotel Fitness Championship--is being played at Sycamore Hills Golf Club. Sycamore Hills is a great golf course with fairly generous fairways but small, angled greens that require a great deal of precision. The fairways are firm and fast, so the course is playing fairly short, but challenging rough around the small and firm greens gives the course some teeth. Though it definitely is yielding some low scores, the course is a great test.

I was a little too loose to the pass the test on Thursday. I hit a few wayward shots and was not good enough with my putter to make up for them. I posted an opening-round 73 (+1), and was not in very good shape. Despite that, I knew that I was close to playing well, so I felt surprisingly calm and confident heading into round two. I played very solidly on Friday morning. Though I had a couple of close calls, I played bogey-free in my second round. One of those close calls came late in my round on what can be a fairly easy birdie hole. The par-5 15th is easily reachable in two shots, but in order to do so, the drive must carry a creek that crosses the fairway 260 yards from the tee. With no wind I am comfortable with that distance, but I was facing a 10-ish mile per hour headwind when I played the hole on Friday. I hit a decently solid drive on the perfect line, and thought for sure that it was plenty to reach the fairway. It wasn't. It fell from the sky into the creek, and I was left with a tough situation. I was forced to take a penalty drop behind the creek, hit a demanding lay-up shot into an island of fairway, and play my fourth shot up to an extremely narrow green from more than 100 yards. I executed each shot calmly after my drop, and rolled a tough ten-foot putt to save my par right in the middle of the hole. That was really cool. Then, after routine pars on holes 16 and 17, I arrived at the 18th tee knowing I would need a birdie to have any chance of making the cut. I hit a perfect tee shot hard up the left side. My ball bounded way down the fairway, and I was left with just 104 yards to the hole. From there I hit a little wedge about 18 inches behind the hole and tapped in for a closing birdie to finish off my second-round 68 (-4). That moved me to three under par for the tournament. The cut-line moved to -3 shortly after I finished my round and then moved agonizingly close to -4 as the afternoon continued. For a split second near the end of the day, the cut actually did move to -4, but luckily some late bogies dropped it back down to -3, and I now have a Saturday tee time.

I am proud of the round that I played on Friday. I absolutely hate to miss a cut, but in all honesty, I didn't think about that very much while I was on the course. I was focused on playing golf and hitting each shot. I'd be lying if I said the cut wasn't on my mind at all, particularly coming down the stretch, but thoughts of it weren't controlling my focus. I'm really pleased with the way my thought process is evolving on the course, and I like the direction in which I am heading.

My physical game is feeling pretty good as well. I'm definitely not hitting the ball my best nor am I putting it exceptionally well so far this week, but, with the exception of a few blunders, I have played very solidly. I am having a great week of practice and feel like I am continuing to improve. I have done a good job with my Map Goals so far this week, and I will get them all done.

And the best news is I have two more days and only one direction I can move on the leaderboard: up! I feel good. This will be a fun weekend. Keep it here for more updates. Thank you for following me!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Poor Score But Optimistic Feelings from Round 1

The end result was a one-over-par round of 73, but I felt okay about my play in round one of this week's Tour Finals event. I was very solid early in my round, but dropped a couple of shots just before making the turn and stood at even par at the midway point of Thursday's round. I looked solid again for the opening five holes of my second nine, but hit a horrific tee shot at the par-4 sixth (my 15th) hole and carded a double bogey. That blunder dropped me to one-over-par for the day, and that is where I finished. I hit a lot of quality shots in the first round but never really got anything going, and I was just a little bit loose with a couple shots as well. I'm certainly disappointed with the results from Thursday's round, but overall I played fairly well. What is more encouraging is the fact that I had a great day of practice on Thursday. I'm confident that I will play well on Friday morning, and I think I can claw my way back into the golf tournament. Keep it here for an update after round 2. Thank you for following me!

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Goals, Same Map: Time to Get to Work

Throughout the whirlwind of the past seven days, I have had little time to think. A nice long drive from Omaha, Nebraska, to Fort Wayne, Indiana, afforded me the opportunity to do a little of that on Monday. Here's what I know: My career has made a dramatic change for the better over the past week, but my attitude and approach won't change as I enter new territory in my profession. I now have a PGA Tour Card in my hand, but that doesn't change who I am, and I won't change the formula that got me here. That formula consists of a solid plan, a healthy work ethic, a good sense of perspective, and a joy-filled pursuit of my goals. It's time to get back to work.

First of all, I need a refreshed list of goals. My recent performance has necessitated that I raise the bar a little bit, and I have come up with some new outcome goals that I want to accomplish in the remainder of 2013.

     -Win an event
 Tour Finals
          -PGA Tour Fall Series

     -Finish in the top 5 of the Tour Finals money list.

     -Complete the PGA Tour Fall Series inside the top 25 on money list

This is a lofty set of goals, but I think each one is very realistic and attainable. The Map Goals that I published in late July are still the turn-by-turn directions that I will use to reach these new outcomes. If I can stay focused on my process and have very efficient and goal-driven practice, I know that I can achieve great things. To see my Map Goals (formerly called "Process Goals" or "Work Goals") see the tab above labeled "2013 Goals". I will use this blog as way to hold myself accountable for my Work Goals. I will give myself one week between now and the end of the PGA Tour Fall Series during which I can rest and not achieve all of my Map Goals, but with that one exception, I expect to complete them each and every week from now through the remainder of the 2013 season.

This may sound intense, and I definitely am serious when I say that I will be adamant with myself about completing my work, but the beauty of it all is that I love every minute of it. Practicing is still a joy to me, and that won't change. This is so much fun, and I am so excited. After a very distracted and celebratory week, however, it is time to get back to work, and I am pumped to do it.

Thank you for following me and for all your support and encouragement. Keep it here for updates from the first of the Tour Finals events this week in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Poor Performance on Sunday; Still an Incredible Week

I didn't finish the Tour's regular season in style, but the final result of my eight-tournament stint on the PGA Tour's  Triple-A circuit is pretty incredible. It absolutely is the breakthrough I have been predicting for quite some time. 

Despite a final round 74 (+3) and a T48 finish in Omaha, I ended the regular season in the 18th position on the money list and have earned my PGA Tour Card for the 2013-2014 season. 
I'll get my real PGA Tour Card after the conclusion of the Tour Finals in five weeks, but this symbolic one will do for now!

As exciting as this is, there is still much work to do, and I am just the guy to do it! I will publish a new plan and new goals for the remainder of the year late Monday. The dream is now in my hands, but I must remain diligent in order to create a solid grip on it. 

Thank you for following me and believing in me. Stay along for the ride as this fun journey continues!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Back to Solid on Saturday

I played very well in the third round of the Tour's Cox Classic in Omaha. Though I never really got hot with the putter, I was good in all aspects of the game and posted a five-birdie, one-bogey round of 67. It was fun to play a solid round after being a little erratic on Friday. I feel great about my game and am excited to have one more day to climb the leaderboard on Sunday. Come back for a final-round report in the evening. I will be publishing my revised goals for the remainder of the year soon as well. Thank you for supporting me!

Focused on the Present, But a Cool Image from Last Week

For obvious (and great!) reasons, this week has been crazy. I'm trying very hard to stay focused on doing my work, and that is getting easier with each day. I came dangerously close to having this weekend off from work, but fortunately afternoons winds caused scores to go up a little bit on Friday and my four-under-par total snuck past the cut. I played okay in Friday's second round, but a tough start and a very sloppy finish left me with a round of 72 (+1) and a very nervous afternoon of waiting. My total held on to make the cut, though, and I now get two more days to get back to work and climb the leaderboard. I'm excited!

Keep it here for reports from the weekend rounds and also an updated set of goals for the remainder of the year. Thank you for keeping up with me!

If you're wondering why this week has been crazy, which I'm sure most of your aren't, here's one example:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to Work; Good Start

I have so much to say but no time to say it. For now I'll just give a round-1 update from the Tour's Cox Classic here in Omaha. I played beautifully and posted a five-under-par round of 66. I went cold after birdieing five of my first ten holes, but I still feel great about things. I tee it up at 7:25 a.m. central time on Friday morning, so I have to get to bed! I'm going to stay focused on hitting each shot, one at a time. I'm having a blast and plan to continue that!

Thank you for keeping up with me. Stay tuned for a more thorough update soon as well as a full report of some new goals for the remainder of the year.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Remember that breakthrough I've been promising the last two years? It just happened!   

I won on the Tour this past week. That vaults me into the 16th position on the money list and assures that I will have a PGA Tour Card for the 2014 season. Yes! 

If you haven't seen or heard anything from last week's event, Google my name and check out some of the headlines and videos that have been posted. 

There is so much to say, and I want to share this experience with all of you, but I need to come down from the clouds, get some sleep, and get ready to continue doing the things that have helped me get this far. I still have much much more to accomplish, but this past week was a pretty good start!

Please come back in the next day or two for a very thorough report of the events of last week and also a plan and some new goals moving forward. Thank you very much for believing in me and supporting my career.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fun Final-Round Opportunity in Knoxville

I will be brief for now, but there are a lot of good things happening in my golf game and career. I played an exciting round of golf on Saturday in the third round of the Tour's Knoxville Open. Though I was not nearly as solid as I had been in the first two rounds, I was brilliant at times. I made a huge blunder on the par-3 second hole but recovered to save a bogey. Later, I hit a surprisingly horrid iron shot into a pond on the par-4 twelfth hole and made a double-bogey. Outside of those two blips, I was stellar. My ball-striking was solid, and I putted beautifully. I made eight birdies to offset my two mistakes and posted a five-under-par round of 66. I currently sit at ten under par and am just three shots behind the leader heading into Sunday's final round. I'm going to stay composed and have a blast on Sunday.

Come back for a report from the action. Thank you for keeping up with me and supporting my career.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Great Shape at Midway Point in Knoxville

I am playing great golf. I still haven't gotten hot at this week's event--the Knoxville Open at Fox Den Country Club--but I have been incredibly solid. Through two rounds, I have had 35 birdie putts. I hit all 18 greens in regulation on Friday en route to a bogey-free second-round 67 (-4). I currently stand at -5 for the tournament and am just four shots behind the leaders. I am confident and comfortable, and I know that I can play great and win this weekend in my hometown event. I am going to keep a great attitude and have a lot of fun. Keep it here for nightly updates. Thank you for following me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Busy Week; Solid Start at Fox Den

I am pumped to be playing this week's Tour event in East Tennessee. I have a lot going on and a lot on my mind, but it is all great stuff, and I am excited to just play golf. The Knoxville News Sentinel Open began on Thursday at Fox Den Country Club. I played beautifully in round one. I putted from the fringe on hole 11, but I had a birdie putt on each of the first 17 holes. It was one of my better ball-striking rounds I can remember. Unfortunately, I never got things going. I three-putted the third hole for my lone bogey of the day and managed just two birdies to counter that bogey. My opening round 70 (-1) has me just ahead of middle in a bunched up leaderboard, but I am only five shots behind the first-round leaders. I feel great about my game, and I'm excited to get after it Friday afternoon in round 2.

Keep it here for more news from the Knoxville Open. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Most Thrilling Non-Victory Finish Ever

I have so much to say about the final three rounds of this past week's Tour event in Springfield, Missouri.

As a hangover from Thursday morning's delays, I played just five holes of my second round on Friday evening. I arrived early Saturday morning to finish round two and played quite nicely. I ended up posting a second-round 68 (-4) to stand at nine under par at the tournament's midway point. I was in a tie for 6th place. After some lunch, I had a 1:30 tee time for round three. I had a beautiful warm-up session prior to the start of my afternoon round, and I felt invincible as I took to the course. Great swings on the opening four holes confirmed my good feelings, and I knew I was off and running. Then something strange happened. I started hitting terrible shots. I don't know why, but I went through an eight-hole stretch during which I did very few good things. The next thing I knew I was standing on the twelfth hole needing to get up and down from 115 yards to save bogey. I was determined to stop my skid, and though I still struggled coming down the stretch of my long day on Saturday, I did manage to play the final six holes one under par to post a third-round 73 (+1). That round sent me tumbling down the leaderboard into a tie for 44th.

I awoke on Sunday morning ready to have a great day. I must admit, though, that I was quite concerned about what had happened on Saturday afternoon. I still felt okay about the quality of my golf game, but my poor round had certainly put me in a bit of a precarious spot heading into the final round. I needed a top-25 finish in order to qualify for my hometown Tour event this week in Knoxville, Tennessee. That thought was on my mind a bit too heavily throughout my final round. I felt nervous and jittery in a way that I haven't in quite some time. I birdied three of the first five holes, but I also sprinkled in a three-putt bogey and an incredibly poor double bogey on my front nine. I stood on the ninth tee even par for the final round, and not in very good shape. I never really calmed down or trusted myself the way that I want to in pressure situations, but my game actually held up well. I birdied holes nine and eleven to reach ten under par for the tournament, but I knew (and was thinking about way too much) that I had to get to at least twelve and likely thirteen under to climb into the top 25. I made agonizing pars on holes 12-15 and did not hit my five iron approach to number 16 very close to the hole. I rolled in a 30 foot putt for birdie on 16, converted a great up and down for par after a very poor iron shot into 17, and arrived at the par-5 18th knowing that I needed to do something good. I piped a drive down the left center of the fairway and faced a shot of 235 yards slightly downhill to a peninsula green. I had laid up from a similar position each of first three rounds, but I knew that I could hit a three wood onto the green. I was nervous and uncomfortable over the shot, but I tried my hardest to trust it, and I nailed it. I hit a fading three wood into the middle of the green just 25 feet from the hole. I rolled that putt right in the middle of the hole, and for the first time in my life, I managed a sort of half first pump as I walked to get my ball from the hole. It was a great feeling!

The end result of my round was a five-under-par 67 and a tie for 14th place finish.

I have a lot to learn from this experience. First of all, I was way too result-oriented with my thinking during the final round of the golf tournament. I want to be more committed to my process over each shot and not let the overall result consume my thoughts. I was way too nervous and uncomfortable at times, and that is caused by a results-oriented mentality. I need to commit to my pre-shot mental routine and allow myself to be comfortable over each shot. With that said, all of my practice and the mental training that I have done allowed me to have a very successful outcome even though I am not thrilled with my process over every shot. I will continue to improve, and I'm certain that bigger and better things are coming!

Thank you for following me and for supporting my career. Keep it here for updates as I head home to East Tennessee for the Tour's Knoxville Open.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Good Start in Soggy Springfield

Rain and wetness have been the themes of the week so far for the Tour event in Springfield, Missouri. That is just fine with me, however. Though area flooding and torrential amounts of rain have disrupted the flow of this week, I am very focused on taking care of the things I can control: my attitude and my approach to each golf shot. I entered Thursday's opening round feeling quite good after productive days of practice amid weather delays. My 9:15 a.m. first-round starting time was pushed back until 2:30 p.m. because overnight and morning rains rendered the course unplayable. I used the morning to relax, and came out feeling great in the afternoon. I had one of my best ball-striking rounds ever. An errant drive on the par-4 ninth hole found a lake that runs up the left side of the hole and led to my only bogey of the day, but other than that, I never really came close to making a bogey. I countered that lone blunder with six birdies to post a five-under-par 67 in round one. I hit the ball beautifully and at times looked great with the putter as well. I am pleased with the state of my game and am excited for more.

As of right now, I am scheduled to tee off in the second round at 6:40 p.m. Central Time. An uncertain forecast leaves that already late starting time in jeopardy, but you can bet that I will be ready whenever it is time for me to play. More good stuff is coming, so keep it here for updates from Springfield. Thank you very much for following me!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Another Step Forward

I am back on a top-25 streak on the Tour. Despite a horrific tee shot on the tenth hole and a missed putt from less than three feet on the final hole, I played beautiful golf in the final round of the Mylan Classic and posted a one-over-par round of 72. I finished at five under par for the week, and that was good enough to earn a tied for 10th place finish. It was a very good week for me in the Greater-Pittsburgh area. 

There is some major disappointment from my week, too. It is not very realistic to expect to go four rounds and not make any big mistakes, so I can forgive the poor tee shot I hit on the tenth hole of the final round. What is still inexplicable and inexcusable to me is the missed putt from just two feet on the final hole. I know better than to play the "if-I'd-only-done-this" game in life, but that miss did cost me quite a bit. I am rock solid with my putter and hadn't missed any from close range all week, but I just had a bit of a nervous moment and pulled a straight-in two footer out of the hole. 

I'd really like to have that one back, but it definitely doesn't work that way. Instead, I'm going to roll with all of the great positives from the past week. I felt way off on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and really wasn't hitting the ball well at all. I stayed positive, though, and did some great short-game and putting work during that time. I found a little something that clicked on Wednesday afternoon, and I chose to believe in myself despite three days of less-than-stellar practice early in the week. I ended up having one of my better ball-striking performances I can ever remember. In addition to that, my short game was very good. If the putter had heated up from medium range, it could have been a special week. All in all, I played great and know that I can continue to improve.

So, I am filled with emotions right now ranging from thrilled to very bummed, but the overarching thought in my head is that I am definitely good enough to compete for victories week in and week out at the Tour level. And because of my finish in Pennsylvania, I get another chance to prove it this week when I tee it up in the Tour's Price Cutter Championship in Springfield, Missouri. 

I'm going to keep following my map, and I know that I'll reach my goals. Keep it here for updates as I prepare to break through even more this week in Springfield, MO. Thank you for all your support!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Playing Well and In Great Position

My third-round play in the Mylan Classic was some of the most solid golf I can remember. We battled on and off annoying rain showers through the first eight holes of my round, but, with the exception of a three-putt from close range on the par-3 third hole, I made no mistakes. My only poor shot of the day came on the par-4 17th when I hit a three wood right of the fairway into a rather gunchy position. That tee shot and the above-mentioned three putt were my only blunders of the day. I converted four birdies, including a momentum grabbing birdie at the tough final hole, for the day to post a third-round score of 69 (-2). I'm feeling great and looking forward to being in the hunt on Sunday. Keep it here for a great final-round report. Thank you for following me and for your support!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Solid Play; Less-than-Stellar Score in Round 2

I am quite pleased with how I played in round 2 of the Tour's Mylan Classic. I hit the ball beautifully and felt in control in all areas of my game. I was three under par for my round and six under par for the tournament through 15 holes on Friday, but unfortunately, two untimely bogeys in the final three holes put a bit of a damper on what was otherwise a great performance. All in all, I am still very happy with how I'm playing and feel good about my standing heading into the weekend. I feel comfortable with my game, and I'm ready to let it shine. Keep it here for great news from the next two rounds. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Solid Start at Mylan Classic

I really didn't feel like I had my "A" game during three days of preparation for this week's Tour event. I know that a having good attitude and choosing to believe in myself can go a long way, however. I arrived at the course well before my 2:14 p.m. opening-round tee time and had a great practice session. I nailed a couple of my putting drills and had a driving range session during which I tried only to think about my rhythm and alignment. Keeping it simple worked for me, and I started to get that loving feeling this morning. It continued on the course this afternoon. I certainly wasn't perfect, but I hit the ball consistently and putted very solidly on my way to a first-round 68 (-3). It felt great, and I know that I can improve upon that as the week continues. I tee off at 8:49 on Friday morning, and I'm going to keep it simple, be positive, and play a great round. Come back for news in the evening. Thank you for keeping up with me!

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...