I just went back and read a bit of my blog from last time and realized that it was probably the most depressing birthday blog ever written. I should probably go and re-celebrate my 23rd birthday. However, as all golfers know, your game can change quickly. I am happy to report that the latter half of my 4-week August stretch was much more successful than the first. I went from the east coast of Canada to the west coast of the U.S. and found success in each place in a very different way. Thank God, because I know that you didn’t want to read another sad blog and I didn’t want to have to write it.
So I headed north to Ontario for the Canadian Open after possibly my worst ball striking week all year at Wegman’s. As I stated last week, I had two real goals: stay postivie, and spend enough time on the range so that my swing might come back to me. Well, I think I did both pretty well. After 4 very solid days and a final round 66, I finished the Canadian Open in T5 and earned my biggest pay day of the year. I couldn’t believe it. How could such a good week follow such a crummy week? Well, I would boil it down to two specific things:
1.) I have a coach that has built my swing for nearly two decades and thus knows what drills and advice I need without even being there to see it. If I tell him ball flight patterns and how it feels, he’s likely going to have a solution. He is also patient enough to put up with my never ending stream of emails/texts/swing videos. Not that I was in a panick or anything. :) How did people play on tour before internet and iPhones?
2.) A couple weeks ago when I was struggling I decided to dive back into working really hard on my mental game. This is something I did my junior year of college and saw great results. Funny how we slowly work away from things that are beneficial to us. Long story short, I committed to having a specific “playing focus” every day in Canada. While I could write a novel trying to explain how the golfer’s mind works under pressure during a tournament, I’m going to sum it up with the three simple thoughts I had on the course. For my driver, I only thought about the pressure in my feet. For my irons, I only thought about taking the club away from the ball with a square face. For my putting, I made sure I had a very relaxed jaw. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is simple, but it also takes a lot of concentration and constant self-reminders to come back to the “playing focus” for EVERY single shot and to stop your mind from wandering. It is something that took my full commitment, but I knew that I needed that little something extra for me to break thru to another level so I gave it my full attention.
After Canada I came back across the border and flew from Detroit to Portland. After nearly seven hours in the air (via Phoenix) I felt like I had just flown half-way across the world. Wow! Three weeks on the road was catching up to me. To make matters worse, the little over achiever in me signed up for an extra Tuesday pro-am on top of the regular Wednesday pro-am. I can tell you my caddie was super stoked to be carrying the bag 36 Tuesday, 18 Wednesday, and 4 straight tournament days. Everything always sounds better on paper than in real life.
I made it thru the pro-ams and practice days and was feeling pretty good going into Thursday coming off a hot week in Canada. It could have been the high I was on after visiting the Nike Company Store and getting a 50 percent discount on everything, but I really think it was more the good play in Canada. ;) 12 hours later, after an opening 75, I no longer felt so hot. I let the course scare me and didn’t stick to my playing focus. I walked off the course Thursday and went home to see what flights were available to Sioux Falls on Saturday.
Nonetheless, I went out on Friday with a better playing focus in mind and knew that 3 or 4 under was definitely out there for me. Even with a bogey on the 18th, I made the cut by one. I have to say, coming back from +3 to make the cut felt nearly as good as finishing T5 at the Canadian Open. At the beginning of the season I would not have believed in myself enough to do that, and thus I probably wouldn’t have. Those small victories are equally as important as the big ones. That was my first consecutive cut made since Hawaii/Dallas and a solid 7 under on the weekend. Portland was good to me.
As most of you have probably figured out, I will now head to the Evian Masters in France (Yeah!!) and then play the final domestic event of the year in Alabama the following week. I have also now secured a spot to play in the Asian swing this fall. That was probably my biggest goal after jumping up to the LPGA so I’m very excited for that. Not excited for all that Asian food, but excited to be playing. I will be on the peanut butter and pretzel diet for 4 weeks.
Finally, before I go I need to send my condolences to the Amundson family. During my layover in Phoenix last week, I heard the terrible news that Mark Amundson, CEO of Sutton Bay, had tragically passed away. Mark was the first person in my young career to really step up and sponsor me and I will be forever grateful. Many people say they want to help, but Mark really did. I know he believed in me as a player, but more importantly he just wanted to help me enjoy the opportunity I was given to play. He will be greatly missed by all.
Fellow Red Raider student athlete, Sandra Dynka, just so happened to work in London where the event was! So fun to see a familiar face and college friend. :)
Sandra took me out on Wednesday night for a Canadian tradition. It’s called “Poutine” and consists of french fries covered in cheese curds covered in gravy. The dinner of champions, obviously. haha. It was pretty tasty!
#15 at Columbia Edgewater CC in Portland. If you’re really into massive trees, this is the place for you.