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.