As you can guess by the title, I came painfully close to winning my first event in 4 years this past Friday. Thursday and Friday was the first Platinum event on the Great Lakes Tour this year and I finished 2nd, letting the victory slip away from my firm grasp.
After a first round 69, I was co-leader at 3 under par. The round was a very solid day, extremely low stress. I hit it will, made 5 birdies, 2 bogeys and had many other looks at birdie that just narrowly missed finding the bottom of the cup. Heading into round 2, I knew that if I repeated my performance from day 1, I’d be hard to catch.
Round 2 was much of the same as round 1. I hit it well, stayed extremely patient and relaxed. I never took on a shot I wasn’t comfortable with and just had it grooving out there. A birdie on 2 and 7 had me turn at 5 under for the event and with a 3 stroke lead. A birdie on 12 got my lead up to 4. I bogeyed 13 and at the time the nearest guy to me had birdied 16 to pull within 2(which I didn’t know). He then birdied 17 to get to 4 under and 1 behind me.
I didn’t know my lead was 1 standing on the 15th tee, I just knew that if I parred in I’d likely grab the win. I made a good par on 15 and on the par 5 16th, a little adrenaline had my rescue from 245 go over the green into a tough up and down for birdie. But, a par was still what I needed. An 8 footer left on the lip on 17 really sucked, but a tap in par was still good to get me to the final hole. On the tee, I asked the tour what my lead was. I felt I needed to know so I could make a plan for the tough par 3 18th. If I was tied or even 1 back, it would have called for an aggressive approach.
I got word I had a 1 stroke lead. It didn’t phase me, the task was to hit the green, my 16th in regulation of the day. I made a poor swing on a hole with a small margin for error and hit my 5 iron in the water. It sucked to see it splash but I knew I wasn’t out of it yet. I could drop and make my bogey and get a playoff.
I hit my wedge from 130 yards to 15 feet. The putt missed on the left side and my hope for a victory was dashed. I couldn’t help but laugh at the timing of my screw up. I made the 4 footer coming back and grabbed a solo 2nd, still my best result in 4 years on the GLT.
I learned so much over those 36 holes! I learned is that my game is in a place to get me in contention every time I tee it up…I’m doing a lot of the right things out there. Bigger than that, I learned that my mental game, emotions, attitude, and focus are strong enough to handle those situations.
Believe me, I’ll be back in that situation again, very soon and very often.