Tuesday, March 24, 2009

State of the Union

I haven't updated this in a while. On Friday the 13th, 3 friends from Washington came down and visited me for their spring break. It was a great time. My friend Jenni brought an entire plastic tub full of cooking utensils/supplies so she cooked dinner every night. I definitely ate the best food ever in this apartment that entire week. The weather was cold and wet for their first 3 days here, but it cleared up and warmed up for most of the week so we had some nice time in the sun. I think they enjoyed it. They left early Friday morning.

I was supposed to have day 1 of the Medalplay Championship on Tuesday afternoon, but it rained the entire night and through the day so play was washed out until yesterday and today. At the start of this tournament, I was in a tie for 34th on the Order of Merit list, and the top 30 after this tournament qualify for the Players Championship at a super nice course next Monday and Tuesday. That was enough motivation for me to definitely buckle down and play some good golf. Yesterday, I played at the Witch. The same place with the Gators and swamps. I hit the ball pretty well for the most part, but couldn't putt, so I shot 89. That definitely put me in a tough spot to get enough points to qualify for the Players Championship. I knew I wasn't that far off though with my game going into today.

I played at Man o War today, and the course was in great shape. It was super windy, though. I recently put the driver back in my bag for tournaments, and it is definitely paying off from the tee. I bogeyed the par 5 first hole, and then came the par 3 second hole. It's a semi-short par 3 with bunkers on the left and right, with a narrow gap in front for any balls running up. It was playing 155 yds and into a breeze from the left. I stepped up with a 9 iron and hit it solid. It started left of the flag and worked back toward the flag with the wind and then BAM! it hits the bottom of the flagstick on the FLY. Too bad it rolled back down the green to about 20 ft. I missed the birdie and tapped in for par. Easily could have been birdie with such a good shot, just a bad break. Parred the next 4 holes, then hit a wayward drive into a hazard and made a bogey on 8. Played a cool knock down full 7 iron into a stiff breeze from out of the trees from 140 yds to pin high on the green on 10. Hit a perfect 4 iron off the tee on 11 and had 140 yds to the flag. Hit a pitching wedge about 35 ft past the hole and made the putt for birdie. So I was 2 over through 11 at that point. Left a putt 1 revolution short for birdie on 12. Hit a wedge to 6 ft on 14, but the birdie putt did a 360 lip out. And then my only hiccup wasn't even something I did wrong. The hole is a short par 4 with water all down the right side of the hole. I hit a 2 iron right down the middle, but the fairway has 2 levels on the left and right side, and my ball hit the ridge between levels and kicked right into the water. I proceeded to 3 putt that green and make a double. Missed a 3 footer for par on 17. Hit a good drive on the par 5 18th and had 190 yds to the hole. Hit a solid 7 iron hooking right at the flag, but it hit the downslope and rolled to about 45 ft. Left the eagle putt 3 inchs short and made a closing birdie. I hit 12 greens, but had 35 putts, so I ended with a 77. I'm still kicking myself for those 3 shots I lost on 16 and 17, and the 360 lip out, and the ball that hit the flagstick. Might lose some sleep tonight....

After I hit my second shot on 18, the 4th semester kid I was riding with said something really funny. I sat down and he said "I wasn't gonna say anything, but now I have to. Why the **** are you in this tour? You belong on the PGA Tour." (Please note, the PGA Tour he is referring to is the one from our school's tours. Not the one Tiger plays on.) Another kid in my group said basically the same thing a few holes before that, too. He said I didn't belong on this tour cuz my swing is "rhythmical" and it's butter. My handicap is on the way down, so I'll definitely move up at least one tour next month.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tournament/2nd round match

On Monday I had the second medalplay tournament at World Tour. Coming off the best golf of my life last week, I was pretty excited and confident to win a tournament finally. The weather made it difficult to play, however. It never reached 45 degrees, and it was windy the entire day. I just did not feel comfortable over the ball throughout the day. To make things worse, I made my first 10 and my first 9 on a hole since I've been down here.

The 10 came on the 3rd hole, which is a replica of arguably the most famous hole in golf, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. It's a short par 3, only 140 yds, but it's to an island green, with no room to spare if you miss the green. I also learned before I hit my shot, that this replica is only half the size of the actual green. So the green is even SMALLER than the real thing on tv. Luckily for me, the wind was straight into our faces on the tee. I decided to hit a knock-down, three-quarter nine iron to keep it low and out of the wind. I hit the shot, and I thought it might be going in, but then the wind hit it, and the ball fell down and hit the top of the wooden slabs on the side of the green and bounced into the water. The other 3 fellow competitors in my group also put their shots in the water. We proceed to the drop zone, which is still a 70 yd shot over water. I hit right underneath my 2nd ball and it falls short and into the water again. 2 of the 3 fellow competitors hit their 2nd balls into the water as well. I proceeded to card a 10, and our group also turned in an 11, and a 12. So I wasn't happy at all, and I just slapped it around for the next few holes. I turned in a 97, my worst score since I've been here.

I had my second round match on Tuesday against the 2 seed in my Tour. He actually won the tournament the day before at World Tour with an 80. So he was coming off a great round, and I was coming off a horrible round. I won 2 of the first 3 holes, and I just started playing pretty conservatively so I dont make any mistakes and give him easy holes. I was 2 up after 9, and then the landslide came. He won 5 of the next 6 holes and beat me 3&2. It was fun though, cuz he's a really cool guy.

This week has also been midterms, so I've been busy with those as well as my golf troubles. Along with midterms, I also had to give an 8 minute demonstration speech, a 3 minute speech in history about Seve Ballesteros and the second day of the short game skills evaluation. The speech went fine. I demonstrated how to make a paper airplane, and my power point was pretty creative, so I got a 100 there. Didn't do very well on the Marketing midterm or the Golf Facility Management midterm on Wednesday, though. The speech on Seve went fine on Thursday, and the short game skills eval went pretty well. I didn't do as well as I should have on the pitching portion, but I wasn't doing anything wrong. I just wasn't getting the ball to stop fast enough. But the bunker portion went great. I had 7 shots within 3 ft, 2 shots 3-6 ft, and 1 shot outside 6 ft. So I was really happy there. And I feel like I did really well earlier today in the Tournament Planning midterm, so that should be another A.

I'm finally getting my clubs fitted on thursday, so I should be feeling alot better over the golf ball once that all gets fixed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Witch Golf Links

Fresh off my dramatic 22 hole match play victory of Monday, I had a practice round at a course called The Witch. I hadn't played it yet, and everyone I talked to said its a great course and it's built on a swamp. They weren't kidding about the swamp part. If you missed the fairway on either side, there was a drop off and then trees sitting in soupy swamp water. The course was in phenomenal condition though. The greens were the smoothest I have ever putted on, and they were the fastest as well. The kid I played in my match on Monday was friends with 2 of the kids I was playing with at The Witch, and one of them challenged me to a match for bragging rights. We decided to just play the round and whoever shot the best score wins.

I started off with a triple and a double. On the third hole, I had a 20 ft birdie putt lip out, and then on the 4th hole I drained a 15 foot birdie putt. I shot 43 on the front, simply because of my triple, double start. And then I shot 38 on the back. This was such a cool course from a design perspective. It reminded me of Coyote Creek in Bartonville because of the elevation changes and how narrow the fairways were. I snapped a cool picture of a really neat par 3 set off in the corner of the course, surrounded by trees. It was completely quiet while we stood on the tee.

Another cool part about this course is the wildlife. On the third tee, we heard a loud pecking noise. We looked around in the trees and we found a red-headed woodpecker pounding away at a branch. I was laughing so hard. It looked so cool hammering away. He was pecking during my swing and I struggled not to laugh. They also have alligators in their lakes and ponds. I tried to get a picture of one, so we'll see how many of you have good eyesight.

So, I had bragging rights on the line against my friend Mike like I explained earlier, and we also did a 2 on 2 match play. I was on my friend Pete's team, and we played against Josh and Mike. Josh and Mike are both 7 hdcp, Pete is a 5, and I'm a 10. Josh ended up shooting 73, Mike shot 83, and Pete and I both shot 81. We lost the 2 on 2 match on the 18th hole, but I beat Mike so I have bragging rights there.

Josh and Mike are both in my classes, and Mike lives here at Flintlake. He's the one I bought the futon from. I've been hanging out with those guys a lot, and they're really cool. Josh is 28 and he's from Toronto, a true Canadian. He loves hockey and saying "eh". Mike is from upstate New York but they recently moved to Raleigh, NC and he's a Duke fan. He went to a game at Cameron Indoor, too, so he has me jealous. He's 22.

I found out today that I'm playing the number 2 seed in my match on Tuesday. I played with him in the first tournament this semester, and I played with him during my match on Monday, and he's just a really fun kid to be around. He's funny, and he's really easy to talk to. So it should be a really fun match again. I finally get to play World Tour in my tournament on Monday, so I'm wayyyy excited for Monday to get here, especially since I'm playing the best I've ever played. I WILL win this tournament on Monday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Move over Tiger, My match was more exciting!

You guys think Tiger Woods put on a show last June at Torrey Pines? That was nothin compared to my match this afternoon. I am the 10 seed in my Tour, and I played the 6 seed (I played with him last week in a practice round by chance). I knew the kid was good, but I didn't think he was consistently good. I was extremely confident all morning. I got to the course an hour early to warm up like usual, and I had a horrible warm up session. Standing on the first tee was not a confident feeling after that warm up.

I hit a usable tee shot, then made par, so that settled me down. I was 1 down after 4 holes, and then my putter started warming up. I drained a 20 foot birdie on the 5th hole to win the hole. I made some nice putts to halve some holes, but I was 1 down after 9. On the 10th hole, I hit a 4 iron off the tee and hit a smooth sand wedge to 8 ft. Made the putt for birdie, so the match was back to all square. 12th hole is an island green all over water. It was cold and windy all day, and the wind was straight across the water from the right. I hit a wedge to pin high about 8 ft left of the hole. Everyone else in my group hit it closer than me. I made my putt for birdie, they all mised, most importantly, my oppenent missed his birdie putt. Now I'm 1 up with 6 to play.

I left a 15 foot birdie putt 1 revolution short on the 14th hole, and if it went in I would have been 2 up with 4 to play. 15th hole is the hole I almost made the hole in one on last week. It was playing a little longer today, and into a slight breeze. Pin was right in front with 3 huge bunkers guarding any shots short. I hit a 9 iron to 6 feet. My opponenet conceeded my putt because he wasn't even in for bogey yet. I putted it anyway, and made it. So that's my 3rd birdie of the day and it got me to 2 up. We halved the next hole, so I was 2 up with 2 to play, so he was forced to win the next 2 holes or else he lost.

I gave him the 17th hole by hitting it next to the water off the tee and trying to hit it by standing in the water, but it didn't work out. So I was 1 up with 1 to play, and it was a short par 5. I wanted to just make par and force him to make a birdie to send it to extra holes. I had a 3 footer for par, and he had a 12 footer for birdie. He sank his putt and sent the match to extra holes. We went back to the first tee to start the sudden death playoff. We halved the first 3 holes, and then came the 4th hole. The 4th hole is a long par 5 with a long bunker all down the left side, and houses all down the right side. I hit a crappy 3 wood off the tee, he bombed his driver right down the middle. I had 250 yds to the green, so I took out my 2 iron and hit it as hard as I could. It turned over from right to left right at the pin. It settled 12 feet from the hole. My opponents' drive that went down the middle ended up against the lip of a bunker that cuts out into the middle of the fairway. So when I saw that, I knew it was over. He put his third shot about 15 ft from the hole, and his putt for birdie came up short. I needed 2 putts to finally win the match. I ran the putt off the left lip, and left a tap in for birdie and the win. I tallied my shots up afterwards, and I shot a 74. My new career best by 4 shots. This is the kind of golf I've known I'm capable of. I just gotta start doin it!

I felt like I had won the US Open playoff against Tiger. I wanted to throw my arms in the air and absorb the crowd energy. My opponent was very gracious, and he congratulated me on my win and told me to go on and win the tournament. We had a long drive back to the clubhouse as the sun went down, and the entire time we just talked about how cool the match was. That was definitely the most fun I've had in my competitive golf career. So my next match is next Tuesday, and I'm not sure who I'm playing or where it's at. I'm playing at a course called The Witch tomorrow, and all I've heard is that it's built on a swamp. One of my friends, who is a 7 hdcp, thinks he can beat me tomorrow, so we're gonna have our own little match play. It's supposed be cold and windy, so hopefully it won't be too miserable out.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The new addition to the apartment

I went to one of my friends' houses a few weeks ago, and I noted how it's nice being somewhere with furniture, because I have none. So he made a comment that I could buy his futon cuz he never uses it. Well, after a few weeks of negotiations, we reached an agreement and we dragged it over here yesterday afternoon. It's a lot more comfy than it looks, and I slept on it last night, so I'm happy with this investment.

Since I had my phone out taking a pitcure of the futon, I figured I'd just take a couple more to give a better idea of what I live with everyday. Here is my kitchen. There's a tiny wall on the right, and that's where the futon is. The card table is on the close left. Washer and dryer all the way in the back. Adam, note that I have your Torrey Pines scorecards and yardage book posted on my cabinets (you can only see the one on the left, though). The friend who I bought the futon from was pretty excited when he saw those scorecards.

And I decided to snap of a picture out one of the windows. Those huge trees in the background are hiding the second hole on the Lakes 9 of the Arrowhead course I live on. I also have the second hole on the Waterway 9 of Arrowhead behind me on the other side, but it's raining so I didnt wanna walk outside and take a picture of that.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My near hole-in-one

I was playing my practice round yesterday at the course I live on, Arrowhead, when I hit a most exciting shot. It's the same hole I had to hit a 3 wood on last semester, because it was playing directly into a 30 mph wind and the tees were all the way back. But yesterday the tees were up and it was just a perfect day for golf with no wind. It was playing about 140 yds, and the pin was cut on the left front side of the green. I took out a pitching wedge and let her rip. It had a nice right to left flight patter, and it landed 2 feet right of the hole and rolled to the left towards the hole. From my vantage point I thought it was going in. I even had my hands up in anticipation. But once we got to the green, it was about a foot away from perfection. I snapped a picture of the moment on my phone and I figured out how to get it on my computer so I thought I'd share it with everyone. I played pretty solid from this point on. I shot 81.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm getting bad at keeping this thing updated

I figured I've waited long enough to make another post. I've actually been somewhat busy so far this semester.

Classes are fine. I have a B and the rest A's in every class. I've given 4 speeches in speech class so far, today being the most recent. I'm definitely a lot better at public speaking than I give myself credit for. Calligraphy class is harder than I thought it would be. It really is an art. If you don't hold the tip at the correct angle, everything is wrong. If you use your wrist too much instead of "pulling" your arm, everything is wrong. Spacing needs to be just right, letter height needs to match, etc. But I'm holding an A so far, so I'm doing something right.

I think I'm enjoying Short Game 2 the most. Our textbook is Dave Pelz's Short Game Bible. Dave Pelz used to be a rocket scientist, and now he spends his time conducting research into the game of golf. He came up with his own, scientific way of playing the game to the best of your ability, and this book is extremely helpful. He teaches what is called the 3 by 4 system. It's 3 different backswing lengths with 4 different wedges that will give you 12 different consistent yardages inside 100 yds. He has found through his research that the biggest mistake golfers make inside 100 yds isn't being off-target, it's hitting the ball too short or too far. So basically we go to the range and practice these backswing lengths with our wedges and we hit into a grid so we see exactly how far each shot is going. After practicing for a while, the yardages become very consistent. I even got to use it yesterday in my tournament, and I was exactly pin high.

I've played in two tournaments so far. The first one resulted in a 6th place finish and some valuable order of merit points and some money. I shot 86. Yesterday, I played a course I'd never played before calling Burning Ridge. It's extremely nice. This tournament was the Match Play Qualifier, the top 16 finishers from each Tour advance into the Match Play like I did last semester. I had tons of confidence going into the round, but I didn't play all that well. But I did hit 2 of the best shots of my life. The first hole, I duffed my tee shot like 150 yds. I was pretty mad at myself. I was in the trees, and I couldn't see the green. So I grabbed my 6 iron and hit a beautiful punch shot through the trees and about 2 yds short of the green. I chipped up to a few inches and had a tap in for par. I was happy with par after that tee shot. But the best shots came on the next hole. I hit a gorgeous high draw with my 3 wood off the tee and split the fairway. I had 180 yds to a pin tucked behind a bunker. I took dead aim and just took a smooth swing. The ball never left the flag. The bunker was hiding the bottom few feet of the flag, so I didnt know how good my shot was till I got to the green. It was 18 inches from the hole. Tap in birdie. What made that shot even sweeter was that one of my obnoxious playing partners hit his shot to 6 feet right before I hit mine. He ended up with par and I with birdie. Take that. I ended up shooting 87, and that was good enough for 9th place, so I qualified for the Match Play.

I had a lesson last Thursday, and I was concerned about my low ball flight. One look in the simulator told me everything I needed to know. I had all my weight on my left side. So now that I have my weight on my right side at address, I am hitting the ball much higher and more consistent. I have also been spending lots of time at the short game area of our practice range. I just spend a few hours each day hitting shots from all sorts of yardages and lies, and it definitely paid off yesterday.

I have a tee time here at the golf course I live on in an hour, so I better get ready. Lemme know if I left anything out.