Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Progress at Harbour Town

I moved forward in a big way last week at Harbour Town. A slow start to the tournament created a challenge and a disappointing final round kept me from have a good finish, but in between, a lot of extremely encouraging things happened. I'm continuing to make physical progress in all areas of my game, but more importantly, I am moving toward feeling more freedom and having more mental clarity on the course as well. I'm excited to keep playing!

Last week was fun. Harbour Town is possibly my favorite course on Tour, and I had one of my best friends, Ryan Nelson, caddying for me for the week. I had three great days of preparation, and really felt ready for the tournament. Despite a frustrating and unsettling poor start in which I was three over par through six holes, I still felt like I was ready to play well. I chipped in under the watch of the lighthouse on Harbour Town's iconic 18th hole (my ninth) on Thursday for my first birdie of the tournament, and for the next 45 holes, I played a lot of good golf.

The strongest memory for me from the week will be the way I played the final seven holes on Friday. Though I'm trying hard to not let outside distractions affect my mental process towards each shot, I must admit that I was acutely aware of the cut as I was playing on Friday. That definitely caused some stress for me, but I executed beautifully over my final seven holes. I converted two beautiful shots on the par-four 12th hole into a birdie. I continued to hit really good shots, but narrowly missed great birdie chances on holes 13, 15, and 16. I stood on the 17th tee believing I would need to play the final two holes one under par to make the cut. The par-three 17th was between an eight iron and seven iron for me on Friday. I wasn't sure that I could quite get an eight iron to the hole, but I knew that I would have a hard time stopping a seven iron on the green with a strong wind at my back. I decided to commit to the eight iron, and I hit a beautiful shot. The ball flew high with just a tiny draw and fell perfectly on my selected target just right of the flag. The ball rolled out perfectly and finished twelve feet short and right of the hole. I definitely felt some nerves, but I was composed, and I rolled my putt into the left edge of the cup for a birdie! It was a great feeling. I proceeded to hit a shockingly poor tee shot on the closing hole, but I hit a great four iron from right of the fairway to just in front of the green, chipped close, and finished with a par to post two under par for the first 36 holes.

I still felt way more stress and anxiety related to the cut than I would like to feel, but this time, I took control of those feelings and stayed in the present. It was a huge step in the right direction!

I played an interestingly great round on Saturday during which my ball-striking felt a little off the entire time, but I managed it very well and shot a 67 (-4) to move up quite a bit on moving day. Then, on Sunday, I had the most beautiful warm-up session and striped my opening tee shot. I felt confident, but it didn't happen for me on Sunday. I hit too many errant shots and never got the good stuff flowing. My Sunday 75 (+4) dropped me down the final standings quite a bit.

I did have one very cool Sunday highlight, though. On that same 17th hole, with the same wind and the hole location just a little farther back on the green, I hit a seven iron that landed just over the front bunker and released right into the middle of the cup for a hole-in-one! What a memory!

I am striving to improve in many areas, and my week at Harbour Town was definitely a move in the right direction. I'm excited to keep it up. Physically, I'm prepared to play well and feel like I'm only getting better. Mentally, I've had a lot going on inside my head, but I feel ready to quiet some of the noise, come back to the present, and have a lot of fun.

I am currently on the way to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open, and I'm excited to keep progressing. Thank you for following me and please keep it here for more updates moving forward!

11 comments:

  1. Great week! So happy to see you striking the ball so purely and getting that putting stroke back to its customary brilliance!! With you all the way!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

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  2. We enjoyed that Sat. round and the 1 on the 17th on Sun.Keep it up.

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