Web.com Monday Qualifier for Pinnacle Bank Championship 2017
Bent Tree Golf Club, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Tournament day: July 17, 2017
More about the tournament.
Tee time: 8:40 a.m.
Weather: 94 degrees, high humidity, low wind
I was ready to go. This was my first Web.com event in nearly a year. Made it to the course at 7 a.m. to take my time getting ready. I like to start my warmup routine about an hour ahead of my tee time. Recently I have been going to the range for about 30 minutes to get loose,and then head to the chipping/putting green to finish before hitting the first tee. Felt loose and comfortable.
Bent Tree Golf Club – My Front 9
10th hole: Second off the tee to start
This was my first hole. Per the Web.com tee sheet, I was second to go off the tee. I grab my driver and rip it right down the middle. I had 112 yards in on the par 4. Next out of the bag is my 55-degree wedge, which gets me just left of the pin about 15 feet from the flag. Putt for birdie and missed it. Par.
Video: Putt for birdie on my first hole. Missed on the right side.
11th hole: Another birdie opportunity
Hit a great drive on the par 4 and had 132 in. Grabbed a pitching wedge that hit past the pin 40 feet and spun back to about 20 feet left. Made a good putt and just missed it for birdie. Another par.
12th hole: Natural distractions
This is a par 5. Hit a perfect drive down the left side and had 225 yards to a center front pin placement. I grabbed my 4-iron and could not get comfortable over the ball and waggled a few more times than I normally do. I also had a fly go over my ball right as I was about to pull the trigger. Something that is out of your control on the course, but can definitely break your focus for a split second.
At this point, I’m focusing on positive swing thoughts – thinking about the 4-iron I hit on the left side of the green the day prior. While a good practice, this mental work took time and it was too long before I hit the ball. I blocked the shot out to the right near the hazard. We get up there and could not find the ball. Dropped hitting 4. It ends up left, just short of the green. Tried to chip it in for par, and my bogey putt stayed on the lip. It looked like it was going to fall in, but it did not. Double Bogey 7! Not a great start, but I did not let that bother me. I still had a chance.
Video: Swing on 12th hole – penalty shot lost to right
13th hole: Putting grip change-up
177 yards Par 3
I decided to hit my 8-iron, as you do not want to go long on this green. There is tall grass and a steep slope. Pin was back right. I hit a nice high ball and landed right of the flag about 15 feet pin high.
I hadn’t made any putts so far this round, so I decide to do something different: change up my putting grip. Placing my right hand pointer finger straight down the shaft of the putter, it was grip that I used as a kid. I was going back to my roots. I had been messing around with the grip in practice rounds, and it felt good.
And it worked. I hit the putt and it went right in the back of the hole.
Video: Putt on the 13th hole – after changing up my putting grip. Boom! Back of the hole.
Bent Tree Golf Club – My Back 9
Hole 1: Driver decisions
Fast-forward to my back nine. I was third to hit off the tee. I watch as both of my playing partners hit driver. For me this has not been a driver hole, but indecision creeps in. I know I needed to make a push. So I grab driver and made the worst driver swing of the past month. Glad there’s no video of this one! The ball came out low and left and ended up in the tall grass.
Luckily the Marshall found the ball. It was not a good lie at all. I grab my pitching wedge, just trying to get it back in play. Hit the ball and it goes about 20 yards, staying in the long grass. Another terrible lie. I could only try to advance the ball close to the green. Got it out and left myself with a 40-yard chip. Left the putt about 30 feet short. I got up to the putt, with my new putter grip… and drained it in the back for an “all world” bogey.
Holes 2-9: Highs and lows
I miss the next two birdie putts on holes 2 and 3.
Made a good birdie on the par 5 4th.
Had a good chance on the Par 3 5th, but just missed.
Made a long 50-footer that hit the back so hard and dropped straight down on number 6.
And just missed an eagle on number 9, made birdie though.
Finished with 1 over 73. Upset, but also happy with how I battled. My wife, Mary, was out there during the round and said she could see how much I wanted it. So, I definitely need to relax a little more and try to approach major tournaments more like just another round. Will definitely be working more on the mental golf game.
Off to Aberdeen, SD for the 26th Annual Western Corporate Image Pro-AM. 6.5 hour drive ahead of us tomorrow.