Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hope Everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Sorry for the delay between posts here, I dropped the ball a bit. But I took a pair of weeks off after Q-School and was home for a bit. Not a whole lot to tell. Now I've moved back out to Scottsdale and have been here for almost 3 weeks. I've had a couple of my best range sessions of the year this last week, and have been playing well. Fired a 67 today playing out at the Golf Club Scottsdale. Unfortunately, my membership there runs out January 5th so I'll be looking to for another option most likely. I'm super excited for 2011 though, and the adjustments I've made to the swing really feel like the right move. I'll be playing the Gateway Tour when that starts up in January, and will play out here at least through mid-March. Then I'll most likely take off for the east coast and follow the Nationwide Tour for a couple weeks and try some Monday qualifiers. The weather out here has been beautiful and I went for a swim on Christmas day... mostly just to say that I did. I'll be headed back to Milwaukee for a couple days around New Years, and then I'll be meeting up with my dad back out here in Scottsdale for a really fun event called the Desert Marlin. It's one pro and one am. Last year we played with Chez Reavie the first day and Andrew McGee the second. My dad has been playing well all year, so we've got some higher expectations than last year, when we were both in the midst of taking some time off. Besides the week that I mentioned, I've been keeping the game going and not really taking any extended time off. My game has definitely been making progress and I'm looking forward to getting back into tournament golf. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and may 2011 be better than 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Turning a Corner

First Stage may not have ended as I would have liked, but much progress has been made since that point. I took my video from Reynolds Plantation home and went over it with Joe B. We picked out a couple things and I've been working on them ever since. I've been down in Orlando now for two weeks and I played a pair of Hooters Tour events. I shot 1 under in the first one and missed the cut by one shot. I made the cut in the second event and finished in 35th at 3 under. I'm by far hitting it the best I have all year, and I know what's going wrong with my misses, which are much less drastic now. I've also gotten rid of the ball that starts out right and moving left to right, which was one of the big problems this year because I couldn't take one side of the course out of play with that miss. But things are really moving in a good direction and I'm working on the right stuff. I've got one more Hooters Tour event starting next Tuesday before I return home to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving before heading out to Scottsdale for the winter.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Straight up bad luck

I was second off on day 2, and thought it would be a big advantage. Boy was I wrong. It was cold, windy, with a steady rain for my first 8 holes. I played tough but couldn't make the 6-10 footers for par I was having. A couple of the late groups didn't even have rain, but that's the luck of the draw. The tough conditions led to a 40 on my opening nine, and it didn't get much better as I dug myself a nice sized hole at 77.

Day 3 was much better. I played really solid and opened with birdies on the first two par 5's to get me to 2 under. A pulled 5-iron into a hazard led to a bogey on 15, but I sank a 20 footer on 17 to get back to 2 under. A had some nice up and downs on 18 and then on 2, and followed them up with a great 20 foot birdie putt on 5 to get me to 3 under, heading to the reachable par 5, 6th. I ripped a drive down the left side of the slight dogleg left. There are a couple trees just off the fairway that guard the corner a bit. My ball didn't quite carry them and we hear a loud thwack. Something falls straight down, figured it was the ball. We get up there and there's nothing. We look everywhere for the 5 alotted minutes, but the ball simply disappeared after hitting the pine tree apparently. I had to go back to the tee, and wind up making a double bogey to drop me back to 1 under. I finish with 3 pars to shoot 70. If we just find the ball, that's 2, maybe 3 strokes right there. The 8 the first day happened due to a poor drive, but this drive wasn't that bad, it was a missed tree away from being just about perfect. A birdie there to get to 4 under would have me in prime position heading into tomorrow. Now I need to make something happen, which I'm certainly capable of doing. I just need to give myself as many opportunities as I can and take advantage.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 1 at First Stage

Fired an even-par 71 in the first round, which has me tied for 27th. The top-23 spots and ties advance out of this First Stage Site. I played pretty solid today, with one ouchie. 7 Fairways, 13 Greens, 28 putts, 1 for 1 sand saves. Here are the highlights and lowlights from the round...

-Good start on number one, 2-iron down middle of fairway, pitching wedge to 4 foot, made it for birdie, -1
-Hit the next 3 greens, made pars
-The 5th hole is a driveable par-4, which I can reach with 3-wood. However, the pin was tucked in a spot today, where if I didn't knock it on the green I'd have an extremely difficult up and down. I layed up with a 5-iron and hit a lob wedge to 4 feet and made it for birdie, -2
-Pull-hooked my next two drives, but made scrambling pars.
-Drained a 30-footer for birdie on the difficult par 3, 8th, -3
- Disaster strikes. After those bad hooks on 6 and 7, i decide to hit 3-wood on 9. I hook it into some trees, it kicks into the water. I have to drop in the trees, and with my 3rd shot, I hit a tree and it bounces back over my shoulder into the water. Drop again, make a quadruple bogie 8. +1
-Bad 2-irons on 10 and 11, bogie ten, get up and down from a divot in the fairway on 11 from 150 out to stop the bleeding, +2
- Stick it on 12 to 4 feet, but miss it.
-Pitching wedge to 6 feet on 13, and a great flop shot on 14 net me a pair of birdie 4's on the par-5s, E
- Great sand save on 15, followed by 3 ho-hum pars to finish the round, E

Lots more golf left to play, and as long as I eliminate the mistakes (like 9) I'll be in good shape.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Practice Rounds at Irish Creek

I've now spent two days at the Club at Irish Creek and I'm feeling great about the first round which begins on Tuesday. The course really sets up well for my game, plus I'm hitting it really well. I really feel like I've got the capability to take it deep in a couple rounds if the putter gets hot, which is rolling really well right now too. I feel I'm peaking at the right time and I'm excited for the challenge this week. Par is 71 out there, including 3 par-5s, all of which are on the longer side, requiring me, on average, to hit 5-iron, 2-iron, and 3-iron into respectively. Great advantage for me, because the rest of the field will have to hit woods in, or lay up. The course is in great shape, and even better, has bent grass greens that are going to be on the quick side... right up my alley. My parents got into town today, and Papa GVS will be looping for me this week. We have a good track record together. He knows my game, and knows when to say things, and when not to. Definitely going to be a fun week.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Surprise, even par

Again I fired even par, and again I failed to make a cut. The good shots were really good, but the misses were still a bit troublesome. Still, I was 2 under for the tournament with 7 holes to play and knew I needed to get to 4 under, and I was happy with how I played the next couple holes until I hit a pair of bad tee shots on 15 and 16, which led to bogies. I really hit it great on the range today, and gained some more confidence in my swing. I just focused on the basic fundamentals and what has been successful for me in the past and I hit it great again. I used to say that my swing was over as soon as the club was halfway back and I've gone away from that this year for some dumb reason. Once there, I just finish the swing back and unload through. Pretty simple. I'll admit that I've over-thought my swing a bit this year, but I was really pleased with my results today. I stayed and practiced at Callaway today after the eGolf event finished up. My plan is to practice and play here tomorrow and then head to the Club at Irish Creek on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Even par once again

Fired an even par 72 today out at the Callaway Gardens Mountain Course, which is the much more difficult of the two courses I'm playing this week. I'm really hitting it better, and I stroked it well today too. I got off to a good start today and birdied my first hole and had a couple good up and downs to stay under par. Unfortunately a pair of back 9 bogies dropped me back to even. The par 5's out there really aren't suited for my game. I have to lay up on three of them, and everyone can easily reach the last of the four. My length doesn't do much out here at Callaway, but it's a good course. I'm looking forward to tomorrow on the shorter course and see how low I can take it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

At Callaway

I've had a great few days of practice and now I'm at Callaway Gardens preparing for the eGolf Tour event this week. I spent three days near Atlanta playing Club Corp courses in the area. Friday I went to the TaylorMade Kingdom. We spent about 4 hours going over my swing and putting stroke on the MATT System, hitting balls on a launch monitor outside, and having me try different shafts and club heads in order to get me fit properly. I find it always extremely helpful to see my swing on their MATT System. They burn you a CD with your swing, and the coolest part is that you can watch your swing from any point in space. This gives you a whole new way to view your swing and to look for flaws.

I spent all of yesterday out at Callaway Gardens, just practicing all day long. I spent a solid 6 or 7 hours, mostly working on the putting stroke, as we saw my stroke had been getting a little out to in at Reynolds. I didn't play yesterday because they were busy, but I really got some good practice in. I'm just getting ready to head back out there today, where I'm meeting Peter Malnati for a practice round.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Not today, but that's why there's tomorrow

Had my Nationwide Monday qualifier today and it didn't go well. The swing is really coming along nicely, but I still had a couple costly, loose drivers. Got to keep it in play and I didn't. But my swing is really starting to feel solid again. Just a couple days of good practice to sturdy the confidence in my swing and I'm sure great things are to come. I'm headed to Atlanta tomorrow for a couple days. I'll be headed to Bear's Best for a couple days of practice. It's a Club Corp facility, thus I'm able to practice/play there for only a cart fee. Then I'm off to the TaylorMade Kingdom at Reynolds Plantation to take a look at some things.

I just had a great conversation with Coach Raymonds, who's done so much for me over my life, and I'm eternally grateful to him. He's the reason I wound up at Marquette, which was one of the best things that ever happened to me. And he's such an inspiring individual. His message, "Don't ever give up." There's no better wisdom than that.

My next tournament will be at Callaway Gardens October 12-14. It's an eGolf event.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rain Rain go away

After some of my best days of practice all year, along with a 67 in one of the practice rounds, the tournament was washed out due to rain. Unreal. I signed up for the Nationwide Monday qualifier in Chattanooga, which is on October 4. I'm playing at the longer of the two courses for the qualifier, so that is usually a good fit for my game. Hitting the road tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sorry for the Delay

I've been having some trouble with this website as of late, getting alot of Service Unavailable alerts, but I seem to have gotten it fixed. I'm a little behind, but about two weeks ago I played in the Sts. John and Paul golf outing. That's the church I go to. We played out at Cranberry Highlands. The highlight of the day might have been when Father Mac, who I was playing with, poured in a 20-footer for birdie and out of sure excitement jumped as high as he could in celebration. It was legendary. We shot 57, but that was no good. It came in fourth or fifth, but we had a blast out there. I rode with Dr. Manley during the round, and we had a lot of fun talking about Pine-Richland, golf, and Neil Walker's success on the Pirates.

I was home for about a week after that and just finished up an eGolf event last week in Kannapolis, NC. I'm continuing to make progress with the swing. I shot a 64 out at Treesdale when I was home, and shot a pair of even-par 72's, which failed to make the cut. So I'm feeling better about the game, and it's coming around at the right time.

Again I hit the road and headed to the coast where I'm now gearing up for another eGolf event at St. James Plantation. The tournament starts Wednesday and we're playing a tough course. It's going to come down to driving the ball in play, which I didn't do well the last time I played here in March. But it's a new day and I'm definitely playing better. Q-School is around the corner, and I couldn't ask for it to come at a better time.

I'm stopping at Reynolds Plantation to check out my swing and some equipment at the TaylorMade Kingdom on October 8th. I haven't been there yet, and it should be a fun experience. They have my swing saved on their MAT system, from when I was at the Kingdom in Carlsbad, CA, and it's from before the US Am last year when I was really striking the ball well, so it will be good to compare my swing then to now and see if anything sticks out.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sewickley Today

Played well today over at Sewickley in severely blustering winds. Shot an even par 72, which is more like a 68 out there for me, considering I never score very well out there. The greens are so difficult and fast that I don't ever make many putts on their greens. Course is in awesome shape though. I'm really hitting it well... FINALLY! And I'm stroking it well too. I officially received my Q-School assignment and will be playing First Stage at the Club at Irish Creek near Charlotte. I played an eGolf event there and the course suits my game well. Looking forward to a few more days of practice to get what I'm working on turned into habit.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Good day of practice

I've spent the last couple days getting some really good practice in. I had a really good lesson today with Joe B at Treesdale and really feel confident in what we had me working on. I was hitting it absolutely tremendously and am looking forward to continuing to work on what we had me doing. For those who can try to visualize this, we had me working to feel like my thumbs were underneath the club at the top of the swing, in essence trying to get the face to open and square a little more. It gets me in a much stronger and confident position at the top where I can then attack the ball from. I'm rolling it great on the greens, and I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks to see just how good I'm about to start playing. My next tournament is an eGolf event in a little less than 2 weeks.

Shout out to the Pine-Richland golf team who have gotten off to a solid 5-0 start after a most recent victory out at Treesdale over section rival Butler. They've got a solid team and Coach Torso is poised to lead them to another section title. Go Rams!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mylan Classic Monday Qualifier

I played in the Mylan Classic Monday qualifier yesterday out at Green Oaks, but to no avail. I had a good start and was 3 under through 6 holes, but made a pair of poor swings on back to back par 3's and made bogies. A scandalous pin position on 18 lead to a double bogey. I finished on the front nine and made 8 pars and a birdie for an even par 70. Interestingly enough, that finished 14th, which is also the number of spots normally available at Nationwide qualifiers. However, since the FedEx Cup is beginning, they took ten spots away from the qualifier and gave it to PGA players not participating this week. I did play better and the game is coming along nicely. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch the break I needed. It's also starting to become apparent that I won't be getting any exemptions anytime soon. If I'm not going to get an exemption when the Nationwide Tour comes into Pittsburgh, I'm not going to get one anywhere. Just more motivation to get the game in shape and play well at Q-School this fall.

My friend Peter Malnati had a nice week last week, Monday qualifying in Knoxville, and then finishing top-25, which got him into the Mylan. I'm taking him out to Treesdale tomorrow while the Pro-Am is going on.

Monday, August 23, 2010

West Penn Open

I may have withdrawn from the West Penn Open, but I still found myself at St Clair CC today. I picked up caddy duties today for papa GVS. I was actually scheduled to be in the group behind him. Instead I carried his bag, wrist brace and all, and helped him out as much as I could. Had a pretty good day reading greens and we made a few, but his ball striking wasn't quite there today. He fought hard though and managed his game well, firing a 3 over par 75. The course wasn't easy, and he managed to tie Rachel Rohanna, who was playing with the men today. Saw her on the range and she can really stripe it.

Highlight of the day came on our 14th hole. We were on the tee of the par 3 and I said, "Alright, time for a good swing. Let's stuff this one." My dad proceeded to hit an 8-iron to Stonesville, maybe a foot, for a deuce and his lone tweeter of the day. We played with a real nice gentlemen who was a member at the club, and a college player from RMU named Donny. On the 18th, he asked me, "Didn't you go to Pine-Richland..." and after nodding he responded by saying, "I went to NA." I dropped the bag and with a stern look, jokingly said, "Those are fighting words!" Laughs were had by all, and obviously I mentioned my game winning basketball shot my junior year against them... as if he expected me not to.

It's really too bad I decided to sit this one out too, because the course really set up well for me. The fairway bunkers were all 280 or less to cover, so I would've had no probs carrying all of them with driver. Plus fast greens are always up my alley. Yet, I had a fun day with my dad, and my wrist is one day closer to being 100% again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

PA and WPGA Opens

Some poor driving led to some precarious spots out at Applebrook for the State Open. Granted it would have been hard to catch Rohanna even if I had hit it well, but I fired a 74-73 and missed the cut. Unfortunately the spots I hit it were mostly covered in foot high fescue grass. A few too many hacks out of there and my wrist wasn't feeling too good, but I didn't think too much of it. After a couple days of practice back home my wrist got a little worse. I saw the doctor today and he has me taking some time off until next Wednesday, which means I've had to withdraw from the West Penn Open. But getting ready for Q-School is what's important and I can't afford to not be 100%

Friday, August 6, 2010

Philly Cricket Club

Found my new favorite vacation spot! Wow is Nantucket a really cool place... even if Verizon doesn't know it exists... I took a few days off and energized the batteries. The Fenway game was awesome, and we saw Ortiz bring the BoSox back with a Grand Slam in the bottom 9, but it was just not quite enough. Went to the Cape for a day and then rode the ferry over to Nantucket where I had a pair of beach days and played a cool little public course on the island. What's amazing is when it gets dark out there. I've never seen that many stars before! You could actually see the "milk" of the Milky Way and we were even able to see satellites quickly moving through the night sky. It was an amazing four days. Now it's back to golf!

I've spent the last two days playing and practicing at the Philadelphia Cricket Club and Sunnybrook GC. A really great guy, Steve Harrington, is a member at both and graciously had me out to play with him. The facilities at the Cricket Club are awesome and I've gotten some great practice in. I've got a practice round scheduled at Applebrook on Sunday with Joe Boros and tee off in the morning on Monday. It's always great to get Joe B's insight and it will be tremendously helpful.

Friday, July 30, 2010

RI Open and Upcoming

Well I made a cut at least. This week's Rhode Island Open was filled with positives and triple the negatives. Three triple bogies that is. Rounds of 75-74-75 netted me a 34th place finish. The ball striking was a little off until my last 9 holes of the tournament, and I had some difficulty reading the greens. The course itself, Quidnessette CC in North Kingstown, RI is actually a tremendous course that sits right near the ocean. A good course for my game if I just could have executed better.

I'm in Hanover, MA now, visiting my former roommate from Marquette, Brendan Lowd. He got us tickets to a Red Sox game and it'll be my first trip to Fenway. I'm always down for rooting against the Tigers... so we'll have fun. Sunday I'm headed up to Nantucket to see another one of my college friends, Tony Watt. Tony lives in Wisconsin right in Bristlecone Pines, site of this year's Wisconsin State Open. He was really excited about caddying for me in the tournament... until the Wisconsin PGA told me that my requests for a special exemption had been declined and I would not be playing in their tournament. Which was too bad, because I really wanted to get back to Wisconsin. No matter though, as now I will be playing in the West Penn Open which is being played at the same time, and I'll be able to sleep in my own bed for that one.

Next on the schedule is the Pennsylvania Open August 9-11 at Applebrook CC just west of Philly. I'll be going for a third State Open title.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekend in Connecticut

I had quite the trip down memory lane this last weekend, as I returned to Milford, CT where I lived for 9 years growing up. The Ratzenberger family was kind enough to have me for the weekend. I grew up playing baseball, basketball, soccer and basically any sport every created with their son Bobby. We dominated. It was great to see them again, although it was a scary sight to see his younger brother Danny, now 21, all grown up... it made me feel so old.

It was my first time back there in basically 12 years, and the most amazing thing is how my perspective has changed. What used to seem like a long drive, is actually about 5 minutes. The cul da sac I grew up in, which used to look enormous, and hosted numerous wiffle ball and kickball games growing up, looked underwhelming. And the backyard of our old house, didn't look nearly as sprawling as it used to... granted some family put up a fence and added a garden...lame.

Yale GC was no different. The nice people working there gave me the wave to practice and play, and I must say that it seemed much shorter than it used to. My dad used to tee me up at the 150 yd marker and have me play in from there. Now I was hitting pitching wedge into number 4, the par-5, and 8-iron into the ninth hole, a 200-yd downhill par 3, which I recalled my father hitting 2-iron into when we used to play there. I made a deuce.

The next day one of our friends, Guy Yocum, had me out to my other old home-course, Racebrook. It was in really nice shape, and although I didn't drive it so well, I still managed to shoot one-under, shattering my previous low of 88 out there. It was amazing how many of the holes I still remembered.

That evening I met up with another one of my childhood friends, Ryan Cole, who was on a bowling team with me when we were 10 and 11. The two of us and Bobby went bowling at the 60-lane bowling alley in Milford. Maybe it was the vibes of being back there, but I bowled the best I had since I was 11, putting up 191 and 180 in our first two games. I had broken 200 a couple times when I was 11 though. Ryan bowled a 222 in our 3rd game... where was that when we were in that league??? I had a great time back there, and maybe even picked up some karma. Cathy Ratzenberger, Bobby's mom, came to watch me at my first two collegiate victories at Wexford Plantation and Lake Jovita. Maybe that's all I needed to get back on the winning streak again! Regardless, it really felt great to be back and I'll need to stop there again more frequently than once every 12 years.

I'm in Rhode Island now for the Rhode Island Open and played a practice round today. Hit it great and stroked it even better. One more day of practice and then 18 holes on Wednesday. Then there's a cut and 36 holes on Thursday. Cant wait!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Even Par? No good.

I've been shooting even par a bit lately, and that's just no good. First it was Cincinnati for the Nationwide Monday qualifier. The course there really isn't all that difficult, and I was 3 under through ten with some easier holes coming up. Unfortunately I was about done hitting good shots for the day and struggled my way into an even par 72. Then this last week I played the eGolf event in Kannapolis, NC, where I shot a pair of even par 71's and missed the cut by 3. I brutalized the easy holes the first day, bogeying two easy par 5's and a drivable par 4. I fought back the second day after a tough start and on the much more difficult course of the two, but ultimately didn't get enough putts to drop. So a pair of 71's wound up not being good enough.

I am in Greenwood, SC for a couple days with a wonderful family who put me up for the eGolf event that was here about a month ago. Peter Malnati is down here with me as well and we had a nice early start to this morning and played a tennis match at 7am. Finally some good news, as he was dismantled in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4 by my impregnable forehand and cat-like reflexes. Just got back from a solid 2 hour short game session as well. I'm headed to Greensboro on Monday for two practice rounds for an eGolf event, which begins on Wednesday.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nationwide Monday

Next up for me is a Nationwide Monday qualifier in Cincinnati on July 12th. Good news is that it's at the Oasis Golf Club, where I played college tournaments all 4 years and set a school record of -17 (199) my senior year. I'm excited to return there, play some good golf, and get myself into my first Nationwide event of the year. I still have not heard one way or another on the Mylan Classic here in Pittsburgh. I'm hoping they may grant me one of their sponsor exemption spots, since I'm a local player. I've talked with the tournament director, who is an extremely nice individual, and now I'll just have to wait and see. If the Nationwide Monday doesn't work out, I'm then scheduled to play in back to back eGolf Tour events down in the Charlotte area. My July then concludes with a trip to New England for Rhode Island's State Open.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

John Deere Qualifying

I'm in Moline, IL right now gearing up for John Deere qualifying. The pre-qualifier is tomorrow and they take the top 50 plus ties, and we will go to the Monday qualifier where 4 spots are usually available. Playing about as good as I've played all year. It's time to get this year turned around right now. Deer Run CC is a course I got to experience last year and I know that I can play well there. The key will be qualifying for the event, which I am confident will occur if I play my game. Time to rest up and make some birdies tomorrow. I tee it up at 820 am.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Decent Start at Fuhrer

Got off to a decent start today at the Fuhrer with rounds of 69 and 72 for a 1 over par total. I'm in 6th, and 6 shots back of John Aber who is leading, but we still have 36 to play. I like where I'm at and started rolling the putter nicely towards the end of my second round today and am looking forward to taking another crack at the Field Club tomorrow. I tee off at 10 am with Rob McClellan off the first tee.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Headed home again

After a month of fantastic putting and poor ball striking, this week wound up being a total reversal. I shot 69 the first round of this week's eGolf event and didn't make anything over 6 feet. In today's round I was 2 under thru 16 and basically right on the number to make the cut. Again I hadn't made a putt all day, and had just missed a 3 footer for birdie a couple holes prior. Two bad tee balls with irons on the last two holes put me in jail and led to back to back bogies to finish my round, an even par 71. What a poor taste to have in my mouth after a good ball striking week. I'm now going to miss the cut by 1 or 2, which is a shame since I really felt like I played a lot better this week. It was just very strange as I never felt comfortable on the greens. Anyhow, there were definitely many positives from this week from a ball striking standpoint and I'm now focused on the Frank Fuhrer Invitational. It's a really special event and I'm so excited to be playing in it. I've got Doug Stadler on the bag, who carried for me during my 2 State Opens and state Amateur victories. He was also on the bag last year at Q-School. I'm paired with John Aber from Allegheny CC, and I'm looking forward to playing with him. We tee off at 9:03 off of the first tee on Monday. So Pittsburgh Field Club look out!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Upcoming Schedule

I've had some very productive time at home these past 10 days now. 2 sessions with Joe B have me hitting the ball fantastically again. I played pretty well last time out but had a couple hiccups. The bad shots just weren't playable. But now I've regrouped and am driving to North Carolina tomorrow for another eGolf Tour event in Salisbury. I'm ready to go make some birdies. My putting has been solid for some time now, and if the ball striking is as good as I anticipate it will be, this could really be a special week. One thing that I am looking forward to, is the following week, when I will be playing in the Frank Fuhrer Invitational at the Pittsburgh Field Club. Mr. Fuhrer has graciously given me a spot in his tournament, which has been a truly special event in the Pittsburgh area for years now. Joe Boros and I played a practice round out there yesterday, and my length gives me a distinct advantage out there. I switched back to my r7 driver this week. I've been hitting my R9 SuperTri well and really far, but the misses with my r7 are much less errant, and I can afford to sacrifice 20 yds to hit some extra fairways.

Any song suggestions for the upcoming car rides? I've been through my iPod a few times now. I'll listen to just about anything short of country and heavy metal. Hope everyone is having a great summer and excited for some World Cup. Hup, Holland Hup!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Missed by one

Pretty disappointing day yesterday, because I wound up missing the cut by one. Still, there was a lot of positives that came out of the last two days. The putt on the last hole of the day was a big one. I knew it was a must make, or at least thought it was, and I came through and holed the 20-footer. Any time you can hit good shots or make important putts under pressure that is a good sign. Again, I feel I just keep getting better and know I'm close to breaking through sometime soon. I've got another eGolf next week, starting Wednesday, so I'm looking forward to another opportunity to test the game out.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

2 under thru 36

I didn't get off to the best start in this eGolf event. I made 3 straight bogies to go 3 over thru my first 7 holes, but as always I fought back in the opening round and even had it under par briefly until a bogey at the last dropped me back to even for the first round. Which wasn't horrible, the greens however kind of were. They were recently punched and crusty due to my afternoon tee time. Today was looking better and more promising though. I eagled my 8th to go 2 under and had it to 3 under when a bogey-double bogey stretch dropped me back to Even for the tournament. I had 4 holes to play and finished with a birdie on 15 and then rolled in a must-have 20-footer at 18 for a 2 under total at 141. The cut looks like it will be either 2 or 3 under, and now it's a waiting game as the afternoon groups start to finish. I definitely played better than I have been and if it wasn't for a 3-putt from 4 feet on the 13th to a tricky pin location, I'd be in a much more comfortable position right now. The swing is really starting to feel good again and if I make the cut I might just put up a couple mid-60's rounds to get myself back in this tourny.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Down in South Carolina

Milwaukee got off to a great start. I had an awesome chip in on my second hole at Ozaukee for eagle. Unfortunately my driver really let me down and making pars from that rough was pretty tough. I guess my US Open Championship will have to wait until next year. I was able to catch up with some friends and former teammates which was nice. I also stopped in and had my back re-aligned by Dr. Karl Licktieg. You can have whatever view you want on chiropractics, but I've never walked out of his office not feeling 20 times better. I even ran into Coach Buzz Williams on my way out the second time I was there. It was great to finally meet him, he's done an amazing job since getting to Marquette a couple years ago.

I then drove back to Pittsburgh for two days and checked out some swings with my pro at Treesdale, Joe Boros. The concensus, and Coach Grogan hinted at this when I saw him in Milwaukee, was that my lower body was extremely active. I'm trying to keep my right foot down longer now. It keeps my lower body more quiet, while keeping my hips from opening up too soon. I'm really hitting it well again and looking forward to this week's eGolf Tour event. Another 10-hour drive was had today from Pittsburgh to South Carolina. Weather was good and the drive was uneventful, which is always a good thing. I'll be playing a couple practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the tournament's 1st round on Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hitting the Yellow-Brick road

After a week of solid practice, some good lessons with my pro Joe Boros, and a startling revelation that my irons were 3.5 degrees too flat, I feel great about the game. I'm now sporting the new TaylorMade R9 C irons, which are unreal by the way. We've got my SuperTri fixed up with a good shaft and I'm packing right now in anticipation of my upcoming drive from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee. The Yellow-Brick road as I'm calling it on this trip, since my destination is the wonderful course of OZ... Ozaukee CC that is, where my team at Marquette was privileged to play on numerous occasions. In fact, my freshman year at MU, I fired a new course record 61 after starting out 7 under thru 5. I've definitely got some good vibes going there and I'm looking forward to a glorious return for US Open Local qualifying. I'm 2 for 3 in the last three years, and excited about this upcoming trip. I'll also be playing in a small one-day event at the Bog the day after... another MU stomping ground.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Special Thanks

I would like to send a special thank you to two different courses. First is my home course at Treesdale, where I have grown up playing and practicing for the last 10+ years. They have graciously given me an honorary membership, and are allowing me to continue to play there. The membership at Treesdale has been very supportive and I want to thank you.

It's not just at Treesdale that you'll find amazing and generous people though. I've found a second home this year at Sewickley Heights GC. They too have given me a place to play this year and I'm extremely excited to have the opportunity to play and practice at such a first class facility. Speaking of first class, the members at Sewickley have been extremely supportive of me and have helped me out tremendously.

Thank you to both clubs, having somewhere to play when you just turn pro is important and often difficult. I am certainly blessed to have such great people looking out for me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sittin' in Wendy's

So I'm sitting in Wendy's... who knew they had wireless?! Just finished up my Nationwide Monday qualifying and played pretty well. I made 8 birdies and shot a 4 under 68, but out here that's just no good. Tough living, but I certainly could've shot lower. My first hole of the day, the tenth, was probably the most difficult driving hole on the course and I blocked my 2iron into a lake. I had to drop on the next tee box and made double bogey. I then proceeded to make 4 birdies in a row and a couple bogeys to finish the side at even. I was able to muster 4 more tweeters on the front, and had a 10 footer on my 16th hole, but just read it wrong. I'm playing really well (see 8 birdies). Just need to clean up the card and keep the bad shots in play. I've got an eGolf event now starting Wednesday in Charlotte. One of the courses used is The Palisades, site of my 11th Collegiate victory, so I know how to play out there and will have the positive waves going. Still have about a 4 hour drive ahead of me... you know you've been traveling alot when 4 hours seems like a bike ride to your buddy's house, haha oh well.

Live Long and Drive it Longer

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Headed to Callaway Gardens

6 birdies was the positive I was able to take from the last Nationwide monday qualifier, but two doubles were costly. I shot a one-under 71 and missed out by four. Too bad too, because Kinderlou Forest really sets up well for me. Anyhow, I'm now headed to Callaway Gardens for some practice and then I'll be headed to Athens, Ga for another Nationwide Monday qualifier.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Next Up

Well, last week certainly didn't go quite as I had planned. After shooting a 31 on the front nine in the practice round, the day before the tournament, I proceeded to shoot one of my worst rounds in a while in some difficult conditions. Some unfortunate breaks didn't help the cause, but some poor shots did the same. Anyhow, I missed the cut last week and have been in Hilton Head for the last few days. Again, it feels like things continue to progress and come together. I'm continuing to practice hard and keep my head up. Next on my schedule is a Nationwide Monday qualifier in Valdosta, Georgia. The course that the tournament is on for the week sets up great for me, and it's where I successfully made it through 1st Stage, so if I can just get through the Monday, I know I'll be able to compete and will have a good chance of playing my way into the next week's event.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Practice Rounds

A pair of great practice round days. I really struck the ball well today, so much so that at one point I said to Peter Malnati, "It's really a shame I'm not in a Tour event this week." to which he agreed. Hopefully this will translate directly to some good scores. I think I'm one or two hot putting rounds away from making some noise. Really excited. I tee off at 1250 tomorrow. I'll let you all know how it goes, or you can follow along. eGolf Website.

One humorous story from today... the first hole at the founders club is probably right around 390 yards. It was downwind today and a bit narrow by the green, but Peter and I both decide to hit Driver. He hits a good one down the middle, and then I crush one on the same line. About 40 yards short of the green the cartpath crosses the fairway. Knowing the path is there, and with my ball in mid-air and picking up my tee, I half-jokingly yell, "Hit the path and go on the green!" My ball then hits the path and goes onto the green pin high 20 feet. We both laugh at the lucky break. I then proceed to pour the putt in dead center for an eagle two. As we leave the green Peter says, "If you hadn't called that in mid-air it would've been totally bogus." Fair enough... but I did.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Sponsor: Chrislynn Energy Services

Those of you who see me playing in tournaments this year will now see Chrislynn Energy Services printed on my left chest. They have graciously decided to sponsor me for the remainder of the year. I'm very excited about this development and look forward to representing a company that truly makes a difference in the "Going Green" movement. The people who I've been in contact with from the company are some truly great individuals and I want to thank them for their support. Find out more about who they are by checking out their website! www.chrislynnenergy.com

I'm leaving Hilton Head tomorrow for an eGolf Tour event in Southport, NC. Playing some practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday with Mizzou alum Peter Malnati. We played together a few times in college. About as nice a kid as you can find... two peas in a pod I guess. haha, I'll have some updates throughout the week. Until then, may you all be blessed with many birdies.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Moving On

Well, came up a bit short at the Louisiana qualifier. Took 67 to get in under windy conditions and I just didn't hit it well enough. Short game was good though, kept me in contention for a while. I'm in Orlando for a couple days of practice, then I'm headed to Del Ray Beach to watch the MU golf team play in a tournament. I think having my presence there might give them some good vibes... haha. Then I'm headed to Hilton Head for a couple weeks. Just signed up for my next tournament, which will be the eGolf Tour event in North Carolina April 7-10. After that I've got a pair of Nationwide qualifiers the last two weeks in April. For now that's the schedule. Finalizing some details with a sponsor for my left chest logo, I'll be unveiling who it is and what their about in the coming week!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Trails: Arizona

My time in Scottsdale for the moment has come to a close. After a 20+ hour drive from Scottsdale, I have arrived in Lafayette, Louisiana to compete in the Monday qualifier for the Louisiana Open (a Nationwide Tour event). I played a practice round today at the Wetlands GC where my qualifier for 7 spots will take place. There are roughly 80 guys vouching for those spots in the tournament. A front is coming through bringing some rain right now and it's expected to be cool and windy. The interesting thing is that, in comparison to Arizona, I'm finding I need to dial down my yardages a little bit as the ball doesn't fly as far down here at sea level as it did back in the dry air of Arizona. I'm looking forward to Monday and excited about my first opportunity to play my way onto the Nationwide Tour.

Cudos to Lazar and company for a great season. A tough way to end it losing to Washington, but they played their guts out and represented MU well.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gateway Event Number 2

After a promising 69 in the first round last week, severe wind and a cold putter in round 2 led to a missed cut. However, I'm playing another Gateway Tour event that begins tomorrow, so I don't have to wait too long for a shot at some redemption. I'm teeing off at 11am EST at Papago Golf Course. Played a practice round today and hit some really good shots. I'm excited to play tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gateway Tournament

Signed up for my first Gateway Tour event of the year and it begins tomorrow at Southern Dunes. After a month of solid practice and play, I feel great about my game and am looking forward to playing in some competitive events. My instructor from back home in Pittsburgh, Joe Boros, came down and helped me out two weeks ago. We made some excellent strides forward and I'm really becoming comfortable with where my game is at. Southern Dunes is a longer course and should prove favorable for my length. You can follow along on the Gateway Tour's website...

Just got back from watching MU blowout Louisville... love it! I'm going to be in Scottsdale for a couple more weeks yet before I head out to Louisiana for the Nationwide event that's there. Looks like I'm going to have to Monday qualify there, but I'm ready.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Team Van-Gray earn first round victory

Today Ted Gray and I played our first round match of the Phoenix Fourball at FireRock CC, earning a 4 & 3 victory. Although I got off to a sluggish start, Ted was ready to go, birdieing 2 of the first 3 holes, putting us 2 up. A deuce by our competitors, on the par 3 6th, put the match back to 1 up... until I drained a 30-footer on 7 and Ted followed with his own birdie on 8. A pitching wedge to a foot on 10 gave me another birdie, and our team a 4 up lead. After some good drives on 11, we really managed to butcher the rest of the hole, making bogey and falling back to 3 up. But a pair of birdies on the 485 yd par-4 15th gained us the 4 & 3 win. You can follow online at the Phoenix Fourball website.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Golden Eagle Tag-Team

I've just signed up for my first tournament of 2010, and although it's not on Tour, it's going to be a fun one. While practicing out at The Golf Club Scottsdale I ran into Big East Champion Ted Gray, my former teammate. He too is out at GCS and giving the golf route a roll. We decided to team up once again and Ring Out Ahoya on some other pros in the area by signing up for the Phoenix FourBall Match Play Tournament. It consists of 32 teams playing in a Best Ball Match Play format. It can be followed on www.Phoenixfourball.com and matches will take place once every two weeks.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the McCahill Award Luncheon! It was great to see so many familiar faces and I really appreciate all the support I've had through the years from the Marquette Community. It was also great to see our boys finally get a bit of a breather and not have a game come down to the wire too.

Go Marquette!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, New Changes

Hey everyone, Mike Van Sickle here. I'm going to be taking over updating the site from now on. A few things have happened since making it through First Stage. Unfortunately my putter went a little cold out at Callaway Gardens in Georgia for the Second Stage of Q-School and I came up a bit short. All in all it was a good experience and I'll be able to really fine tune the aspects of my game that still need perfected this year. I'll most likely be giving Monday qualifyings a run to start the year and play some mini-tour events on the side. Hopefully I can get my foot in the door early on the Nationwide or PGA, but if not, there are many other tours to choose from.

I signed with an agent, David Winkle, from Hambric Sports Management. He's an agent with players such as Justin Leonard, Bob Tway, Dustin Johnson, and other notables... but most importantly he's a truly stand-up guy, and everyone in golf who I've talked to has had nothing but great things to say about David. Since then I have also signed on with TaylorMade/Adidas and will be sporting their equipment and apparel at upcoming tournaments, however I'm still looking to get an MU logo placed on the bag too.

I reached Scottsdale, AZ today from my home in Pittsburgh... a fun 32-hour drive. I'm looking forward to some winter training to get the game in gear. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year!

Fly like an Eagle, Fight like a Warrior!