I woke up about an hour before my alarm was set to go off. In fact, I’m still 10 minutes ahead of the alarm. I made sure I got to bed nice and early last night so I can be rested for round one of today’s Salt Lake City Amateur at one of my home courses, Bonneville. This is the biggest tournament of the year for me. This one is the one I want to perform well the most. I’m not lumping my club championship in though, a totally different deal. I’m sure I’ll post an update later stating how well I played and if I have time, write some highlights or even hole by hole. As has gone in years past, I’ll write more if I play well.
Last year I placed the highest I’ve ever placed at T10. I hope to top that this year.
I’ve been practicing my rear end off this past few weeks to get ready for this one. My scores though, have been pretty bad and haven’t shown any results except one round where I shot a -4 68. My recent scores haven’t been close, but parts of my game have felt great at different times. My driving and putting is fairly solid and the irons and short game have been the weakness. If I can hit a fair share of greens my good putting will take care of my scores. If I miss greens, I need to depend on my short game to save pars. The short game has been tough and they grow the rough out very thick in this tournament. I’ve spent quite a bit of time working on technique for dealing with chipping from thick lies, so we will see if I can execute those shots when the time comes…and it will.
This tournament is a gag fest. Many players flame out. The course is set up tough. They harden the greens and make them very fast. Being above any hole is death. The fairways are narrowed and the rough is grown in and very thick. In essence, they “U.S. Openize” the course. This is a two-day endurance test. I WILL make bogeys and maybe even a double or two. I’m going to stay relaxed and calm, regardless of those scores.
The key is to play conservative for most of the holes just trying to hit fairways and greens. I’ll be aiming for the fat part of most greens unless I have a complete green light special. There are a couple of holes I will play aggressively, like the 1st and 16th (par-5′s) which won’t penalize aggressive shots which aren’t perfect. Holes like #9, one of the toughest par-3′s in the state, require conservative play.
I had a good practice session last night in the ball striking department. I worked though the whole bag, figured out a few issues I’ve been dealing with. I started finding the center of the club face, which is good. I also worked on my fairway and hybrid play, which has been good off the ground but strangely not off of the tee. It seems that I can almost hit both better without a tee. At the end of the session I hit a bunch of lob wedges, 40-50-60-70-80-90-100 yards.
Two days ago I spent a couple of hours practicing chipping. I’ll do some more this morning before the round begins.
As Rickie Fowler says, “Its GO TIME.”