Sunday, December 7, 2014

Great Week!

I decided to play the eGolf Tour Championship so that I could assess the state of my game on a difficult golf course under tournament conditions. I am very pleased with the work that I have been putting in on my game, but I knew that playing a golf tournament would be very educational for me. Working on some new swing thoughts and having gone nearly three months without playing a competitive round, I was very curious to see how comfortable I would feel. The results actually surprised me a little bit. By no means was I as comfortable as I would ultimately like to be or as consistent with my ball-striking as I think I can be, but given the situation, I was very solid from beginning to end. The results speak for themselves as I posted rounds of 68, 68, 68, 71 for a 13-under-par total and a solo third place finish in a strong field of 168 players. More important than the results, however, was the experience of hitting solid golf shots under pressure and honestly believing that I was going to. This week was a strong validation of the work that I have been doing, it has me excited to keep following my plan. 

I will give you some cool bullet points from the final two rounds of the tournament. 

•The Cupp Course at Palmetto Hall has some very intimidating holes with long forced carries off the tee and greens fronted by trouble. Two holes that have always been something of a nemesis to me are holes three and seven. In the third round, I hit two perfect tee shots on these holes, and then stuck two four-iron approach shots en route to birdieing both! 

•I posted a third-round 68 (-4) despite making a double-bogey from 83 yards out in the middle of the fairway on the short par-four 11th. My tee shot found a divot in the fairway, but it really should not have been all that difficult of a shot. I chunked it badly and left myself with a 30-yard bunker shot. From there, I hit my shot over the green into a hazard and converted a great up-and-down for double after a penalty drop. That hole was my only major blunder of the tournament, and I am proud of the way that I responded to it.

•In the final round, I smoked my drive on the par-five 10th hole. I had just 216 yards to the flag for my second shot, but the 10th is a very demanding approach. A severely sloped green is fronted by a ten foot plank wall that drops down into a pond. The severity of the green is such that any approach that goes long of the green is really no better than hitting it short in the pond anyway. I typically lay up short of the water because of the demanding nature of the green, but trailing by seven shots and having a perfect yardage for my three hybrid, I decided to give it a go. I laced my approach to eight feet directly behind the front hole location and rolled in the putt for an eagle three. It was a great feeling!

• I finished the tournament sloppily. I failed to birdie the easily-reachable par-five 15th hole and then hit a poor iron shot into the 17th hole and made a bogey. I faced a long birdie putt on the final hole, and before hitting it, I noticed that I had fallen into third place by one shot. I also noticed that I had a couple shots of clearance over fourth place. I was overly aggressive with the birdie putt and wound up three putting for the only time all week on the final green. That sloppy finish is my only source of disappointment all week.

•On two fairly demanding golf courses, my ball-striking stats were very impressive. In order, beginning with round one, I hit 12, 13, 14, and 14 greens in regulation. As good as my short game and putting are going to be, I will be very VERY successful if I can continue to improve on these numbers. 

•My best-man from my wedding and closest friend, Ryan Nelson, dominated the golf tournament, and I got to play alongside him in the final round. That was really special. 

Needless to say, it was a fantastic week, and I am quite happy that I decided to play. I never lost sight of my off-season mission to be playing the best golf of my life by January 1, 2015, either. I completed my Light Practice Schedule and Light Fitness Routine, and I am doing a great job of following my off-season plan. I am more confident than ever that I will be playing the best golf of my life when the calendar turns to next year! 

Thank you for following and believing in me. Great stuff is happening, and even better stuff lies ahead. It's a fun journey, and I'm loving the ride! Keep it here for more updates. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice job and such fun for a starting point- Merry Christmas.


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