Continuing the Quest

Bombs Away at Champions Club
Bombs Away at Champions Club

Since my last post, I’ve played two events, one at Champions Club in Stuart, Florida and another at Fountains Country Club West Course in Lake Worth, Florida. Last week at the Champions Club, I found myself within striking distance with two holes left playing with a 4 year veteran on the Tour. A par-birdie finish on 17 and 18 would get me tied for the lead. I was definitely in contention and loving it.

A disastrous bogey-double bogey finish left me in 9th place. In evaluating my process while in contention, I realized I kept saying to myself “I HAVE TO make this/hit this solid/make birdie.” The subtly of self-talk is important and this structure of language automatically adds pressure in an already intense situation. “Have to” implies a mandatory task.

It’s NCAA Tournament time and I recently heard from a former Duke player that when there is the least pressure, legendary coaching Mike Krzyzewski is at his most intense, pushing his players to do more. However, when emotions are riding their highest in the crutch of competition, he’s cooler than Miles Davis playing “Summertime.” This model of motivational ebb and flow amid competition is  what I’m striving to achieve. Framing my self-discussion as a fun challenge rather than a pressure packed task will improve my process and results in situations where a win is on the line.

Today, the Tour hosted a one day event at Fountains West. As the name implies, there is no shortage of water at The Fountains. There are only two holes where water doesn’t come in to play. Traversing the hazards wasn’t a problem for me today. Despite back spasms prior to and early in the round that required far too much Aleeve, I was in precise control of my irons and was able to give myself many great looks at birdies. Unfortunately, I had difficulty reading the greens and making solid strokes. Putts that I normally pour in found ways to elude the hole. I shot 71 today and finished t-4.

The strides continue and while I don’t “HAVE TO win,” it sure would be fun.

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