I am honored to have a blog post featured on the official Notre Dame Athletics homepage today! Great to be back! Go Irish! http://www.und.com/sports/m-golf/spec-rel/082613aac.html
It’s been a long time since I’ve won a professional golf tournament. There was a time during my injury where I wondered if I’d ever win again.
Yesterday, at the Manchester Open in Connecticut, I found my way back to the winner’s circle. Hartford Courant Story Here
I haven’t been able to really capitalize on opportunities in competition this summer but I knew today I’d have the chance to. Coming into the final round of the GBO, I was one back of the lead. I had a great warm up session on the range and felt very confident going to the first tee. For the first 10 holes today, I hit pin-seeking iron after pin-seeking iron, yet made few birdies. The adrenaline pumping through my body made my putting stoke feel foreign and the sweet spot of the putter seemed non-existent. Despite that, I played 13 holes bogey-free and was one back of the lead at -3 for the day and -8 for the event. Two well executed shots on the par 4, 14th left me 15 feet for birdie and a share of the lead. The putt went racing 4 feet by the hole on the high side. I missed the come back putt and leaked momentum all the way into the clubhouse. I finished tied for 3rd, 3 strokes back of the winner with a score of 68 and a two round total of 132 (64-68).
I was disappointed with myself coming off the 18th green today because I put myself in a great position to win, but didn’t get the job done. After a few hours to cool off and reflect more objectively, this finish is the best of the summer; I put myself in contention despite all facets of my game not clicking and made a solid paycheck. I love the thrill of the chase and the rush of contention. No matter how well I play, there are always going to be things I can do better. I love that golf is a constant work in progress and can never be beaten, win or lose. This finish leaves me hungrier than ever and the timing is opportune with the Maine Open starting Monday. I’ll play a practice round tomorrow, get some putting stroke repetitions in and set out to improve the way I handle the pressure of vying for a victory.
Round 2 of the Greater Bangor Open was cancelled today due to weather. The final round will be played tomorrow with the leader at -6. I’ll start the day one shot back at -5 in the second to last group. I’m looking forward to the thrill of contention and finding my way back to the winner’s circle! Tomorrow’s tee time: 12:24
It’s been a busy summer of travel and competition and I wouldn’t have it any other way! This week, I caught a red eye flight to Boston and drove up to Bangor, Maine for the Greater Bangor Open. I’ve had top finishes here in the past and was hoping nostalgia and the New England summer air would propel my golf game into contention. Bangor Municipal Golf Course is a 6400 yard par 69, with some very quirky holes and undulating, slow greens. There are three demanding holes (8, 15 and 18) and the remaining holes are potential birdies. I played 17 holes near perfection today with a clean, bogey-free card. I stepped on the 18th tee at -7. The 18th hole demands a player either lay back off the tee and hit a long iron into the green, or hit a fairway wood and take on trouble. I chose the later option and found the trouble. A really frustrating double-bogey finish amounted to a total score of 64 (-5). While the finish was disappointing, I’m in the hunt after day 1 and tied for 3rd as I write this. I could easily have been leading and I’ll start out hungry to make up those shots tomorrow afternoon.
After a solid Monday qualifying performance to earn a spot in this week’s Syncrude Boreal Open on PGA Tour Canada, I made the five hour drive to Fort McMurray from Edmonton. The Fort McMurray Golf Course is the most narrow course on Tour, a thickly tree and shrub-lined course, where one wayward swing will result in a lost ball. It’s a course requiring unwavering patience and position plays off the tee. “Drive and Scramble” is a disastrous strategy on this course. The morning wave escaped the course with sunshine and minimal wind. As the day progressed, the breeze picked up, blowing the clouds and storms in for the afternoon players. I was the last tee time of the day.
After 8 solid holes, I stepped onto the 18th tee (my 9th hole of the day) at -1 and had only hit one driver all day. The rain drizzle that had softly blanketed the course for the previous two holes suddenly turned into a driving downpour with a stiff wind howling in my face as I stood on the 600 yard, par 5 18th. I’ve recently hit my Titleist driver very straight, finding it easy to keep the clubhead in front of my body throughout the swing never “getting stuck.” This swing was a little rushed and hit slightly in the heel. It started down the middle and the 10 yard cut was exaggerated by the wind and sailed into the thick woods. I hit a provisional on a slightly better line, just inside the treeline. Both balls would never be found. I made a disastrous 9 on the hole. After tapping in for a cringing 9, the weather horn blew and play was suspended for the day. What a way to end the day! On a course that required patience, I knew getting those lost shots back wouldn’t come quickly and it wouldn’t be easy, particularly because the bad weather was supposed to last into the next morning.
When play resumed at 7:30 am, it was raining and the wind had kicked up sharply. The gusty wind would blow steadily all morning and while I gave myself some high quality opportunities to regain shots, my putting was cold. I shot 76-72 (+4) for a missed cut.
I had planned on going to this week’s event in Winnipeg after a solid finish in Fort Mac, but now won’t be able to make the trip. It’s a disappointing way to end the first swing on PGA Tour Canada but I am encouraged by my most recent Monday qualifying results and a few practice rounds where I’ve gone low. I’m really enjoying the challenge of competition, even if the results aren’t going my way. In the past, I would have let two consecutive missed cuts affect my self-talk and confidence. I’m actually injected with a healthy dose of motivation, pride and gratitude. I’m grateful to be out here and have the chance to challenge my ability and test my skills again. There are a lot of people out there who have been huge supporters of mine. Many of you are reading this right now, and to you I say thank you for your support and belief through it all. I’m looking forward to taking the lessons of the past two weeks into training and being better for when the next opportunity presents itself.
After a disappointing end to last week’s PGA Tour Canada Dakota Dunes Casino Open, I was back on the Monday qualifying trail for this week’s event. This week’s PGA Tour Canada event is played in Fort McMurray, home to the Canadian Oil sands and sponsored by Syncrude. I teed it up this morning very confident and determined to get into this week’s field. Despite missing the cut by one shot last week, the experience injected me with a significant shot of confidence and focus.
I hit my driver spectacularly en route to a -3, 69 with two bogies that came after decisions to leave driver in the bag off the tee. This score was good enough for a t-4 finish with 8 spots available. This week, I will continue my solid play and have another great chance to advance my career at the Syncrude Boreal Open.