I am happy to report that my game has seen great improvement. After enduring the brutal stretch of four missed cuts, I have now made the last three. My breakthrough came the last week of June in Harris, MI. I shot rounds of 71-74-73 on a difficult layout to finish T-11th. This was a really big week for me. I had been waiting patiently for my hard work to start showing results, and this was the week that everything finally came together. I let go of all mechanical thoughts and focused solely on the rhythm of my swing for three days. I felt free, relaxed, and confident, and was able to post some solid scores on three very windy days... It is days like those when I am so grateful for my Nebraska wind education.
The Symetra Tour was off the next week, so I spent the 4th of July with a close friend from college, Natalie Hansen, in her hometown of Germantown, WI. My week in Wisconsin with the Hansen family was the perfect respite from tour life. It was so much fun to catch up with her and spend time relaxing with her family. I also had the opportunity to play Erin Hills (site of the 2017 US Open), which was only 15 minutes from their house. This was an amazing links style golf course, certainly the best I have ever played. I would highly recommend anyone traveling through that part of the country should stop and play. On a side note, I was in Wisconsin when I received a very exciting phone call from my sister that she and her boyfriend Scott got engaged. It was a happy moment for our whole family, and I could not be more thrilled for them!
At the end of the week, I packed up my car again and headed east. Fourteen hours and a lot of toll roads later, I was in Albany, NY. The tournament housing director was running short on host families for the week, so they offered us a local college's dormitories as a cheap alternative to hotel. Ah, the glamour of professional golf. When I told this to one of my pro-am partners on Wednesday, he absolutely insisted that my travel companion, Caitlin McCleary, and I stay with his family instead. Caitlin and I were thrilled to leave the rocky dorm beds behind and head to the Heath's house. John, Karin, Danielle & Kiera Heath were a great family. I am continually floored by the generosity of the people we encounter at each tournament site. John Heath's invitation turned the stay in Albany from mediocre to awesome (and probably saved me a trip to the chiropractor). My host family in Concord, the Boltons, were also wonderful. It is amazing how these families can take the edge off of the nomadic life with their open doors and home-cooked meals. I feel blessed to have met all these kind people across the country.
I felt good about my play in Albany. A 4-hole bogey train in the middle of my first round cost me a chance at a top-10, but I recovered from the (+4) 75 with a 70 on Saturday. I then shot my best final round of the year, a (-2) 69 to finish T-37th. I kept up the solid play the following week in Concord, NH as well. I shot 73-70-73 for a T-31st finish. While these rounds are certainly not my best golf, I am pleased with my consistency. I have regained control of my emotions on the golf course and am playing with more confidence each week. I attribute this progress to the "soul-searching" I had to do after my poor play in May and June and to the increased level of comfort I get from each additional week on tour. I am sure that my best golf is yet to come, and I know the winner's circle is within my reach. I am currently 56th on the money list with five tournaments left to play. One great week can change things dramatically, so I am heading into the last third of the season on the prowl.
In my downtime, I have had some great adventures exploring the Northeast. Between Albany and Concord, Caitlin and I took a leisurely drive through Vermont and stopped at some scenic lookouts. We spent the next day sightseeing around Boston with three friends and practicing our Bawstan accents ("We had some chowdah near da hawbah and it was wicked good"). This past Monday, we drove to York Beach, Maine to dip our toes in the Atlantic Ocean and shop around the quaint beach town. I always try to taste the local cuisine at each stop. I had cheese curds and brats in Wisconsin, clam chowder in Boston, a lobster roll and saltwater taffy in Maine, Tim Horton's coffee in Buffalo, and lunch at Wegman's in Syracuse. My new favorite hobby is definitely "travel eating."
This is the last week of the Northeast swing. I tee off here in Syracuse, NY at 1:00 EST Friday. My golf game feels good and I have great vibes going into this weekend. I will then take a much-needed trip back to Boise for the week off before events in Florida and Virginia. Thank you all, again, for the support and encouragement!