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.