A cold putter on Thursday and a driver that was just a fraction off on a difficult golf course on Friday cost me at the Honda Classic. I played beautiful golf for much of the tournament, but those two areas of weakness got me as I posted rounds of 70, 71 (+1, total) to finish tied for 71st place and miss the cut by a single player.
I was pretty devastated on Friday evening when the final verdict became official. I wasn't devastated simply because of the fact that I missed the cut or that I was so close to making it; rather, I was devastated because I truly believe I was in position to have a great weekend and a great finish in the tournament. When the day ended on Friday, I was ten shots behind the leader and just four shots behind 17th place. More importantly, I was playing some terrific golf. It was hard to swallow that I wouldn't get the chance to compete over the weekend.
Now, with a couple of days to process it, I'm able to realize how incredibly positive my performance was last week at PGA National. With thick rough, narrow fairways, and water in play on nearly every hole, the course was a strong challenge. But I was ready for it, and handled it really well.
In round one, I had one of my best ball-striking rounds I can ever remember. I drove it well, hit my irons very solidly, and was really never in any trouble at all around the course. I gave myself a lot of good birdie opportunities, but unfortunately converted very few of them. With a cold putter, I posted a two-birdie, two-bogey round on Thursday.
On Friday, I putted a better, and my iron play was again very solid, but my driver was just a fraction off. I never missed a fairway by more than a few steps, but I missed several by that narrow margin, and that was trouble. Three times in my round I ended up near the lip of a fairway bunker and couldn't advance my ball to the green. I made four bogies in Friday's round, and all were the result of a missed fairway that prevented me from hitting my second shot onto the green.
Despite the disappointing result, I really feel incredibly encouraged by the way I played. I really need to work on my putting and find the consistency on the greens that has helped me achieve the things I have in golf, but from a ball-striking perspective, I feel that I am better today than I have ever been. I need to continue to improve and become sharper and more consistent, but I know that I am moving in the right direction.
I have this week off to hone my skills at home, and I'm excited to have a great week of work. Next week the Tour visits one of my favorite stops at Innisbrook's Copperhead Golf Course for the Valspar Championship just outside of Tampa. I will be ready to go for that event.
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