Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championship - Round 2

I started my round at 7:18 am at SilverRock Resort on hole 10. Had a good short warm up, but felt good enough about my game and round from yesterday that I felt I could still post a good enough score to make the cut. I played a practice round at SilverRock on Sunday and played well on the front but had bad memories on the back, but I was determined to not let that round get in my head and just focus on what I had to do. I got to the tee box, greeted my playing partners, and we were ready to go. All marshalls for the Golf Channel National Championship are tour directors from across the country who come and officiate the tournament. For each group they tell which tees will be played during the round as well as the local rules and how to abide by them. This morning the marshall told our group that we would be playing from the white tees. I looked at him and ask if I was also playing from the white tees. He looked at me and said, “Yes. The women in the Hogan flight play from the whites.” I proceeded to tell him that I was not playing in the Hogan flight and that I was in Jones. He said, “You are still playing from the white.” I continued to questions him and he continued to assure me that I was playing from the white tees. I took my score card wished my playing partners good luck and off we went. I hit my first tee shot of the day in the water on the right and ended up with a six on the first hole. I calmed myself and brushed it off. It felt like the entire day was full of ups and downs. Bad swings would sneak in and out of my round as well as the good and bad scores. I reached the turn and told myself that I could turn my game around and still have a decent score. A marshall was at hole #1 (my #10) and as I prepared to hit my shot the marshall told me that I was playing from the wrong tee box. I let my playing partners play first while I spoke with the marshall. He radioed in asking if the women were playing from the whites and he told me that the Marshall from that morning had a “Senior Moment” and he made a mistake. He continued to tell me that I had to continue my round playing the whites or else I would be disqualified. At that point because I was already mentally exhausted it took all I had to not break down and cry. I took a deep breath, stepped up to the tee box and bombed one down the fairway. I tried to stay patient and focus on the rest of my round. I only had two pars and two boggies the entire day. That partnered with a 7,8,9 and an 11 left me with a 57 on the front (starting on hole 10) and a 53 on the back.

Looking back on my scores for the past few days in relation to the rest of the field I am devastated. I haven’t shot scores like that in a long time and I know that I and my swing are better than what I have been showing. But, at the same time the scores that are in the lead are in the low 80’s. I have only broken 90 once and have come close a few times in the past few months. The Jones bracket is for handicaps between 16 - 19. Technically our scores should be in the high 80’s if it goes according to our handicap. I don’t think we are flighted fairly and the Golf Channel needs to do a better job at watching the handicaps and making it fair.

One thing I can take away from today is how well I handled my emotions through such a crazy round. A cut is made after three rounds and my game plan for tomorrow is to shoot at every flag, be aggressive on every hole, and continue to play fearless golf. I have nothing to loose tomorrow and everything to gain. Time for a good nights rest.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Golf Channel National Championship Day 1

I had a late tee time this morning which was on one hand great because I got to sleep in. On the other hand it meant that I would have to play in the brunt of the heat, which was 105 degrees today. After a good warm up I made my way to the tee box, met my playing partners (they were both men) and we were off. I started off really well with two pars, a double, two bogies, birdie, and then I had a quad on a par 4. I got a lucky bounce into the fairway on my tee shot but hit my second shot into the water, dropped, hit my third shot way left of the green, had a blind flop shot onto the green and two putted for an 8. I happily rebounded from that with a par on the next but doubled the 9th. As we walked off the 9th green we received a pace of play warning. The entire front nine we were waiting for the group in front of us and all of a sudden we got to the 9th tee box and the group in front of us was gone. We got to 10 and they were gone. It wasn’t until we got to the 11th tee box that we caught a glimpse of them reaching the green. After the warning I had a 9 on hole 10 (par 4), 7 on hole 11 (par 5) and I recovered with two bogies, a par, a bogie, and 9 on a par 4. I got stuck in this unbelievable green side bunker. I couldn’t see the flag and it looked like the big red wall on the big break. I attempted that flop shot and it didn’t work so well. I finished the round with two bogies and shot a 99. I kept my spirits up during the round and didn’t let the big numbers get me down. Overall I was really happy with how I was striking the ball and with my putting. I didn’t have any three puts and it was great to know that no matter what I could make whatever putt I left myself. Overall I am really happy with the way I played. It was just a few bad bounces and mental demons that messed up my round. I am in the middle of the pack in my flight so I am really excited to play tomorrow and see what happens. I hope this post makes sense. I am tired, it is late (for me), and I am off to bed. 7am tee time tomorrow at SilverRock.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Road to Nationals

I am in my final week of preparation for the Golf Channel Amateur Tour National Championship. I learned a lot from last year and I know it will help me in my preparation for this year. This year Nationals takes place in La Quinta, CA and we will be playing PGA West-Stadium, PGA West-Nicklaus Tournament, PGA West-Norman, Golf Club at La Quinta, SilverRock Resort, La Quinta-Mountain, and Mountain View Country Club. My only experience playing in Southern California was a few years ago when my parents and I took a John Jacobs Golf School in Palm Dessert. It was in December, so the heat was never a factor, but I know the heat will be a factor next week. Around this time of year the temperature in La Quinta is above 100 degree everyday. Luckily I think I will have an upper hand considering the heat doesn’t affect me to much. As far as I know there is little to no humidity as well as no wind, so I just have to stay patient, drink a lot of water and just be prepared. I played a Golf Channel tournament up in Sacramento last year and it was 100 degrees or close to it. Every time I stepped out of the golf cart it felt like my skin was burning because it was so hot. Hopefully it won’t be like that in La Quinta, but I guess if I expect it then it won’t be such a shock when I get there.

My preparation for the tournament is quite simple I guess. I want to focus solely on my swing Saturday and Sunday, work on my short game on Monday, and play nine or 18 holes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Maybe hit the range on Friday just to keep my rythm going and my parents and I head down to La Quinta on Saturday, which will be my day off. Sunday I will play a practice round at Silver Rock resort and Monday I will play a practice round at PGA West Stadium course and the tournament starts on Tuesday. I know it sounds like a lot of golf, but I am a player who plays better the more I play. In the past when I have taken a few days off and gone back to the range I have “lost” my swing and I would have to build it back up. Thankfully I took three days off last week and went to the driving range last night and it went well. My swing felt good and I just have to keep that confidence with me through out the tournament. Confidence will be a big factor this year as it is with every tournament. I have to believe that I can do it and trust that I have worked hard and deserve to be there. One issue I had last year was that I focused too much on what the other players were doing which lead to a lack of confidence and my swing broke down which caused me to think about my swing instead of just trying to play. I know this year will be different and hopefully I will come home with a trophy. Which me luck!