Newsletter

Hey everyone!

Big news – I’m a professional!

There will be a lot of changes for me going forward. One of them is that I have stopped blogging and transferred to a newsletter. If you would like to follow my professional career, please email me at bjerch@hotmail.com to receive my newsletter!

Thanks!

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Big 12 Championship

Scores: 75-76-80-71 (+22)

Finish: T32nd

Team Finish: 7th

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Southern Hills was a real, real challenge this week. With almost no wind for four rounds, Scottie Sheffler’s winning score of 280 (even par) shows the difficulty of the course. The greens were rolling 13 on the stimp meter (VERY FAST for you guys that are not familiar with the stimp meter). In addition, every green has significant breaks and runoffs. This meant being on the wrong side of the hole was basically death all week. When the greens play that way, they challenge your entire game: Obviously your putting had to be good to score because the greens were fast and tricky – speed control was therefore essential. However, it also challenged your ball-striking because you needed to have good distance control coming into the greens. And because iron play was essential, fairways turned out to be a premium to play from. Oh, and your short-game better be on when you did miss greens. Ergo, your entire game.

I had a very disappointing week personally. I got off to a terrible start by hitting my first tee shot of the tournament out of bounds.  I couldn’t get much momentum during that first day when we played 36 holes. Despite my scrappy play, there were some positives to build on from that first day. Mainly thanks to a bunch of excellent short-irons, I recorded 7 birdies that first day, which were second most in the field.

For the third round, I started off in good spirits with the mindset of continuing the good aspects of my game and clean up the costly mistakes from the first day. I did a good job of not giving away any silly shots during the first  holes. When I came to my ninth hole, hole 18, I got extremely frustrated when I hit my approach to a back pin. My eight iron pitch seven feet from the hole, but due to the severe break around the hole and the general speed of the greens, the ball had trickled towards me all the way off the green, down the false front, and down the fairway. I  now was facing an uphill, 70 yard pitch shot into the grain. I did a very poor job of getting over that bad break. I took a bogey there, and got into a negative spiral that I wasn’t strong enough to get out of. It was a very frustrating day because I knew that I gave away a bunch of shots by not being in the correct state on that back-nine.

I had a much better day the last day, where I kept my round together quite nicely. My attitude was much more patient, especially when I had some adversity early in the round. I found myself two over par after double-bogeying the third. Even though birdies are hard to make out there, I managed to stay patient and play the rest of the round very nicely. I was in particular very pleased with my four sand saves in four tries out of the green-side bunkers. A 71 around that track is a solid score.

There’s a lot of stuff to work on before our regional tournament. Our team was obviously disappointed with our performance in the Big 12, but it doesn’t define us as a team. It’s just one tournament. Personally, in preparing for Regionals, I need to work on my tee-shots and short-game. I was not close to as sharp as I need to be this week. However, the more important preparation that I can do is to learn from this week’s experience and apply it at the next tournament. I want to be more patient and confident when adversity hits. I also need to play the aggressive and free golf that I am capable of. It is easy to give the course too much respect sometimes because you know the greens are tricky. I obviously need to play smart golf, but this week I played too conservatively and tentatively.

Talk soon,
Mikkel


Thunderbird Invitational

Thunderbird Invitational
Scores: 72-69-72 (+3)
Individual Finish: T19th
Team Finish: 4th

Got off to a very tough start this week. I felt timid and defensive those first few holes. I started the tournament with four straight bogeys, and found myself 5 over par after ten holes. After those first ten holes, I played pretty solid. I hit the ball pretty well and rolled in solidly on the greens. Just need to sharpen the short game a little bit to keep the momentum during my rounds, and work on hitting the wedges and short irons closer to create more birdie-opportunities.
Enjoyed my time in Phoenix with perfect weather, fun course and good competition.
My game is very close to being really good, just need to tidy up a few things for the next tournament, and keep the foot on the accelerator from the start!

Next event will be the Big 12 Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma starting on April 27.
Sic’em


Bayou City Collegiate

Finished up in Houston with rounds of 75-72-68 (-1 total), T13th individually. Team finished third after a slow start, but very solid last day.

Because of the weather, we ended up playing 27 holes on Friday, 9 on Saturday, and 18 today (Sunday). I was +5 at the end of Friday but felt like I was really close to playing very nicely. I was just not putting very well, and couldn’t gain any momentum. At the end of the day, I was disappointed that I didn’t get more out of my game, but believed that something good was right around the corner.

The last 27 holes over the weekend were very good – I shot 6 under par in these holes (8 birdies, 2 bogeys), only missing two greens in regulation the entire weekend. I was very pleased with how solid these two days were, a performance I can learn from and springboard my confidence into the next event!

It will be a quick turnaround this week, as I’ll have a few days of classes before we travel to Cabo, Mexico on Friday morning. I’m very pleased with the way my game is headed, and I’ll keep on working on what I believe in this week.
Sic’em Bears!!


Oak Hills Invite Summary

Great to start the year with a team win thanks to great play from Kyle, Andreas, and Filippo. Kyle won this tournament for the third year in a row — unreal performance!

Personally I’m glad I could contribute a little today. I shot scores 74-80-71 (+12) to finish T45th individually. I was 12 over after 36 without hitting is in trouble at all. It was kind of surrealistic.

Teeing off from the first, I had about the same amount of adrenalin as I usually have but it lasted for at least three holes, which is a little longer than usual. I don’t consider it a bad thing – it’s natural when you haven’t played competitively in a while, just an observation. My rhythm was a little off on those first few holes and I struggled to find the middle of the clubface. However, I found my rhythm relatively quickly ball-striking-wise, and hit it pretty consistently with some stretches of beautiful ball-striking for the rest of that 36-hole day. I was especially happy with my driver for the tournament – it’s a club I’m growing more and more confidence in, and I now consider myself a good driver of the golf ball.

My real troubles this week was on the greens. It really started during the practice round, when I couldn’t read the grain on the greens very well. This insecurity was there overnight, and was heightened when I missed my first three-footer of the day on the third. My fear spread as I missed short putts. It was a vicious cycle as I got more and more tentative as I watched putts slide by the hole. I ended up having 40 putts in that second round – a round where I shot 80 without even being in trouble. Neither of these things have ever happened to me before. I was embarrassed, shocked, frustrated, and scared when the day was over. After consulting both of my coaches, I decided on not heading to the putting green to grind and figure it all out. I simply went into the clubhouse to eat dinner with my teammates. Looking back that was a great decision.

The next morning, Coach Blagg and I started my warm-up together on the putting green by hitting two-footers, and progressively moving to three and four feet – then breaking short putts. We worked on my speed. I’m a player who loves to “finesse” putts into the hole. I like to play the break and die my putts into the hole. However, on very grainy greens, a different approach is needed, especially on the shorter putts. With decreased speed, there’s more chance for the ball to jump off line or be waved away by the grain. It’s almost like the greens can smell your fear if you’re a little nervous and try to lurk them in there too. It was easy for me to commit to hitting the back of the hole on the short ones on the putting green during my warm-up. It was a little more challenging under the gun out on the course. I had a few putts that last day I didn’t quite manage to stay aggressive on, but for the most part I was very proud of how I stepped out of my comfort zone and committed to a pace that was a little uncomfortable for me.


Practice Round at Oak Hills

Oak Hills Country Club is an older, classic layout course. Tricky greens and good bunkering where you need to be on the correct sides of the fairways to have clear shots to the greens. It should be a fun day tomorrow, where we’ll play 36 continuous holes. Long but fun.
My game feels very good. Will play smart golf and play to my strengths tomorrow. Sicem

Livescoring can be found at http://www.birdiefire.com


San Antonio

Arrived San Antonio yesterday and went out to the course for about three hours, just working on shortgame and putting. Today (Sunday) is the official practice day where we tee off in a “college-am” at 1 o’clock. A college-am is where the players will play with a couple if amateurs/club members in the practice round. Should be fun.

The tournament will be played over 36 holes Monday and 18 Tuesday. A lot of golf ahead so I’m probably just going to hit a few balls and play the practice round. Not going to try to reinvent the dynamite today (if that’s an acceptable saying).