Monday, January 28, 2008

Round 1 Korean Tour

I imagine Q-School Round 1 was similar cycling a mountain range (not that I ever have). It started off warm at 9am. I felt cool and relaxed. I was at internal peace when I hit my opening tee shot down the middle on hole 10 (my first hole of the day). Holes 11-13 at this course are the most difficult and stressful as every shot you face hazards on all sides of your target. I played it cool through that stretch and made it through without any major setbacks. My emotions were very controlled and relaxed. Hole 14 is a long par 5 that played into a breeze today. I hoisted a 260 yard 3 wood into the air and onto the green in two, securing a birdie. Holes 15-16 I had two birdie opportunities inside 20 feet and left both hanging on the edge of the cup. Then started the climb up the range.

It was getting hotter, I had to wipe my brow before every shot, otherwise my eyes were filled with sweat. I hit two consecutive poor shots on 17 (my 8 hole) and suffered a buried lie in the bunker and finished with a bogey. 18 found me making a brilliant chip and putt to save par from behind the green. I made the turn, filled my bag with drinking water and carried on, making a birdie on my 10th hole. On my 12th (hole 3), I hit a drive that ran down a cart path and into a water drain...bogey. The following hole, I hit and 7 iron 30 yards off line, short-siding myself on a nasty slope in the rough. After a creative chip I made a 10 footer to save par. As I walked to the next tee I realized my bag was out of drinking waters. I had drank 1 per hole since making the turn and was now out. It was excessively hot being over 100 degrees and I had holes left. I made two bogeys in my next few holes and a pounding headache set in screaming dehydration. I was over par and overheated and still had more golf to play.

I found some shade, my heart was pounding and my hat was dripping wet. I toweled off and regrouped. I gave myself some perspective: this was only round 1 and right now could be the most important time of the tournament. This was a cross roads; I had negative thoughts rushing through my throbbing head. Everything was saying that this opportunity was slipping away and would continue to do so. I slowed my breathing to calm down and pretended it was cool and I had plenty of fluids in me. I only needed a few seconds to fool myself, just long enough to get a positive vision and a solid golf shot off.

I hit a wedge to 3 feet from the cup and made a birdie. On my 17th I wedged it to 4 feet and made birdie. On my closing hole I had a downhill 15 foot snake for birdie and hit it precisely in the center...mind over matter. I had faked myself out and closed with 3 birdies in my final 4 holes to shoot even par and keep myself in contention. More importantly, I was finished!! I could go drink some water!

I dont know how hot hell is, but if it is as hot Johor Bharu, Malaysia today, I may hang up the clubs and become a man of the cloth. I finished on a very postive note and expect to have as many birdies as drinking waters tomorrow. Talk to you then!

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