It was a chilly morning that caused frost to cover Carlsbad, California, on Thursday, and I was eager to get the juices flowing again under the gun. As I warmed up, I saw some friends that, unfortunately, I have not seen in a while. As the jokes were passed between old pals, time quickly went by and soon it was time for me to get back to work and prepare for the day ahead of me. I could feel the jitters as I stood on the first tee ready for the starter to introduce our group and let us rip our first tee shots. I was the first to tee off. I stood and stared down the first fairway knowing that I was going to pump one out there and leave myself a wedge to the green. I gathered my emotions, took a few deep breaths, and hit a tight draw that left me about 50 yards to the green. I picked up my tee with a smile and we were off!
I got off to a hot start, going 3 under for my first 5 holes, which included an eagle 3 on the par 5 2nd hole, and after a few good ups and downs, I made birdie on the par 5-5th hole. Sometimes getting into that position early in the round after not playing competitively in a month or so, can cause a stir in the mind. I’m not afraid to admit that my heart rate was pumping and I got a bit ahead of myself. I proceeded to make a few poor swings and a 3 putt that quickly took me from 3 under back to even par after my front side. I was not out of it…this was the same course that I shot 30 on the back side when I was 6 down with 9 to play…not even 5 weeks ago. I made a few solid pars on 10 and 11, and then made a solid birdie on the par 4 12th hole. I had been putting myself in solid position off the tee all day and knew that I had some holes ahead of me that I could take advantage of. I missed a 12 footer on the 13th for birdie, and then followed it up with another sloppy 3 putt on the par 4 14th. Even par, as I stood on the 15th tee box feeling I needed birdies on the final 4 holes to qualify, I hit a big drive to the front edge of the green and got it up and down for birdie. “Ok”, I thought–here we go. But to my dismay I failed to birdie the par 5 16th hole, and missed a 15 footer for birdie on the par 3 17th. Still being one under for the day I had the idea in my mind that anything can happen still. Eagle on 18 would have me finished at 3 under 69–I still thought that 4 under would be the score since that is what it took the previous day, but I still put my nose to the grindstone and prepared to get myself in position again to get home in two on the par 5 18th. Unfortunately, I was unable to make eagle and my par on the last put me too far back to make it to final qualifying for the Farmers Insurance Open. 1 under 71 was not enough to qualify for one of the 7 spots in the 90 man field. Still, it was not a negative day for me. I obviously did not have the best day out there due to some shaky iron play, and a cold putter, but the score I posted was a positive in my mind. To not have my best stuff and post an under par round means the work I have been putting in is paying off.
Remember…take the little things from what you do, even though sometimes its hard to find positive out of a situation that might seem negative.