Saturday, February 7, 2015

Colombia Championship Round 2

I began the second round of the Pacific Rubiales Columbia Championship a little bit behind the eight-ball after an opening-round 76. Still, I felt good about my chances to play a great round, and things started promisingly with a beautiful drive down the extremely tight opening hole. I followed that with a nice wedge to about eight feet, but I didn't hit the putt with enough energy and it missed. I felt great about that start, though. Another nice drive on the difficult second hole had me in pretty good position, but I over-cut my six-iron approach shot into a right greenside bunker, bladed that shot over the green, and made a deflating double-bogey. I never let up in terms of effort, but my execution just stunk for the rest of the front nine. I'd hit a promising shot here or there and follow it with a terrible one. I was even a little bit sloppy on the greens, and I turned at 41 (+6). Despite knowing that I had no chance to make the cut, I was determined to play a better second nine. I still hit a few sloppy shots, but for the most part, I played solid golf on the back nine and shot one under par for a second consecutive round of 76. A pair of 76's is always bad, but this week, on a golf course that I felt suited my strengths perfectly, it was particularly poor. Still, this week will teach me valuable lessons, and I will continue to learn and imporove. 

The golf course for this week's event is quite narrow with beautiful tree-lined fairways. It is fairly short anyway, and the fact that it sits at 8,860 feet elevation makes it play even shorter. In addition to having challenging fairways to hit, the thing that really gives this course some bite is its extremely firm and slopey greens. At times, even wedge and short iron approaches needed to land short of the green in order to hold the firm surfaces. All of these elements combined to create a challenging course that should have played perfectly to my strengths. 

One of the lessons that I learned this week involves a Wednesday practice round. The course was playing just as firm and challenging on Wednesday as it did for my tournament rounds on Thursday and Friday. Yet, on wednesday, while having a match with my friend Matt Harmon, I hit 13 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens and definitely shot well under par. The difference between that Wednesday round and the two tournament rounds is that I was not afraid to hit bad shots on Wednesday. I simply picked a target and executed fearlessly. In the tournament, I was constantly playing defensively trying not to hit shots into troublesome spots. I am always going to have an intelligent plan and choose my shots wisely, but in the tournament rounds this week, I took that way too far. I played defensive and even scared golf shots. I was trying to avoid failure rather than pursuing success. In that Wednesday practice round, I had an intelligently aggressive plan for every shot and executed without concern. I need to carry that philosophy into my tournament rounds. 

In addition to playing with a poor mental approach, something was a little bit off mechanically this week, too. I feel excellent about the work that I have put into my golf swing over the past three months, and I know that work is making me better, but I'm sure it hasn't all taken hold and become perfectly natural yet. Despite playing great on Wednesday, something was off in my swing by Thursday afternoon. That is definitely disappointing but not at all discouraging. I now have a three-week break before the Tour plays again, and I will have some great work in that time and will be ready to go!

Speaking of great work, I am one solid workout away from completing a Light Fitness Routine this week, and that is all that remains for me to complete all of my Process Goals for the first five-week segment of 2015. So, before Alicia and I fly back to the States today, I'm going to get that workout done, and I will write another post either Sunday or Monday detailing more about my Process Goals this year and wrapping up what has been a great start to the year. 

I'm sorry for the disappointing news from the tournament here in Colombia, but I know that good things are coming. Thank you for keeping up with me, and keep it here for more updates!

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