Chasing my dreams one shot at a time
Since I left off last, I have played six more events in five different states and Mexico. It has been a rollercoaster.
I missed the cut in Albany, but bounced back with a 5th place finish the very next week in Milwaukee. I was happy with the resilience I showed after struggling so badly with my putter in New York. A lot of time on the practice putting green in Milwaukee coupled with the smooth, lightning fast greens of Brown Deer Park GC worked in my favor. A final round of -1 on a windy day at one of the hardest tracks we played all year earned the much-needed top five finish.
After Wisconsin, I had one week off spent relaxing and practicing in Boise. I then flew from Boise to Boston for the W.B. Mason Championship. The week in Boston started off with some tough news- my caddy of the last year and a half, Wayne, could not make it to the event due to issues with his Canadian visa. In fact, he is officially unable to work with me in the United States for the rest of the year. Wayne has been an incredible teammate and has played a key role in my success and development as a player over the last two seasons, so his presence is missed.
Packing my own bag, I fired rounds of 71-72-69 (-1) to finish T-23rd in Boston. I played decent, but just never got anything great going in order to move up the leaderboard.
I travelled from Boston to Mesa and spent the first half of a two-week break in the Symetra schedule practicing back in the desert. I got in some tough workouts at Exos, worked on my swing with Mike Pinkey, and did a ton of on-course practice at Alta Mesa. Once you adjust to the 100º plus temperatures, it is actually really fun to have a deserted golf course all to yourself.
The next stop was Monterrey, Mexico for the inaugural IGPM Golf Classic. This was a non-Symetra Tour, 35-player, invitation only event put on by the group that sponsors the Mexican professional golfers. I cannot speak highly enough of my experience in Monterrey. Our hotel rooms were comped, sightseeing activities were planned for each afternoon, food and service was top notch everywhere we went, and the tournament was run impeccably. We played at the beautiful Club de Golf La Herradura for three rounds; a twisting, turning mountain track with challenging tee shots and elevation changes on almost every shot. I had so much fun conversing in a combination of broken Spanish and charades with my local caddy, Lupe. After opening rounds of 69-72, I was only one shot out of the lead going into the final day. I was surprised by the amount of nerves I felt the morning of the third round. I birdied my first hole, but the tension got to me soon thereafter. On the fifth hole, I missed my first fairway of the week by 30 yards in a hazard and walked away with a triple. I ended up shooting 74 and finishing 5th.
As disappointing as that finish was, I am grateful to have had another opportunity to play in contention. Nerves are a funny thing. There is an important distinction between nervous excitement and nervous fear. When I won in Battle Creek, I was feeling nervous excitement. When I lost in Mexico, I felt nervous fear. I was afraid of how I might mess up on the greens that day. They were very slow and bumpy, and I didn’t have confidence in the way I had changed the rhythm of my stroke during the week in order to adjust to the speed. I was more focused on what might go wrong than what I wanted to go right- a poisonous way to think in golf and in life.
Back on the Symetra Tour the next week in Sioux Falls, SD, I missed the cut by one shot with scores of 75-71 (+4). The GreatLife Challenge boasted the biggest purse size of the year at $210,000, so this MC stung more than most. I was playing with what I would consider my B game, which is typically sufficient to make the cut, except I started off the tournament by building a snowman (8) on my very first hole. That triple put me in a position where I needed to make a comeback, and I just didn’t have the game to do so that week.
The next stop was a few hours southwest in Mayetta, Kansas. I had a fantastic second round of 67….bookended by two 75s for a T-33rd finish. Again, I played a lot of good golf, but a few bad holes dampened the overall result.
You might be noticing a theme here. Big numbers. Poor putting. Bad starts. There is no doubt the end of the season has been weighing on me. I have been making every effort to shift my focus to what I can control on a day-to-day, shot-to-shot basis, and I know this has helped me some. However, it just isn’t like me to feel anxious over four-footers and take a triple every week. I want to feel nervous- that means I am pushing my limits and testing myself. I just need to make sure I feel that nervous excitement, not the nervous fear.
I have nothing to be afraid of in these final five weeks of the season. For starters, I am only chasing a little white ball around fields in America- quite possibly the safest place to be in a world plagued by terror. I have health, a (different) roof over my head every night, and I work every day at something I truly love. Most importantly, I am surrounded by family and friends who love me for who I am as a person, not who I am as a golfer. That is what matters in life, and no number I shoot can change that. LPGA card or no LPGA card, I have an incredible life full of meaningful relationships. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to every single person who is a part of that.
During this next stretch of golf, I will be chasing the nervous excitement and leaving the nervous fear behind. It is a fearless attitude and tireless work ethic that has gotten me this far, and that’s what I plan on using to take me to the next level. No excuses. No self-abuse. Just golfing my ball with everything I’ve got.
We play: Garden City, KS this weekend; El Dorado, AR next weekend; skip a week; Longwood, FL; then finish in Daytona Beach. Follow every step at www.SymetraScoring.com.
An inside look at my journey in professional golf
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