- Missing three putts inside four feet
- Bogey on the reachable par-5 6th
- Missing one putt inside four feet
- Four poor swings that lead to two doubles and two bogeys
- +6 on the par-3's
I was the only player under par after the first round to miss the cut.
I have been searching my memory as to what switch went off that caused me to play poorly. Now the pattern of playing well early in an event, regardless of the number of holes, has always been a pattern. It happened in college with intra-squad qualifying, in three Chapter Championships, and one round pro-ams. And I now think it has to do with being score oriented.
Why did I go from 2 under through 20 holes and 9-over in the next 16?
I played well in the qualifying, particularly my short game in the last six holes, because I wasn't concerned about score, just shot execution. And I did that well for 20 holes in the Senior Open. But on Friday's second hole, made birdie to get to two under par, I recognized that fact in a different way than Thursday when I knew I was three under. And I think on Friday I got focused on score, instead of shot execution and it lead to too much pin seeking.
Of the six birdies I made only one was from less than 15 feet, and that was the second putt on #6 on Friday. I had two birdie putts inside four feet - #18 Thursday and #13 Friday - and missed them both. That confirms I was rarely pin seeking and relying on my putter for good scores. But suddenly I became too pin oriented and not "the best place/shot for me" oriented.
On #3 I cannot conclude this for sure, but on #5 with the pin on the upper right shelf, I tried to hit the shot to the pin instead of playing for the middle and trusting my ability for a two putt. #7 the shot should have been to the widest part of the green, the front third, with a shorter club and an aggressive swing. #10 should have been the 6-iron the math and wind dictated instead of the 5-iron to get it there. If I hit the six good and it wasn't enough, I would have a simple chip or pitch instead of playing from a deep greenside bunker too far from the hole. On #11 with the pin in front I should have played to the middle, giving me leeway to clear the front bunker, instead trying to hit a perfectly distanced shot to the pin.
As I said in an earlier post, I found what in the moment means. And I let myself get away from that those last 16 holes. After 42 years of golf, being in the moment is new to me. I have to learn from this week to stay there. And I get to start tomorrow with a OPGA Sr. Pro-Am at Quail Valley.
What does this performance mean for my competitive future? First I have to believe I am that good. And the confidence that my tee shots will find the fairway helps me get that belief. The final big event on my schedule is the PNWPGA Senior Professional Championship in September. That is the first of two steps to reaching the PGA Senior Championship, another senior major. So my immediate goal is to play well enough in that event to qualify for the National Senior Club Professional Championship.
I will add more practice to my weekly routine for the rest of the season. Over the winter I will decide if I want to arrange my business management to provide me the opportunity to play more. That would mean more section tournaments, senior and regular, and time away from work and family to practice and play. With Connor headed to Gonzaga in just under seven weeks, the family situation may be easier. Work would require a reorganization and hiring of staff with different responsibilities. I would focus on teaching, playing and tournaments and then delegate all the other stuff to staff.
- My handicap index is 0.9 making me basically a 1 handicap. Omaha Country Club is rated 74.6 for member play. So to play to my handicap for two days, my total would be 151 and I shot 147. When I post the 69, a - 5.6 differential, the computer will ask if I am sure I want to post it. Couple that with the 66 before I left, I am about to become a +1 and may likely get a scarlet letter for my recent tournament performances.
- Tour life would be tough. Yeah the courtesy cars, free food, equipment and the like are great. But living in a hotel, eating at restaurants, and being away from family would be tough. It was fun and exciting this week, but would be boring very fast.
- In order for me to truly compete with those guys, I need at least 30 more yards on my tee shots and 10 more yards on my irons. I have never had that and most likely never will. But Jeff Hart gives me hope. I our practice round our tee shots were close in yardage. He shot 64 today.
- The greens got amazingly rough in the afternoon. Not from spike marks like the before, but leaf tissue raised up. That doesn't happen with West Coast grass, it maybe the type of turf they have to use in Nebraska.
- I want to get back to that event. I can make the cut. Sacramento in 2015 would be great, every year would be better.