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 Web.com 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!

2 comments:

  1. Nice to see a great prospect for the PGA tour from Jefferson County. I started following you at Knoxville and Wow! what an exiting finish. I love your work ethic, goals and road map to get there. You go boy!
    From an old golfer,

    Bruce L.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good job, Peter. Keep it up!!! We're coming to Davidson to see you play next week. We're arriving Wednesday in Mooresville and Zack will join us on Friday. Sure hope we can connect.
    Don and Betty Youngs

    ReplyDelete

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