On the 8th and 9th of October, I played a 2 day Fairway Golf Tour event at Winstar Golf Club in Thackerville, Oklahoma. I had not played in a golf tournament since the 10th of September, so I was ready to get back into competition after nearly a month break. My game was feeling good from all the practice and prep leading in and I feel my performance was a step in the right direction as I head straight into my next two events.
Here is the breakdown of my experience at Winstar:
The first round was played on the Redbud course. I would consider this the easier side of Winstar, however, course conditions created a pretty tough test. The ground was VERY dry through the fairways and greens and unfortunately the greens were not consistent speeds or firmness. On many occasions, golf shots were landing close to pin high and bouncing off the green as if they had hit a cart path. Even with a wedge in hand it was hard to stop a ball quickly on the greens, so you had to play accordingly and try landing toward the front edge just to keep it on the surface.
During my practice and prep work leading into this tournament my game was in very good form. I arrived on the grounds a day early to play a practice round and during my warm up for the practice round I was feeling a little out of rhythm missing the ball right and left. I wasn’t worried about how things were feeling but I wanted to make sure my practice round time was used effectively and I was able to straighten things out before the first round.
As I was warming up for the first round of competition, I was feeling about the same as the practice round… missing my targets left and right on the driving range and not feeling much difference between the swings. There are a lot of variables in the game of golf so it is natural for things to look or feel a little different day to day. If I am going to see myself (and perform) as a professional golf player, it is my job to navigate all the variables and get the most out of my game every day. Challenge accepted.
I striped my tee shot off the first hole box and made a birdie. I continued steady play through the front 9 and found myself at even par after 10. I did not like the feel of my swing or any shots off the face, but I was managing my game as well as I could and hoping for some better scoring opportunities through the back 9. As the wind picked up in the late afternoon, I had trouble controlling the ball flight and found myself scrambling for par hole after hole. I was able to save a few but ultimately made 3 bogeys to shoot a first round 75. Ugh. (Stats for round 1 included 7/14 fairways, 12/18 greens, 3/6 up and downs, 33 total putts)
I walked off the course frustrated for two reasons. The first was that I shot 3 over par on a relatively easy golf course. The second was that I allowed myself to become frustrated during the course of play and I know that is never an effective state of mind for performance. I was frustrated that I got frustrated hahah! The second round needed to be better simply from the few variables I have control over. The results would take care of themselves.
As I was getting loose for my second round, I gave myself the swing thoughts of feeling free and athletic instead of trying to mechanically diagnose and manufacture a swing for the day. I started to hit the ball a little better and I was able to bring that flow to the course.
We played the Scissortail golf course for the second round. This side of Winstar is a little more challenging with tight tree lined holes and firm greens again (although these were not as firm as Redbud and rolled at a very consistent pace). I felt in a much better head space during this round. My swing was free, I was hitting the ball hard, much better level of trust, and I felt competitive. I wish I had put together a better scoring clinic during the second round but I wasn’t putting the ball in great position to score. I missed several greens and while I was able to make some great putts to save par, I made two double bogeys in the round from compounded mistakes and fired a 76. Ouch. (The second round included 8/14 fairways, 10/18 greens, 5/8 up and downs, and 28 total putts) My scores put me in 22nd out of the 56 man field and I did not earn a paycheck from my performance.
It cost $795 to enter this tournament. I played a practice round on one of the courses the day before that cost $55. Morgan and I towed our camper into town for the event and stayed in the Winstar Casino RV Park that sits behind the casino! It was fun to be so close to the golf course and the rv park was very nice. We were able to get a discount on our stay and paid a total of $80 for the 3 night stay.
As I move on from this event I have a quick turnaround before picking it back up in competition. We are headed to Louisiana to play the Fall series of the APT! I’m not pleased with my performance at Winstar. I know I am a better player than my results in competition have shown and I am determined and motivated to keep getting under the gun of tournaments to sort it out and chase my dream to the PGA Tour. I do have a few good things to take away from Winstar after a few good shots, putts, or feelings I was able to add to my experience bank.
I am very thankful for the opportunity God has given me in this game. I hope my efforts are not directed in self promotion, but bringing glory to His name through my whole career. Subscribe to this blog to see my latest posts and follow the rest of my content on Instagram!
Getting back to work!