Close but no Cigar

Close but no Cigar

I am back in Arizona for a week after coming up just short in Hawaii and finding myself 3 spots too far down the alternate list in San Francisco.

Traveling a long ways for a tournament can be tedious sometimes, but last week I wasn’t mad about heading to Hawaii! I played once at Oahu in college, but that was the only time and I was looking forward to some sandy beaches, a whole lot of snorkeling, and a little golf too. The past month I have been working hard on some technical aspects of my swing to improve my ball striking, and I am happy to report that it has paid off. My ball striking feels better than ever, with more solid contact and a more consistent ball flight. This was ideal for Hawaii where the wind was blowing extremely hard every day, and you needed to hit good shots to survive in the wind.

With so much attention going to the long game, unfortunately the short game and especially my putting has suffered. Normally I am a good putter, so before Hawaii I did not put enough energy in on the greens, thinking that it was one of my strong points. Last week however, I learned the hard way that I cannot abandon my putter completely.

In the first round, I hit a lot of good shots but made a couple of dumb bogeys, and the putts didn’t quite drop the way I would have hoped. I finished with a double after spending a little too much time in a green side bunker and missing a 5 footer, and could write down a 75 rather angrily. I knew however, that the mistakes could be avoided so I was still feeling good about the following day sitting just one shot outside the cut line.

The second round unfortunately did not deliver at all, and I can’t remember the last time I missed as many putts. My long game was really solid, I had a lot of good chances but literally nothing dropped. It was one of those days, when I just felt like the golf gods were conspiring against me. I got unlucky with a few bad lies, two shots I hit exactly as I wanted but ended up long due to a bad iron choice and a flyer out of the rough. And finally, I had 5 birdie chances within 7 feet, and not a single one of those dropped. I missed a 4 footer on 15 and when my 6 footer on 18 lipped out to get to even par, it seemed like the icing on the cake. So many good things in my game and still I ended up shooting 73 and missed the cut by 1 shot. Frustrating!

It was not the first time, and it won’t be the last time either, so all I can do is focus on all the good things in my game and keep looking forward. Saturday night we took a red eye flight from Hawaii to San Francisco, and not having seen the course before, it was a long day of traveling, napping, practicing, and playing. I was 3rd on the alternate list due to the many sponsor invites to the Swinging Skirts tournament, so I had to play in the Monday qualifier to get into the field.

Whether it was the busy schedule, jet lag, or whatever, I never quite found the groove in the local qualifier. I got it back to even par after another day of struggling with the putter, but a double bogey on my 16th hole sealed the deal and no chance I was getting in to the tournament. It was disappointing not to be playing good, and while I knew it would be a hard tournament to get into from the beginning, I had really set my hopes up, so I was sad not to be a part of it.

Monday after the round I flew home to Arizona where I have now spent the last few days working hard on the putting green. Not having done much technical maintenance, my bad habits have slowly crept in, and I feel really good about having these days to work on the short game. It is too bad I am not playing in San Francisco but looking at the bright side I am happy to be back home for a week and hopefully I will be ready with all aspects of the game when the tour stops in Texas next week. Every experience is one in which I learn, and the season is only just beginning.

As always thanks for following,