Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ricoh Women's British Open - Day 1

Here we go! We have reached the last major of the 2008 LPGA season, which means to me that the LPGA golf season is sadly almost over. But, we have so many great tournaments left and I can't wait to see what happens.

Now onto the Day 1 of the Women's British Open. It seems like today was a great scoring day in Sunningdale, England. There was no wind and the greens were "soft". However, there were still quite a few shots that rolled to the back of the green once they bounced onto the front. Juli Inkster had an amazing round today and she finished at the top of the leader board with seven under. Even though I am always rooting for Paula Creamer to win it would be great to see Juli Inkster back in the winners circle again.

Another player who I would like to talk about is Helen Alfredsson. She had an amazing win last week at the Evian Masters by defeating Na-Yeon Choi and Angela Park in a three hole playoff. I hope Helen continues to play well this week and for the rest of the season, since she has been battling injury after injury, and it would be great to see her come back and play well again.

Here are a few other players I would like to mention.

Lorena Ochoa (last years winner) had a semi-decent round of 69. She hit some errant shots into the green and seemed pretty frustrated as well as many other players.

Paula was another player who was frustrated today that she did not make enough putts. But, she finished her round at even par and tomorrow is another day and she still has a chance to win.

Last but not least, Annika Sorenstam. This is going to be her very last major so the crowds have been turning out to see her. Annika shot a round of even par so she still has a chance to win her last major.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day 3 - Focus,Target, Visualize, and Breath

I woke Thursday with a sensation of excitement in my stomach. Sunday’s practice went well and I took a break on Wednesday from my golf strength training class to prepare for the final day of the club championship. I was excited to see what would happen, mostly with my game, and what the result would be. I was feeling better with the speed on the greens and I seemed to have worked out the kinks from last week with a great practice on Sunday. I wanted to arrive at the club an hour and a half before my tee time so I would have enough time to thoroughly go through each one of my clubs on the driving range and work out somethings as well as warm up my chipping. But, I ended up running around the house getting things ready and organizing my desk, so I ended up only having 45 minutes to warm up and schlep my butt up the hill to the tee box. Once I got to the driving range I tried to calm my mind and just forget the frantic morning and just concentrate on having a smooth fluid swing. I started with my wedges and worked my way up to my driver. For whatever reason my irons were not feeling good, but I was bombing my drives on the range. So, I just came to the conclusion to not think about the mechanics and just do what I know how to do. I saw my coach walking to the range as I was packing up and asked her for some words of wisdom, which I will repeat before every single round from now on. She said, “ Focus, target, visualize, and breath.” Of course! Why didn’t I think of that! I got up to the first tee and I was the first one to tee off. I grabbed my four hybrid, took a few practice swings, repeated what Kris said, and took a deep breath. I hit a great shot down the center of the fairway which lined me up perfectly for the next shot. The rest of the women hit and we were off. I got to my drive and hit a six iron and it was a great shot, but was heading towards the green side bunker, but it got a great bounce over the bunker and rolled to the back of the green pin high. After a birdie on the first hole I knew it was going to be a great day. The rest of the day was pretty good, I still made some unforced errors, but I finished my round with a 91, which is a better score than what I shot on the first day which was a 95. The two goals I had after the first round were to shoot a better score than I had on the first day and to not finish last. I ended up finishing 5th out of eight players who competed in the championship flight, which in my mind was a great accomplishment. After my round all of the ladies from the 18-hole club sat on the 18th green and watched the final group come in. It was a really great experience to watch all of the women get so excited to see who the champion was going to be that it made me want to work even harder for next year to secure a spot in the final group of four.

The results were posted and I ended up winning lowest net score! I was really excited and my big sis as well as the other women were really happy for me. All in all it was a great experience and I can’t wait until next year! Next up...trying to qualify for the Golf Channel Amateur Tour (GCAT) National Championship!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Club Championship Day 2

After Thursday's practice I felt really good about my game and maybe I made the mistake of having somewhat of a high expectations for Friday. I definitely wanted to shoot a better score than what I did on Thursday since all of the kinks felt ironed out and I was feeling confident about my game. The first shot went really well, but left me with a little bit of a down hill lie, which I did not factor into my next shot and my ball went into the green side bunker. But, I had a good shot out of the bunker and two putted for a bogey and as I said before, I am just looking to play bogey golf. Our second hole is a par three, 100 yards with an elevated tee. I hit a great shot with a pitching wedge that left me with a 20 ft putt, which was the closest to the pin in our group. I missed the putt, but I made par which felt good. Overall, the front nine went well, but I did have quite a few unforced errors. The back nine was pretty much disastrous. I wasn’t getting any breaks and if I hit a great shot it would hit the edge of a bunker and go in. The last hole was unbelievable. It is a par five with water on the right, two bunkers that are on the left, which are in play, and then water around the green. I hit my drive left, but I thought it would be OK because it hit the cart path instead of going straight into the water. I did not see where it landed, so I thought it landed in the rough somewhere by the cart path. But when I got down there the ball ended up in the water and I had to take a drop. I hit a great second shot and I had 100 yards left to the hole. The water was in play and the pin was in the top of a mound, which I have never seen before, so that was a bit of a shock, and the green is very deceiving to begin with. I thought that since I was after the 100 yard marker that if I hit my pitching wedge it would be no problem. I hit the shot and it landed in the rough and rolled into the water. I walked up to the spot where my ball hit with one of my playing partners and I was about to take a drop, but then she said that my ball did not hit above the hazard line so I had to go back and hit the shot again. I clubbed up and hit the green and made a great second putt but it just hit the lip and didn’t go in, so I ended up with a 10. I walked off of the green and I almost felt like crying. I wanted to show the women I played with that I can play well and for whatever reason it didn’t happen that day and it just piled up and I normally don’t crack, but I came close to it. Thankfully I didn’t. Hopefully something will click during my practice on Sunday and I will play better for the final day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Haggin Oaks

This last weekend was a runner-up tournament to the Women's Club Championship and it was a good test of the status of my game. My driving and iron shots were great, but my short game including bunker play showed me that I needed to do some work on them. I practiced my putting before I got out there because I knew that the greens would be a lot faster than what I am normally use to, but because of the fires in Sacramento, Haggin Oaks has been saturating the course and greens in order to keep them alive. For whatever reason, I could not get this through my thick skull and I would always leave my long puts short and forced myself to have eight footer for par. Not the ideal situation you want to have, but as long as I made them, then I was happy. At the end of the day I was overall happy with the result so I stuck around to see what the other players in my flight shot. I am happy to say that I was driving home with a big smile on my face and a wonderful trophy in the passengers seat. I was lucky enough to shoot an 89 and win in a scorecard playoff! Ever since Thunder Valley Casino became the title sponsor of the tour we got really cool new trophies and I just had to have one. I worked hard to sharpen up my game and it paid off and I am so happy to finally win again and accomplish another goal. Up next...The Women's Club Championship!!

Here are some other pictures form the tournament...enjoy!

The scoreboard with Phillip the Tour Director

Here is another one of Phillip

Here is a picture of my shoe Heaven! (They are all Adidas shoes of course!)
Haggin Oaks is not just a golf course, but a golf complex! You can take lessons there and shop until you drop! They have two stores full of golf related accessories and apparel. I definitely had fun in the Adidas section. (Sorry no picture)

These are the fabulous shoes that I bought! I couldn't resist.

This is a picture of one of the tables in the restaurant/bar area. The tables are covered in old golf magazine articles and pictures.

These last pictures are from a golf tournament that Haggin Oaks holds, I assume every year, called the Golf and Guitars Tournament. They get a few country singers to come out and play golf for charity. I wish I could play in that tournament.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Golf Swing

I have only been playing golf for 2 and a half years and I feel like I have gone through so many swing changes, as well as three sets of clubs, and finally I feel like I am getting to the point where my swing is comfortable and easy to remember. As in my previous post I have been working on keeping my hips quiet, which has resulted in more solid shot and more distance. Now that I have that down I have to implement two more things. One, start my down swing with my left side and not my arms. Two, I have to work on keeping my head being the ball longer. I found this great video of Ben Hogan demonstrating the mechanics of his swing. Check it out!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Golf Season

The summer golf season is in full swing, which is pretty much what I live for. Summer is a great time to meet up with friends on the golf course as well as work on your game. I haven’t been competing as much as I would like on the Golf Channel Amateur Tour, because I have been on vacation and I have been preparing for The Women’s Club Championship. I was worried that my swing and all around golf game would deteriorate while I was on a month long hiatus and I thought I would have to hunker down for a month when I got back and work my butt off to get back to where I was. But, luckily that was not the case. While was on vacation I watched as many swing videos as I could from Justin Rose, Paula Creamer, and even Michelle Wie (before her injury) to keep my mind fresh when it came to the golf swing. The day after I came back from vacation I went out to the range and I was utterly amazed that watching all of those video helped remind me of what the golf swing should look like. Before my vacation my biggest issue was that my hips were too noisy, and no matter how much I practiced I had a hard time doing it, and my scores began to go up and I was not a happy camper. Magically when I got back I remembered that my hips had to stay still and I attempted to do that at practice and now everything my swing coach Kris had said in the past clicked and my swing is even better than it was before and finally my scores are going down and I am feeling comfortable over the ball again.

For whatever reason the Club Championship means a lot to me and I really want to play in it and play well. The lady who won last year is my Big Sis this year for our Women’s 18-hole club and I know she is more experienced than I am and has a 10-handicap. Statistically I don’t think I can beat her, but I know that if I am confident with my game and my short game is excellent than I will have a good change of giving her a run for her money. I will continue to keep you updated and my progress and how the Championship goes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A New Champion

This years 2008 U.S. Women’s Open provided us with plenty of excitement. Paula Creamer and Stacy Lewis gave us great hope of an American winning the open two years in a row, but Inbee Park gave everyone a run for their money by finishing the tournament nine under to be the youngest U.S. Women’s Open Champion. It is always exciting to watch a first time winner play their best to win on a tough course in tough weather conditions.

Stacy Lewis was one who also made her mark by finishing in third place in her first event as a professional. She graduated from the University of Arkansas and overcame back surgery after she graduated high school. We will be seeing her a few more times this year through sponsor’s exemptions, and Hopefully she will be playing full time next year with an LPGA tour card.

The most memorable moment for me was Annika’s hole out from 199 yards for eagle on her final hole. It was another great U.S. Open and I can’t wait to see what happens next year.