Chasing my dreams one shot at a time
Last week I played in the Florida's Natural Charity Classic in Winter Haven. Unfortunately, this was my worst performance to date. I shot 76-78 and missed the cut. This was obviously a disappointment, but I did take some good things away from the week.
For starters, my driver was straight. I was also accurate with my wedges. The high scores were a result of short game troubles. I consider my short game to be one of my strengths, so this was unusual for me. I believe failure to adjust to the thick Bermuda grass was a lot of the problem. Since I have at least four more events in Florida, I have plenty more opportunities to adapt to Bermuda and make it my friend over the next year.
The rest of the trip was really great. My swing instructor, Paul Weyland, is affiliated with David Leadbetter, so he sent me to see some people at the Leadbetter Academy at Champion's Gate in Orlando. I had a great lesson with an instructor there, and he has already helped me to improve my footwork. I also saw the Leadbetter strength coach a couple times. He identified my areas of weakness, gave me a great warm-up to do before each round, and showed me how to maintain mobility and stability throughout the long season.
After missing the cut, I spent Sunday watching the PGA Tour at Bay Hill. Some highlights from the day included witnessing Sergio climb 20 feet up in a tree to punch out (here is the Golf Channel video of the shot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10jORLiU7Ak), and seeing Tiger and Rickie's first two holes.
I am now back in Arizona prepping for my next tournament, a Cactus Tour event next Monday through Wednesday. This week I am all about short game, short game, short game!
I have all good things to report from the last two weeks of tournament golf!
My first Symetra tour event at Longbow GC here in Mesa was very successful. Not only was I relieved to find out I got into the tournament, I walked away with a top 10 finish. I shot rounds of 74-71-72 to place T-9th and earned $2,160. I was very pleased with my play that week. The golf course was set up difficult with hard, fast greens and tricky pin positions. The final day was about 55 degrees with 20 mph winds, so my 72 felt a lot lower. I was proud of how I stayed patient during the round and finished strong: I made an eagle on 15 and one putt-pars on 16, 17, and 18. Finishing in the top-10 in my very first event was a big accomplishment.
This past Monday through Wednesday I played in my third Cactus Tour event. I fired 72-71-71 at Wildfire GC in Scottsdale to finish T-9th (yes, again) out of 53 players. My check was $625. This was the biggest field in Cactus Tour event history. A lot of LPGA and Symetra tour women played because Wildifre is hosting the LPGA RR Donnelly Founder's Cup tournament next weekend. The Cactus Tour event was a good way for players to get some extra practice on the golf course. It was fun to see the grandstands and TV towers being set up around the course as we played and imagine them full of fans.
Something I loved about the last two events was having friends and family watch me play. My parents were able to see 5 out of my last 6 rounds, and Jody & Vickie Olson saw the entire tournament at Wildfire. Various friends from Idaho, Nebraska, and Mesa all made appearances throughout the last two events. It means so much to see supportive faces walking along the fairways- a BIG thank you to all of you who walked along!
To review my first 2 months as a professional golfer: I have finished 1st-8th-8th-9th, won $5,222.50, and averaged 72.33. Overall, I am pleased with this start. I am particularly happy with my consistency. Remaining consistent for 3 tournament days in a row is something I struggled with in college golf, so to now be able to stay consistent over the course of several months is something of which I am proud. I am continuing to work on my ability to make birdies (and lots of them). I think the key for me will be to stop trying so hard to make low numbers happen. My goal for the next month is to alter my mental approach so that I stroke birdie putts with the same confidence and determination I use on bogey putts.
Next up on my schedule is tomorrow's Monday qualifier for the LPGA event next weekend. There will be approximately 90 women playing for 2 spots... nothing like a good shootout! After that, I leave for Winter Haven, FL on March 18 for the next Symetra tour stop.
Finally, in case you missed it: Chadd Cripe from the Idaho Statesman wrote a great article about my start as a professional golfer. Check it out: Patience makes perfect for Boise professional golfer Sheils
An inside look at my journey in professional golf
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