Revenge in Illinois

Score board Decatur

Last week the score finally seemed to match my game as I finished third in a score of 7 under par in Decatur, Illinois.

After Indiana two weeks ago, the tour went on to Iowa for the Titan Tire Challenge. I stayed with some great people living right on the 16th hole, so I couldn’t complain about the commute to the course. After Indiana I felt pretty good about my game, and before the tournament I felt like I was actually swinging the club a lot better than in Indiana where I finished 10th so I was hopeful.

Even though the swing felt good, I couldn’t quite seem to get the score down though. After rounds of 76 and 73 I was in decent shape, and was ready to shot low on the final day. The wind was absolutely crazy, but despite it I was playing really well. I opened with 3 birdies on the first three holes, so got off to a good start! Then on the 9th hole I experienced something I have never seen before. Right as I reached impact with my driver, the ball fell off the tee (because of the high winds), and I just barely made contact with the ball. A double bogey followed and I felt slightly unlucky. From then on, I seemed to keep on taking bad breaks and I was extremely frustrated. I finished 5 over for the day in a round that should never have even been over par.

Coming off of that tournament I definitely felt due for a good tournament in Decatur, Illinois. Finishing all the way down on the 62nd spot in the last tournament, it probably seemed odd that I was feeling so good going into the Tate & Lyle Players Championship in Illinois, but never the less I was ready for my revenge. In the pro-am, the day before the tournament my group managed to take the victory as we were 15 under par in our scramble, so I kept feeling good about my game.

Friday it was go time. I played well and putted well but didn’t really make many birdies to begin with. It wasn’t until my back-9 that I all of a sudden got hot making 4 birdies in a row and finishing the round in 67 (-5), my lowest round so far this year. I was leading the tournament after day one, and it just felt so satisfying finally posting a good number. This spring I have struggled putting low numbers on the score board, and it has been a long and rough road, knowing that I have it in me, but haven’t been able to produce anything. So finally I had a good day and it put me all the way to the top of the leaderboard.

On the second day I had to get rid of a few nerves on the first couple of holes, but again on the front-9 I couldn’t quite get it together and was 2 over par. On the back-9 I redeemed myself with 4 birdies and finished 2 under for the day in the slightly windier conditions. After Saturdays round I found myself in a three way tie for first place in 7 under par, 4 shots down to the next group of followers.

It was exciting getting to play in that final group on Sunday and being in contention for the first time out on the Symetra Tour. I was mostly focusing on enjoying myself and taking it one shot at a time, but couldn’t quite get it all together on the final day. I didn’t make any birdies and late in the round I found myself fighting to stay in that third place by myself, as the two other girls were playing very well. Despite nothing quite falling for me, I kept fighting and with a birdie on the 15th hole and a round of even par, I managed to keep that third place by myself.

The winner of the tournament shot 66 on the final day, and I just couldn’t compete with that on the day, so considering how it all played out, I was extremely happy to finish in third. It is by far my best finish on tour and I also got to cash my biggest check of my career so far! It was a great way to end the three week stretch, and I definitely take away some valuable experience. I had two top-10 finishes in the three tournaments and moved from some 80th spot up to 17th on the money list. Now I have a week off and going to spend it at home in Maryland. In the past 10 weeks I have only been home for less than 3, so I am definitely due for some home time with Patrick. It also gives me a little to work more technically on my game and get ready for next week’s tournament in Michigan.