During the re-acclimation to the USA, I was very focused on having a great tournament. The golf course for the event, Le Triomph Golf Club, suited my game nicely, and some good practice and preparation had me feeling ready heading into Thursday.
I played just 12 holes on Thursday due to a pair of long weather delays, but I played beautifully. I hit all twelve greens in regulation and stood at three under par when play was suspended for the day. Unfortuately, my final shot Thursday settled into the crotch of a tree in the left rough on the 13th hole, so I knew that my friday morning would start with some adversity. Cold and breezy conditions made Friday morning's conclusion to my opening round slightly uncomfortable, but I did not handle those conditions well at all. After recovering nicely on the 13th hole and making a good bogey from the tree, I never hit another good shot. I ended up with four bogeys over my final six holes of the opening round to post a one-over-par 72. I had no time to shake it off as we marched straight to the 10th tee to begin round two. I hit some quality shots over the first three holes of my second round, but couldn't convert any of the birdie putts. Then, on the difficult par-four 13th hole, I drove my ball into a pond right of the fairway, and my heart sank a little bit. My only option for a drop was just 100 yards in front of the tee box, so I was in a tough spot. I sulked for a minute, but, with Alicia's help, I rallied my positivity. I hit two great shots and rolled in a big putt to save bogey. The wind was picking up, and the relatively easy course was playing tough. Still, I knew I needed to get something going. I birdied hole 16 and then holes two and three as well. I just couldn't keep the momentum going. I missed a good opportunity for birdie at the par-5 fifth hole and then misjudged the wind and watched helplessly as my ball plugged in the face of a front bunker on the par-3 sixth hole. I chopped it out and made a bogey, and I walked to the par-5 seventh hole knowing I needed a good finish to play the weekend. I hit two great shots to reach a greenside bunker and blasted that shot out to four feet, but made a poor stroke and missed the birdie putt. I missed from twenty feet on the par-3 eighth hole, and walked to the ninth tee believing that only a hole-out on the long par-four would get me into the weekend. I hit a great drive and tried to make it with a five iron into the green, but the shot settled some twelve feet behind the hole. I didn't believe that the putt meant a lot, but I gave it my very best effort anyway, and I rolled it right in the middle. I spent the entire afternoon certain that I had missed the cut, but somehow the cutline never moved, and I snuck into the weekend. It was a great feeling! A very up-and-down round of 70 (-1) on Saturday did little to improve my standing, but I played beautifully on Sunday. I would never want an early tee time on Sunday, but this week it worked out well for me. I played the first nine holes in fairly calm conditions and took advantage of that. I made four birdies and an eagle on the front nine to turn at 30, and I shot one under on the back nine as the winds picked up. My final-round 64 (-7) moved me all the way up into a tie for 16th place. It was a great way to finish a roller-coaster of a week!
I have more analysis from last week to share, but right now, I'm going to share one more quick story and go before this turns into a novel. As I walked to the ninth tee to play my 36th hole on Friday, I was fairly certain I would miss the cut, but I told myself that I was playing too well to go home empty handed, so I decided that if I birdied that hole, I would sign up for the Monday Qualifier for the PGA Tour's Houston Open. I did make birdie, so I did sign up. Therefore, I'm in Houston right now getting ready for a 2:03 tee time this afternoon in the Monday Qualifier for the Shell Houston Open. I just shot 64 yesterday; time for another one!
I have more to share and a practice report from last week, but I'll leave you with this image! There is absolutely no reason to celebrate anything yet, but I like being on top, and you can bet that I am motivated to do the work required to stay there!
Thank you for keeping up with me! Sorry for the lack of updates this past week. Keep it here for more news moving forward!