OPEN QUALIFYING UPDATE
It's update time following my participation in the Open Qualifier yesterday.
I'd love to be able to come into the forum and report a good performance yesterday and that I'd sailed though to the final qualifying stage, but unfortunately this is no Cinderella story......yet!
My Carnoustie dream is over, I played horribly yesterday and ended up shooting 93. Yes you read correctly......93. A few facts about that.......it was the worst posted score at my qualifying venue. It was the equal worst posted score at all of the qualifiers.
So what went wrong? I recorded a live video with my coach and caddy straight after we finished and you can have a look at this:
Its a day later now so here are my thoughts a little removed from the event.
Over the previous weekend my preparation was very good and I was striking the ball very well. My coach and I had made some good but minor changes to the golf swing on Saturday and I had them well in hand in a short practice session on Sunday.
Short game was feeling very solid and I'd tested at my best levels for the season. My putting stroke was feeling good and I was very happy with where I was with my pace control.
I'd had a practice round at Frilford Heath the week before and I felt like I knew enough about the course and the conditions and additionally my coach who caddied for me had really good course knowledge.
I arrived with plenty of time, however I wasn't able to go and hit balls before the round as the driving range was quite distant from the first tee and was accessed via a shuttle system that I was concerned wouldn't get me back by my tee time, so my full swing warm up consisted of a session in the nets.
However, it is now obvious that preparation could have been better. The really good progress we had made in swing changes over the previous weekend, just didn't hold up under the pressure of this event and they need more time to become a part of my default swing.
My previous demons in short game were in the back of my mind and influenced how I went about playing these shots during the day, resulting in some poor execution of these shots.
I'd never been as nervous as I was before the round yesterday and when I was at home in the morning I was like a cat on a hot tin roof. Waiting around for the whole day to play at 2pm did me no favours at all. Once I was at the golf course I felt more at ease but even still I was nervous, more so than I would be in a normal event or normal round of golf. I'm not sure whether this hampered my performance or not, but I do get a feeling just before I hit a shot (some people refer to this feeling as being in the zone) that I now its going to be a good shot. I didn't have many of those feelings yesterday and as such never really felt comfortable over a shot. If I think about it in detail, I feel like I had a fear of failure over most shots as opposed to a positive commitment to what I was trying to do. That is a massive learning for me from yesterday and something I need to address.
During the round I only had one real blow out hole, an 8 down 14 which included an unplayable lie and a bad short game shot compounded by a further error in the bunker. As the mistakes mounted that hole my focus waned leading to the dreaded snowman. The rest of the round was a myriad of bogeys, pars and doubles and at no point did I really get any momentum of good play.
My playing partners were also not playing great and early in the round the other guys had a couple of lost balls, one had to play two provisional of one tee and thus we lost 5 minutes on both occasions looking for balls. This had us on the clock and the company of a referee for most of the rest of our round. Whilst this shouldn't be a problem, it was my first experience of this and definitely made my rhythm much quicker, possibly adding to the issues I was already having.
I'm not sure of everything I have learned from yesterday yet. Obviously its been on my mind pretty much constantly since. It will probably take a little while to sink in and take what I can from yesterday.
The obvious question is has this weakened my resolve and the answer is no. Nothing I saw yesterday made me think that what I am aiming to do is unachievable. I am firm in my belief that I am more than capable and so much so that even during a time of massive disappointment during the last few holes yesterday, all I could think about was when can I do this again, I wanted another chance.
So with all of the self doubt that yesterday creates, the questions of am I crazy to be attempting this, I need to put all that to the side and resolve to work even harder than before, to take the experience I had yesterday and improve on it next time. The only way is up (or down in scores).
As usual, I welcome all comments and questions.