I left off last in the cornfields of Decatur, IL. I felt like I played fairly well that week but just didn’t see everything come together at once. I did birdie my 36th hole knowing that I needed it to make the cut, and that always tends to make a not-so-good week feel better. I shot 75-72-72 and finished T-44th.
My best finish to date on the Symetra Tour came the next week in South Bend, IN. I shot steady rounds of 70-69-69 to finish T-5th! My ball striking was awesome- I hit 83 percent of greens in regulation and kept the small mistakes that had been plaguing me around the greens to a minimum. I also made progress mentally. My group was put on the clock in both the first and second rounds, which in the past would cause me to rush and lose focus. In South Bend, I learned from those mistakes and trusted that my routine was under allotted time. I stayed steady and let the other (slow) players be the ones to speed up. All weekend, I practiced what I have been preaching about focusing on process and actually lived the “one shot at a time” cliché. Turns out it works… who knew!? I left South Bend knowing I had played great but that I definitely had it in me to go four strokes lower and win the thing.
We finished the Midwest swing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I could walk from my hotel room in the Island Resort & Casino to the first tee of the Sweetgrass Golf Course and even stop for a pull on a slot machine on the way down! Sweetgrass GC is great layout, and the dry, windy conditions usually keep things interesting. I battled to shoot a 72 in the first round without feeling like my swing was all the way there. The conditions were far tougher the second day, and my ball striking was worse- not an ideal combination. I shot 77 but only dropped to 33rd place. I sent a swing video to my coach and worked things out on the range before teeing it up Sunday morning. The wind was strong enough that my final round of even par bumped me up to T-16th. I believe walking away with a top-20 finish from a tournament where I never felt “on” speaks to the improvements I have made to my technique and mental game in the last year.
The end of Harris marked the beginning of a three-week break in the tour schedule. I started the break by visiting good college friend Natalie Hansen for a few days at her family’s home north of Milwaukee. I then drove my car around the south side of Lake Michigan (completing my 360 degree tour of the lake) and left it at tour friend Laura Kueny’s house in Whitehall. I flew to Idahome for an awesome 4th of July in McCall and two weeks in Boise. I practiced hot yoga, played Hillcrest, enjoyed my mom’s home cooking, and caught up with lots of friends and investors. I then made a quick 48-hour trip to Phoenix for some fine-tuning with my coaches before flying back to Michigan to pick up my car and drive to Albany. If any of you need a domestic travel agent, you know whom to call.
My focus for the next month is process. If I sound like a broken record here, then I am doing it right. The ultimate goal is to nab a win (or two) in the final seven events and jump up the money list from 35th to top-10. However, the only way to get there is to move those thoughts to the back of my mind and my daily commitments to the front. I am focused on accomplishing specific weekly goals in the gym, having efficient and productive practice at the course, and improving my pre-shot and post-shot routines. I will take care of all the little controllable pieces day by day and let the results come as they may.
I'll be starting my first round here in Albany tomorrow at 8:40 EST. I took home the first place prize with my pro-am team this week and hit a trifecta at the Saratoga horse races this afternoon, so I am already chalked full of good vibes! After Albany, we play Syracuse, Manchester, and Richmond. As always, you can follow along with live scoring at www.symetrascoring.com.
And finally, I spoke in my last blog about finding a past time in which to immerse myself as an escape from golf. I haven’t yet become a world-class knitter or learned to paint, but I did do a lot of cool stuff over the last six weeks. I have decided that I am not ready to settle on one single hobby when I can do or see something different in every new town all summer long. I will let my pictures from the last month tell the rest of the story.