Monday, October 26, 2015

Baby Steps in Las Vegas

I finished my week in Las Vegas with a disappointing final round. I was in the middle of a bunched leaderboard beginning the day on Sunday and had a chance to make a very positive move with a solid round. Instead, I had a terrible start and was five over par through seven holes. I fought back and finished on a high note with birdies on the 71st and 72nd holes of the tournament, but the damage had been done. I ended up tied for 56th place after rounds of 70, 67, 71, and 73 for a three-under-par total. It was definitely a very disappointing finish, but it was a great week overall. 

It is certainly not my goal to make cuts, and, truthfully, I don't like talking or even thinking about making the cut. The reality, however, is that I had missed the cut in my last four tournaments, and when my ball disappeared in the left rough on the 11th hole on Friday, I had to use my mental game and be tough. I began the day on Friday on the outside of the projected cut-line, but I felt good and was confident I would play well. I overcame an early bogey with three front-nine birdies and was feeling good as I made the turn. I birdied the tenth hole as well, and instead of thinking of the cut-line, I was focused on climbing the learderboard. Then, I pulled my drive just a few yards left of the fairway on the 11th hole. I thought at worst I would have to play a low shot around some sparse trees and run it up to the front of the green. Instead, we searched for five minutes and never found my golf ball. It was very strange, and it definitely rattled me. I took my stroke-and-distance penalty and made a double-bogey six on the hole. I had thoughts of panic, but then I remembered that I control my thoughts. I got back into the moment, and executed beautifully down the stretch. I birdied three of the final seven holes after my lost ball on 11 and posted a second-round 67 to position myself nicely in the middle of the field heading into the weekend. Again, I don't like thinking about the cut, and making the cut is not one of my goals, but I was very proud of the way I overcame the tough break early in my back nine on Friday and responded with some solid golf to get to the weekend.

That was my baby step in Las Vegas. I overcame some adversity, staired down my cut anxiety, and delivered a good Friday performance. I still have some big steps to make, though. I am struggling off the tee box. Through six rounds of this young PGA Tour season, I have hit just 30 of 84 fairways. That's not a typo or poor math--just poor driving of the golf ball. Now, in my defense, I'm getting closer and I did hit a lot of "good drives" in Vegas that missed the fairways, but those numbers are not even close to good enough, and they definitely reveal a problem. I'm not looking at them and feeling discouraged, however. I know that I will drive the ball well, and the way I see it, I am currently four under par for the year while hitting less than 36% of my fairways. I'm going to make strong strides in that department, and my results will improve dramatically. 

I'm currently heading home for one week off. I can't believe it, but I'm actually going to pass on the opportunity to go watch my Royals in person as they kick off the World Series. I need to rest and regroup before Alicia and I head out for a final three-week run of tournament play in 2015. I'm going to relax a little bit, get in some quality work on my golf game, cheer for my Royals from afar, post on here about my goals for the 2015-2016 season, and be ready to finish the golfing year on a high note when Alicia and I leave on Sunday for a three-tournament trip starting in Jackson, MS. 

Thank you for following and believing in me. I'm a broken record, I know, but great things are coming. Please keep it here for an off-week report and for more details about my 2015-2016 goals. 

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