SO…Now I suppose I should update you on the golf part of my life. As you can tell, I really didn’t have any time to practice or to play but I had signed up months prior for The CPGA Professional Championship held at The Resort Course at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, SC (July 28th-30th) and I wasn’t about to back out.
I had a super late flight from LaGuardia Airport to Wilmington on Sunday the 26th of July, which, by the time I grabbed a taxi, got me back to the house around midnight.
After a short 5 hour rest, I got up early and made my way to the golf course which took nearly an hour and 15 minutes to reach. This allowed me a short warm up before I teed off for my practice round at about 8:20am. Having not touched a club for two weeks and sitting in the back seat of a minivan for a large portion of it, my body was stiff and I had little to no coordination and certainly did not have much control of my golf ball. As the practice round progressed, my swing started to come back but I was still not confident or comfortable with the ball flight or directional control.
I hit several more balls at the range following the round to try and find a swing key that I could play with over the next few days of tournament play. I had little success in this endeavor. I continued my pre-tournament practice with some putting and short game drills for easily an hour to try and hone my skills in preparation for the ensuing rounds.
I’ll keep it fairly short since my performance was not exactly up to the standard I hold myself to. That being said, my swing continued to get better throughout the tournament and I started to get those feelings and motions back that I had when I last played in the eGolf Southern Open a few weeks ago.
My first round of the tournament began at 12:09pm on Tuesday July 28th. The winds were blowing at a steady 10mph with gusts up to 15-20mph later in the round. Not exactly the ideal conditions I had hoped for considering the state of my game, but I grinded through it. Probably the best highlight I can give was my very first hole, which measured 460 yards (par 4, 1st hole) and played dead down wind. I selected a 2-hybrid and pounded it straight down the middle and left myself only 155 to the back-middle hole location. I hit what I thought was a perfect pitching wedge only to have the wind carry the ball to the back fringe in line with the pin, which was not a place I had hoped to be. I was left staring at a 20 foot putt down a severe slope on greens that were running very fast (I would guess at least a 12 on the stimp meter). I was merely trying to lag it as close as possible. To my surprise, the ball trickled right in the front edge of the hole on its last rotation for an opening round birdie! A big thank you goes out to Chris Nicholas for following me and for getting this shot on film!
Needless to say, that was about as good as it got for the rest of the tournament. I had 7 penalty strokes from hitting it out of bounds and in water hazards on various holes and paired that with three 3-putts to shoot an underwhelming and disappointing 80. Even though I was embarrassed by the score, I really had no expectations and was playing in the event solely for more big tournament experience.
I think it goes without saying that playing in windy conditions is difficult on its own and pair that with a golf swing that was very inconsistent and you can expect to shoot a high number. To be truthful, it doesn’t even bother me that I shot that high. I knew my game wasn’t ready and I pretty much expected it.
Round 2 was a little better from a swing perspective, but not necessarily a scoring perspective. I shot 77 in the second round for a total of 157 over the two days and tie for 96th place in a field of 140+. I still had 3 penalty strokes from the same woes as the prior round and again had three 3-putts.
If you were to take out all of the penalty strokes and all of the three putts, I would have shot under par. I think that speaks to the quality of my iron play and the quality of my short game. Yes, that may be asking a lot to reverse all of those terrible shots but I KNOW that when I play and practice every day, I hardly ever hit the ball that poorly and that much off-line. Heck, even when I was at my literal worst, I still beat almost 50 players!
I am choosing to look at the positives of this tournament and not the negatives. I know I have the talent and the ability and my tournament confidence is growing and I am becoming more and more comfortable in those high-pressure situations.
The slightly unfortunate part is that I cannot immediately begin to work on my game because I am taking one more trip to visit Lisa’s new niece Maya Emelie Lind, born July 31st, 2015. Her sister Daina and husband Marcus live in Switzerland and just gave birth to this little bundle of joy. I am excited to welcome the newest member of the family and to help out in any way that I can. Golf is very important to me as it is my new means of income, but to me, family will always trump everything. I am glad I have the opportunity to go and visit a place I have never been to, but also to assist Daina and Marcus as they prepare for their new journey as parents.
Rest assured that when I return, I will have a passion and desire to ‘crack the whip’ on myself to become the best golfer that I can be.
Thanks again for following my journey and stay tuned for pictures and updates from the Switzerland adventure!