Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tiger at Torrey Pines

I was really excited to get to play golf again and start from scratch and try to play Andrea golf. We arrived a few hours before our tee time so we could have breakfast at The Lodge at Torrey Pines and just relax and warm-up a bit before the days round. While we were having breakfast I realized that one table was full of people reviewing binders that read Tee off with Tiger. I didn’t think much of it, but at the end of breakfast the waiter told us that Tiger will be on the course filming a commercial for his tournament. Well, it turned out Tiger was meeting a contest winner and he would walk a few holes with the winner and be his caddie. We eventually saw Tiger as we were getting ready to tee off doing an interview for the local news station. It was kind of cool to see Tiger unexpectedly at Torrey Pines.

The rest of the day was really fun, except that we paid $40 for a cart that could only be driven on the cart path! But we managed, and because it was a beautiful day there were a bunch of groups on the course and we were kind of running back and forth between our golf balls and the golf cart in order to not fall behind.

All in all we had a great day of golf, even though I did not play as well as I wanted, and it was awesome to watch the F/A-18 Hornet Navy Fighter Pilots fly over the golf course about every 20 minutes. Those planes are so amazing and as loud as they are it did not drive you crazy. I am a proud supporter of the U.S. Military as my cousin is a Pilot in the Marines. Thank you to all Men and Women who serve and protect this beautiful country.

Tiger watched the F/A 18's fly overhead.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Golf Channel National Championship - Day 4

The last day was more of for fun then anything else. My mom was able to ride in the cart with me which was really nice. The shotgun start was at 8:30, so I got to sleep in a little bit, and I just didn’t worry too much about warming up. I just practiced on the putting green and walked around and talked to people I had played with in the previous days.

When we drove out the the hole I was in group 14A and one of the guys in group 14b told me that the two guys I was playing with were in the championship flight (scratch to 5 handicap), so he was nice enough to invite me to play with his group. We played in a five some and in order to speed up the game we played on points so a double bogey was 0 points, bogey 1 point, par 2 points, birdie 4 points, and an eagle was 6 points. After a bogey we would just pick up. I think by Saturday I was mentally and physically burned out, even though I was so happy to be playing golf. So I just looked at this day as just trying to make some adjustments to my swing. I realized that I was standing a hair to close to my club, which caused my arms to jam at impact and in turn left the club open. Even though I did not win anything I had a great time with my playing group and overall it was a great experience.

I learned that I need to keep practicing the technique of my full swing as well as the technique of my short game, so when I am faced with competitive tournament my game will not come unraveled when I do mentally. I am not sure how you accomplish this other then pounding balls on the range and just playing as much as you can. I realized that when I play on my home course I am just go out to play for fun and I don’t really focus on what I am doing or what I want to accomplish. From now on I am going to have a new approach to playing at my home course and how I practice. I can’t wait for the off season to come. I really want to work on my strength training and fitness. As much as I love going to the driving range and just practicing my short game, I know the work I will do in the gym will improve my game dramatically and I can’t wait to see the results of it on Tour next year. Next up...Torrey Pines in San Diego.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championship - Day 2

Wow 7:43 Tee time! I have never played golf so early. The sun doesn’t rise here until 7:30! I didn’t warm up as much as I wanted because I didn’t have much time, and I thought it was more important to warm up on the practice green. I thought today would be a better day since I did not want to make the same mistakes as yesterday, but I made different mistakes today. I best hole I had was on a par 3 with a Mickey Mouse bunker, and it was a closest to the pin contest and I had beat the person who was already on the green, which was about 6-8 inches from the hole, and I made the birdie put. It felt really good. Especially since I had a par on the hole before. After that I had two more pars, thankfully, because that really saved my score. I still shot a 106, but as good and confident as I feel, I cannot compete to a certain degree with men who can hit the ball at least 250 yards and when I am trying to reach a 545 yard par 5 in regulation. But, I try to do what I can with how my game is.

After the round I went to the TaylorMade Performance Lab, and it was an amazing experience. I will do a separate post on my experience, but even though I see my swing on camera for my lessons it was great to see it a different angles and the lines for my hips, shoulders and feet. You get to take with you a CD of all of your swings from driver, irons, chips shots, and your putting stroke. I took a modified version of it and I just looked at my driver swing, iron swing, and my putting stroke. I will attempt to implement the changes that I discussed with Travis (the The TaylorMade performance lab guy) and Phillip (my Sacramento tour director). Everything that they said were things that I had previously discussed with my coach, so it was easy to make the adjustments. Tomorrow I play at another new course (Orange Lake) and again I have an early tee time. I am definitely going to try and warm up on the range as much as possible to just loosen up my back and get use to the changes I want to make. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championship - Day 1

Today was the first day of the GCATNC and I got to play on Disney’s Palm Golf Course. My mom and I made our way over (we got lost on the way) and I only had 45 min. to warm up, which I guess was enough. As I said before I don’t like to warm up too much on the range, because then I start to correct myself, which then just confuses me. After my warm up I drove to the tee, met my playing partners (two really nice women), and then waited for about 20-30 minutes before we could tee off. Skycaddie was nice enough to provide us with the new Skycaddies for the day, which was a big help. My group started on the back nine, which I usually do better on so I was happy. I started off great. I bombed my drive down the middle of the fairway hit my second shot on the green and two putted for par. The next seven holes were just like this, and then for whatever reason everything went down hill from there. The next ten holes were disastrous and my group was put on the clock. I didn’t let the fact that we were on the clock for two holes distract me from my goal, but I just could not get the shots to work in my favor. I ended up shooting a 105 which is awful in my book and I should be doing so much better than that. The good thing is that I ended up paring the last hole of the day and I did a lot of things well. My biggest concern was that I would not get the speed of the greens, but I adapted really well, and I started really well and gave myself a chance to be on top of the leader board. Now looking back at my round I really think the fact that I did not eat enough throughout the round really effected me and my body just wasn’t doing what it was suppose to be doing. I wasn’t keeping my chest behind the ball enough and as a result my bad swing crept in and when I tried to recover, I was just not hitting the ball close to the pin and I was making it hard to make putts. The holes I played well was because I stuck the ball close to the pin and I made it easy to make par putts. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully I can make up some ground on the leader of my flight who shot an 89 today. Wish me luck! I have my work cut out for me.

*You can follow my journey more closely on twitter!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Paula Creamer Wins Again!

I always love watching the LPGA on TV, but when I get to watch them up close it is an extra special treat. My parents and I got to half moon bay just in time to watch the last two groups tee off, and Paula was in the final group so I got to watch her first hole pre-shot routine which was great. She took few second before she approached the ball and looked down and just said a few calming words to herself which I thought was great. It really gives you time to relax and just calm your nerves before you take your first shot of the day. I will definitely implement it when I go to Florida for the National Championship. For whatever reason, I don’t take as much time as I should because since I am the last one to tee off in my group I just try and rush a bit so we can be on our way. I learned a lot from the all of the ladies I saw out there and it was awesome to watch Paula win. The weather was great and it was a great course for spectators. It was very walkable and easy to view the players for every shot. My big sis for the women’s 18 hole group at my club was volunteering at the tournament and she was the chairman for the sign-bearers or something so she got to walk on the course with Lorena Ochoa, so it was great to see her out there. My parents and I watched Lorena’s group as well as Paula’s group, and we followed them up until hole 9 and then we went over to hole 14 and watched Jeong Jang’s group, Christi Kerr’s group, Susan Petterson’s group, all the way until Paula and Anglea came through and then we made our way to the 18th hole and tried to get into the grand stand so we could watch the rest of the groups come in. The grandstands that were provided were really small, but of course the sponsors tents were twice a big and not even half full, which was quite annoying because my dad and I had to stand by the cart bath and the green was above us, so I couldn’t really see the hole from where I was standing. Plus, there were volunteers watching out for people taking pictures and keeping people quiet, so they were standing in the way and I had to ask them to move so everyone could see. It didn’t do much good. The big guy moved closer to us, but was still blocking our view. So we just dealt with it and once Lorena was in sight she hit her second shot into the green side bunker right next to us. So we got to see a close up of Lorena hitting an amazing bunker shot, but I think she ended up with a bogie. We got to see Paula come through and make her par putt which was awesome. The majority of the people left the grand stand and my dad and I rushed up there to get a seat next to my mom and hopefully see the awards ceremony from a better view. I tried to take some pictures and a video of the presentation ceremony, but one of the volunteers told me to put my camera away so the video I ended up taking was a bit crazy. The awards presentation was over and we made our way to the restrooms before we had the long drive home and we ended up standing next to the line of people waiting for the golfers to come out and get their autograph. The volunteer controlling the crowd kept saying that you could not take pictures, and I could not believe it! We were away from the course and I understand why you can’t take pictures on the course because gettyimages has the rights to taking pictures on the course so spectators cannot since there is the possibility that they could sell those pictures and benefit from them. But how could the LPGA even think to not allow spectators to take pictures of their favorite players once they are off/away form the course and signing autographs. How unfair is that for the spectators? California only gets two tournaments a year and there are tons kids that really look up to the ladies on the tour and bring flowers, write notes, and bring gifts to give them and it is unfair to allow those kids to not have a picture with their favorite golfer. After the pit stop we walked towards the shuttle stop in order to get back to the parking lot. It was quite a long line, but I think we only had to wait for 30-40 minutes before we could get onto the bus. We didn’t want to wait in the long line of cars to get back over the hill, so we decided to get some dinner at Barbara’s Fish restaurant. It was a nice dinner and it gave us plenty of time to let the traffic pass and have an easy ride back home. I had an awesome time and the tournament pumped me up for the national championship. Up next...The Longs Drug Challenge at Blackhawk.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Samsung World Championship

I am very happy that the LPGA scheduled two tournaments in Northern California which are an hour or so each from my house. The first up is the Samsung World Championship. I missed the first two days of competition because of a conference, but I am really excited to be going to the tournament on Sunday. I checked this morning and three Americans Juli Inkster, Angela Stanford, and Paula Creamer were at the top of the leader board, as well as Lorena Ochoa. I can’t wait to go and watch them and I think my dream twosome to watch would be Lorena Ochoa and Paula Creamer. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for that. I will take as many pictures as I can and post them as soon as I can.