Friday, January 28, 2011

Not the best week thus far...

Wasn't my most successful week this year. First, Dustin Schwab and myself lost our best ball match in the Phoenix Fourball. It was a mega windy day, blowing a minimum of 30 all morning. We didn't play all that well, and I specifically really played awful. Just couldn't get the drives onto grass with all that wind. Next on the schedule was the Gateway Tour event at Whirlwind where I missed the cut. I shot 72 the first round with 3 balls that found water. 75 the second round was due to some pretty poor putting. Lastly was the Phoenix Open Pre-qualifier yesterday, where I failed to finish T-9 or better and make it through. It took 66 at my qualifying site, and after starting out 2 under through 5, I couldn't keep it going. Again, not one of my better putting days, despite dropping a 60-foot bomb on the 3rd hole.

In summation, a lost match, a missed cut, and a failed qualifier. Strangely enough, it's the best I've felt about my swing yet this year. And with a week off from the Gateway Tour, some solid days of practice on the range to continue to improve the swing will go a long way. Now that I'm feeling good about the swing, I'll be putting a lot more emphasis on the short game, so that I won't be writing about how poorly I putted in future weeks.

Seriously though, I'm close!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Practice Rounds and more

You know it's an early start to a round, when the range is lit by moonlight... The last day of the Gateway at the Raven didn't go so well. Hit a couple tee shots into trouble and made another double and a quad. Fought back with some birdies, but the damage was done. It was an extremely windy day and I played OK, just a couple bad shots that I let turn into big numbers. Maybe the coolest thing about the Raven at Verrado was that there was an Air Force base nearby and there were constantly F-15's buzzing over the course. Maybe I'm just a kid at heart, but I'll never grow out of my 'thinking that fighter jets are totally cool' stage.

I've signed up with a personal trainer who I met at the Desert Marlin and works with some golfers. I went and worked out with him after the round. It was our 3rd session and we're doing some really good stuff. It's hard to stay motivated and workout by yourself on the road, which has been my main problem, but he's great and he's got me working hard. Love it.

Played a practice round yesterday at Whirlwind GC, the site of the next Gateway Tour event. Ran into a kid I've played with a couple of times, Sam Cyr. Really nice kid and he finished second in the first Gateway event, only to have to WD after Rd 1 in the second event last week due to food poisoning. We played a practice round together and grabbed some dinner afterwards. The next Gateway event starts Monday and goes through Wednesday.

I'm playing a practice round today at Aguila Golf Club, the pre-qualifying site for the Phoenix Open, which is scheduled for Thursday. Then on Sunday, former teammate, Dustin Schwab and myself are teaming up to play in the Phoenix Fourball Championship. A two-man team tournament that is a best-ball format. We're teeing it up at 8:20 out at Quintero. I would've tried to get a later tee-time, but Dustin wants to be back in time for the Packer game, haha, can't say I blame him. This is the same event that Ted Gray and I played in together last year.

All-in-All a busy week ahead as I'm playing in something everyday from today through Thursday.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2 for 2

I've been playing this week in my second Gateway Event of the year, and today made my second cut of the year. More than I made all of last year, which is sickening, but also a good sign. I'm really playing well. My ball-striking was the real issue last year, and Joe B. pinpointed some good things this last time out. Anyhow, I've hit it great the last two days, with the exception of one awful swing each day. Both were tee shots, one with a rescue and the other a 3-iron. I blocked them both WAY right and they both led to doubles. Besides those two holes though, I've made 13 birdies and just 3 bogeys. I fired 68-70 and sit at 6-under and tied for 22nd. The leader is at 11-under. I've come from 5 back before, it's going to take a special round tomorrow, but the key is staying focused on my own game, and just try to make as many birdies as possible. I've really been rolling it fantastically this week and have been very solid inside of 6 feet, and have made a few 20-30 footers.
A fairy somewhere just lost it's wings. Why? There is a 310 yard par 4 out at the Raven. It's uphill and has a severe false front. The green is not very deep either. There is some room just off the green, but not much, mostly desert. Mike Van Sickle from a few years back would have just grabbed the driver and tried to hit the green every round. I've hit 5-iron/Lob Wedge both rounds. The first day to 4 feet and today to 7 feet. Both led to birdies. Really? Me? Laying up? And what's worse is that I birdied it twice. Who am I? hahaha. Both my playing competitors hit driver yesterday, both into the desert. Both hit irons today. Guess I'm a trendsetter. Results from the tourny... Gateway Results

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Swing from today, 6-iron

Joe Boros left today after two great days of instruction, play, and practice. We really pinpointed some good things to work on. I really started hitting it consistently solid by the time he left. Here is one of my last swings before we left the course today.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Gateway Event in the Books

What took me 11 months last year, I was able to accomplish in my first event this year. In my first Gateway Tour event of the year, I shot 73-71 in some windy, cool conditions to make the cut right on the number. I was playing solidly in the opening round and tallied 3 birdies in a row to get to 2-under with 2 to play. Playing in the final group of the day, darkness was closing fast and we tried to hurry to finish. In retrospect that was a bad decision, as I went doublebogey-bogey to finish and shoot a 1-over 73. Day 2 saw some of my best ball striking of the year, but as was the case all week long, the greens confounded me and I only read about half of my putts correctly, leading to 15 pars, 2 birdies, and one bogey. Even par was on the cut line and I made it. Last year my first mini-tour cut made came in late November on the Hooters Tour. The ball-striking wasn't quite there today in Round 3, again in breezy conditions, and a triple and a double led to a 4-over 76 and a 29th place finish. However, cuts made is an improvement, and Joe Boros is landing in 45 minutes. He'll be in town for a couple days as we continue to enhance my swing and make sure that I'm practicing the correct things. I'm sure we'll take some videos of the swing this weekend and I'll post a couple of those here on the site. My next Gateway event starts Tuesday.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Desert Marlin

It's been a few days as my father and I enjoy the somewhat warm Scottsdale weather. My dad flew in about a week ago to prepare for our week at the Desert Marlin at Greyhawk. It's a two man team event, one pro and one am. A number of Tour players stop by to play in it, and we got our foot in the door last year as a last minute fill in for Peter Kostas and his son. Somehow we were invited back. We played our practice round with Stan Utley and our friend Mike Petty. It was good to pick Stan's brain a little bit, as there's not too many better putters than him. That evening was the Dry Heave, where Gary McCord harasses you via microphone while you try to hit a 110 yd shot over water. Top 3 closest to the pin win some money. They had an MC there too, to switch songs for each player, as Gary had songs picked out for certain guys. The MC got me good in my down swing, but I still managed to hit it about 10 feet pin high, no good though. McCord had a song picked out for my dad, and made fun of him for being media, but my dad hit a pretty good shot, and kind of spun the wrong way and was a little bit past. Probably 7 or 8 feet. No good either.

The first day is a 2-man scramble and our putters where cold as ice. We played with Ted Purdy, who is probably one of the absolute nicest guys on tour. My dad and I shot 68, which placed us near the bottom. We left a solid 5 shots out there with our putters alone. Afterwards we had lunch with Ted and were talking about my current situation and how I'm looking for somewhere to practice and play, now that my membership at Golf Club Scottsdale ran up and then more than doubled the price out there for me. Ted immediately got on the phone and called a couple courses to help me out. Hey, did I mention he's probably the nicest guy on tour? Yeah.

Day 2 saw us play a bit better. It was a best-ball format and I got us off to a solid start and played the first 14 holes in 3 or 4 under. We ran into a 20 minutes backup on 15 and I was pretty useless after that. My dad picked us up though with back to back birdies on our 15 and 16th holes. We shot a 66 and moved up about 20 spots, but still fell short of the money. We played with Frank Conner, who has the distinction of being the only man on the planet to play in both a Tennis US Open and a Golf US Open. He's older, but he's still got game. We had an absolute blast and now I'm gearing up for my first Gateway Tour event in a few days out at Anthem Golf Club.