Sunday, July 14, 2013

TPC Tampa Bay - Golf Channel Tour Tournament in Tampa

It is Sunday the 14th and I am well rested after a Saturday afternoon of doing nothing. Not it is time to reflect on my performance at the TPC Tampa Bay Golf Channel Tournament.
I was looking forward to play this course, as it is one of the best tracks here in Florida and back then it was home to the Outback Steak House. In a few I will write a review on the course. But let us get back to the tournament.

It is crucial for me to start playing stroke play tournaments on "real" golf courses. When I say real, I am talking championship course. We play way to much quota games on short and not so tough courses. That does not help me much, although it does a little.

So I was blessed that I got a new Golf Channel Tour membership and picked this tournament to play, although I have never been on that golf course. That proofed to be a disadvantage. But I wanted to try to play the course by the yardage book with help of my pin seeker. What I did not know was, that it would be raining so hard, that the course was muddy and totally wet. Considering that I have new clubs I was not exactly confident in what I was doing there on the course in terms of how to swing those new clubs in these conditions. Never the less. I arrived at the course rested and ready to go with much confidence after a good round the Friday before.

A short warm up showed me that I had my clubs under control and my driver as straight and long. The putting green was in great shape and the greens were about 10 to 11 on the meter. I like that. Not very fast, but fast enough to let those true greens give some great challenge. At that point I was not aware how much of a challenge I will face.

Started out on 10. Interesting tee shot. But I got going well. My approach was short and I ended up with bogey. From here on I was trying to adjust to the wet conditions combined with my new irons. It took me 6 holes to make it happen. While I was finishing with some pars, I had real trouble in between to get the ball in the fairway and the rough is just to much to get on the green from more then 150.

I ended up with a 43. Which considering the 3 doubles I had sounds OK to me. But fact is, that I missed my putts by a hair pretty much every single time. Good speed , good distance, but just not falling.

The back 9 ( in my case the front) I was confident to make something happen and I did. I started out with a great drive leaving myself about 138 in. But I put my shot to the right side of the green while the pin was on the left. I had about a 70 foot putt. First uphill, then strong downhill right to left all the way and then 5 foot before the hole uphill and left to right. I was able to put it within 4 feet and putt it out. Things were better until this horrible par 4 where I put my drive in the right hand water, trying to play the right fairway. My drop ended up in the rough, from where I made the wrong decision. I tried to play a hybrid and move it forward towards the green. Huge mistake. I got caught in the rough a and my ball went about 5 yards. Still in the rough but not in the water. This time I chipped it out into the fairway, leaving myself 140 something to the pin. Next I put it in front of the green, leaving myself a chip for a double. I love chipping and I am good at it. This time I did not focus enough. I tried to play my typical chip and got caught in the mud, moving the ball 2 yards. I chipped on for a 7 and then two putted. 9. My first 9 in a tremendous long time and my putt for 9 was a good putt. Could have been a 10 , which I did not have in years.

I was able to settle down and played good holes and good shots. Still got myself 2 more 8s. Unreal. My drive was not good enough, period. But I finished with a par on 18. I was putting for birdie within 7 feet 2 times and did not make one. Same counts for par from up to 9 feet etc.

Also I need to mention that with 5 holes to go the horn blew because of thunder coming in. My partners said they want to finish. That really distracted me, but considering the fact that I did not hear thunder yet, I agreed. Lightning caused me to play  one 8 though and I was not happy about it.

What did I learn?
1. I need to play a practice round before playing ( this was a special event with short notice, so I was aware of the difficulty)
2. When wet and muddy, I really need to add a club to my irons and make sure I grip down a little. I am in the mud to deep.
3. I need to focus. Take my time even more in special conditions.
4. I need to pay on tougher courses and play the back tees or at least the second set of tees. That is the only way to work on distance. When you are forced , you will do.
5. Play my LW in the bunker if it is wet and hard. That will give me a chance to pop it up rather then to go over the green.
6. I am in good balance with myself. I was able to put for birdie right after playing an 8. So the score did not bother me too much. This is great news. My mental strength is good.

I had a good time and even though my score is not a winning score I can take some good things from this round and I learned more about myself. Every day I do and at times I am surprised while at other times I am not :).

One things is for sure. I know exactly where I belong and what I am supposed to be doing. Just a matter of working harder, moving on, find more ways to have more time to play and practice and to keep focus on what is important. The one thing we do not have is a master plan for what we do. No written down goal. So how in the world do we know what we are working on and when we are supposed to be there?

I will need to get this done. Next week I will focus on practice and play at Terra Ceia Bay Skipping play for 1 wee in competition. Also I will contact my possible future coach and enroll in the next Tournament of the Golf Channel Tour.

TPC Tampa Bay is a great and tough course, which helped me to understand better where I am with my plan and my game and what I need to do. Read the review about this course soon.

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