I haven’t been updating my blog or social media in a while. It has been a nice break because it can feel like a lot to keep up with at times, but I also feel like I am slacking off and not fulfilling a mission God has laid before me. The life-style my wife and I are able to live is too cool to not share. God has given us amazing opportunity and we want to glorify Him through good stewardship, hard work, and a desire to inspire other people to chase their biggest dreams.
During the month of May, I had a few weeks off of tournament golf. I spent a week at the PGA Championship in Tulsa, OK, and didn’t touch my clubs for about 10 days. After a great dose of motivation from watching the major, I got back to the game and seemed to be firing on all cylinders. I was invited to play a member guest event at Twin Hills in Oklahoma City (a course I have very little experience on). This was the first day touching my clubs again and I shot 3 under par bogey free. The next day I went out to The Golf Club of Edmond and was 5 under par through 10 holes. Feeling good. Getting excited about the upcoming tournaments.
On June 5th, I teed it up in a handicap event out at Oaktree Country Club (east course) in Edmond, OK. I have a ton of experience on this course from college and I was ready to play. Ready to pick up where I had left off in practice. Unfortunately, I did’t trust my game and ended up scrambling around the course to a 78… I was very disappointed in this performance and felt a little slap in the face from this result after my preparation had been so sharp.
On June 13th, I played in a Monday qualifier in Newton, KS (Sand Creek Station) for the Korn Ferry Tour’s Wichita Open. Morgan and I hit the road and parked the camper up in Kansas with a full week to prepare for this round. It was my first Monday Q for the Korn Ferry (I had only played these qualifiers for the PGA Tour before) and with a week of prep on the qualifying grounds, I knew my game was ready. On the first hole, I nervously 3 putted my way to a bogey start. I let the nerves get to me on the greens and even leak into the longer game. I barely trusted a single swing for the rest of the round and shot 84 finishing second to last in the whole field…ouch. I felt a pretty good knock to my confidence as I walked away from that round.
My next events on the schedule were in South Dakota, so we headed north from Kansas and arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on June 15th. I had mixed feelings about the upcoming tournaments which was weird. I was excited to tee it up again because I love playing golf and I was also excited to play on the Dakotas Tour for the first time, BUT I was also a little hesitant and unsure where my game was at based on the last 2 events. I have been struggling with trust and expectations and the results have been far from where I know they can be. I decided to make a stronger effort to focus more on the process of each shot instead of getting wrapped up in the results and tying my self worth to the number posted on the board.
The first event in South Dakota gave me the feeling I was on the right track. We played at Bakkers Crossing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota from the 17th to the 19th. I got off to a rocky start in round 1. My ball striking was good, but as soon as I stepped up on the green I was a very different player. My heart rate was up, my hands were shaking, and I could not get comfortable over the putter. I was 3 over through the first 4 holes. I am not sure why I got so uncomfortable on the greens, but I knew it came from a lack of trust. I also knew I needed to figure out something that would work to not blow the tournament in round 1. I was able to relax a little bit and trust my putting just enough to pull my round together and finish with a 1 under par 70. My game needed a little work (putting especially) but I was proud of the comeback and felt a little more confident because I had centered my focus more on the things I can control and not on the results.
I was hoping to pick up where I left off as we got into the second round. As I addressed my putt to save par on the first hole, I felt like a deer in the headlights. I was uncomfortable x2. I knew there would be some added nerves on the day because my first round put me in the top 15 on the leaderboard and I wanted to at least hold that spot if not move up the board, but I was feeling way more than just nerves. My hands were shaking so violently with my putter I could see the putter face moving and I had no idea where it was going to be pointed at impact. 4 over through 4…yikes. A lot of self talk helped me keep some perspective on what I was doing and even though I struggled on the greens for the rest of the round, I would finish with a 3 over par 74. The real kicker was after I posted the score when I realized I was tied for 25th and would miss the cut by 1 shot. I 3 putted 4 times during the round and even 4 putted one of the early holes. It was SO easy to think of shots that didn’t need to happen on the greens that would have kept me within the cut line and missing by only one shot after this round made it hard to swallow. But I couldn’t change anything about it and knew once I was able to process the day and reflect on my performance there would be some great things to take away as well as a great sense of peace that this is God's plan and I have no reason to worry.
The second event in was in Yankton, South Dakota. A small quiet town during the week, but a popular lake town on the weekends. The tournament was played at Fox Run. I wish I had a lot of great things to say about my performance in this event, but this tournament was a step in the wrong direction. 75 80 would put me several shots outside of the cut line. As I reflected on this performance, I had trouble seeing a lot of positives and it was very frustrating to once again hold myself back from playing good golf. I needed to refocus and remember there are only a couple of things I can control as I play golf.
The third and final tournament for this South Dakota trip was at a course called Central Valley in Hartford, South Dakota. It was a short course with a lot of trees, hazards, and out of bounds. I knew the course presented a lot of birdie opportunities if you could keep the ball in play, so I expected the scores to be low. My first round was a little up and down. I got off to a steady start, but I wasn’t taking advantage of scorable holes. A late run of 4 birdies in the last 5 holes got me to a 3 under par 69. I was happy with how I finished that round and felt I was in good position on the board to fight my way above the cut line.. God would have other plans. I was a little nervous starting the second round, but I loved the energy. I started the round with beautiful golf making birdies on 1,3, and 4. My momentum changed and I let a few bogeys slip over the next holes but regained my position with birdies on 10 and 11 getting to 6 under par for the event. Then I teed off on #12. A straight par four reaching about 430 yds in length. The wind was blowing a little left to right, so I set up on the right side of the box to hit my patent cut shot down the middle. The ball started down the left half of the fairway. It started to cut back right and landed on the line marking the right edge of the fairway and the rough. Not a bad spot. Unfortunately, it hit something HARD taking a 90* bounce directly to the right and sailing out of bounds. I would re-tee, finding the fairway with my third shot and proceed to shank the 8 iron I was using for my approach. That ball bounced around in the top of a tree on the right side and would eventually fall out and roll across the out of bounds line. I walked off the #12 green with a quadruple bogey. As I reflect on my first tee shot, I was fully committed to the shot and made a good swing. That's all I had control to do. I tried to move on and play the rest of the round well, believing I still had a chance to make the cut. I birdied the 18th hole to shoot 1 over par on the day, end up at 2 under par for the tournament and miss the cut by two shots.
3 tournaments in South Dakota. 3 missed cuts. Professional golf is very difficult.
Since the trip up north, Morgan and I have spent some time in Houston, Waco, and now Edmond, Oklahoma. I played a single round tournament in Arlington, TX on our way down to Houston (It was a handicap event held at the Texas Rangers golf course. I shot 1 under par and finished one shot out of the money), but I have mainly spent my golf time in practice and training over the last few 3 weeks as I prepare for my next run of events.
This coming Saturday, I will be playing an 18 hole handicap event somewhere in Oklahoma (the tour has not yet posted which course). This will provide some quick feedback on my game before we hit the road for the mini tours again. On August 8th, we will be headed back up north to play 3 of the last 4 events on the Dakotas tour taking place in Sioux Falls, SD, Minot, ND, and Fargo, ND. I am very excited to tee it up in competition again and I am ready to put my game to the test. I am also planning on documenting tournament to tournament through this blog and social media, so stay tuned! God is so good, and even through my struggle on the course recently, I want to share my story and the experiences He has brought me through to hopefully inspire you and glorify Him! Check out my Instagram and subscribe to this blog to see my latest posts!