Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sweet Carolinas

Five consecutive weeks on the roadin the books!!!!

This was the brunt of our season and I’m happy to say that I survived and finished the long trip off with a bang.

I last left yall in Asheville, NC. It was my first tournament with my new long-term caddy Benito.  I didn’t care for how I was hitting my irons in Asheville but I made some fun putts with him leading the way for me.  We experienced crazy weather in the mountains.  0% chance of rain yet it down poured on us and I made a rookie mistakeI totally left my umbrella in the car.  I also played in 30-degree weather, which I haven’t felt since college days.  It was kind of nice to wear pants and a beanie and see my breath in the cold mountain air.  I think I managed to lose my tan just a bit. I got beat by a ton of strokes but in my heart I knew that I was sooo close!  I finished in the top 30 and headed over to Charlotte for our last event in May.

Charlotte is one of two cities where I stay with host housing throughout the season.  I love a hotel but my family in Charlotte is wonderful and is always supportive, no matter where I am playing in the country.   They share a love of red wine with me so we polished off a few bottles this past week while having some great conversations.  Charlotte was a three-day event with a Thursday start.  I did not have many days to spare so Benito and I got right to work first thing Monday morning.  I love practice rounds with him.  They are very productive and with a purpose.  I won’t share my secrets with what we do and not many people will get to see it because I either play solo or with just one other player.  Three’s a crowd, especially with caddies and entourages and balls flying everywhere on greens.  You can’t get anything done when you’re ducking from chip shots and jumping over putts all day.

I put in great quality time hitting shots on the range to orange cones from 40-100 yards.  It paid off. In my pro am on Tuesday I was paired with a group from Coca Cola.  I holed out for eagle from 73 yards on our first hole and again from 55 yards on the 10th hole.  The pro am team loved that!  I also stuck a 95-yard shot to inches that same day.  Practice does pay off when it’s with a purpose.  My team from Coca Cola was wonderful and one of the guys, Jim Curl, came out to watch me for 3 days in a row!  I am so thankful when people choose me to follow and especially when they are genuinely pulling for me.  I’ve been so blessed week in and week out for a pro am teammate or teammates to do just that.  It means more to me than they can imagine.  It is a lonely life we lead and to build relationships on the road is so valuable and meaningful to me.  My Charlotte family Al and Debbie followed me as well and were so sweet to battle the heat and hills for me. 

The Symetra Tour plays Raintree Country Club in Charlotte, NC.  It is the third year we have played there and it is a course I feel comfortable on.  It reminds me a lot of the country club I grew up on in Oklahoma City, The Greens.  It sprawls throughout a neighborhood with out of bounds on every corner.  You have to shape and place your shots off the tee and approaches.  I love that! I love flinging a driver high left to right around a corner.  You have to have imagination and trust in yourself that you can shape your shots.  It makes the course a lot shorter when you can do that with a driver. I started off the round with a 4 under 68. That included a 3-putt bogey and a chunked hybrid into the water for a double bogey early in my round.  I made sooooo many putts thanks to my awesome caddy Benito.  I have full trust in him.  It proved so on my last hole of the first day

I have been paired with my friend Mallory Blackwelder the last 4 out of 5 rounds.  We were tied going into the final hole on the first round.  I put my tee shot 20 feet away and she put hers in the rough. As we walked to the green I said,” you better chip in because I’m making mine.”  That way we would be paired again today for 5 in a row.  She definitely tried making it but left it a few feet away.  This is where I have full trust in my caddy Benito.  I had no doubt my ball was going to move huge right to left towards the water.  When he looked at the line and came back to me he had a huge smile on his face and said, “I can’t believe it! I waited til the last hole to get my best read!” (in a cute Mexican accent.)  He said, “left edge.” I said, “ain’t no way.” He said, “believe me. Trust it.” So here I am over the ball thinking how embarrassing this is going to be when I lose this ball 8 feet low and left of the hole on a 20-foot putt.  As soon as I struck it, the ball surprised me and climbed the hill right and at the very end moved left to finish in the center of the cup.  I gave him the biggest high five he has probably ever received.  Benito is GOOD!

I had a boring middle round shooting 70 with one bogey and 3 birdies.  I was putting myself to sleep out there since I had 7 birdies the previous day and only had 3 on the second day.  I hit it solid but just did not get my putts to the hole coming in.  I sat one shot back going in to the final round and was paired with my good friend Mallory Blackwelder and Emily Talley.  We had a huge following from the get go which was a lot of fun.  I played extremely solid hitting every green but one (statistically I hit 15 but two of them I had a putter on the fringe.)  I made NOTHING.  Granted, I did not have a ton of five-foot birdie putts but I was hitting lips and edges all dang day.  With Benito, I believe I can make any length putt which is an amazing feeling.

Mallory played beautifully all week but it was an almost perfect round for her in the final round.  Mallory apparently is not a scoreboard watcher because on 17 fairway she asked us if we saw her shielding herself from the board. I said, “You didn’t look? You don’t know? Well, I’m kicking your ass!” (She knew I was 3 shots back of her.)  I know how stressful it is coming down the stretch in the lead so a smile was what she needed.  I never gave up.  On 16 I thought I can hole out here and on 17 and on 18.  I had faith until the very last shot but Mallory ended up winning by 2 shots and I genuinely was happy for her.  She has put in so many years just like I have and she flat out won yesterday. She was one of the girls who dumped a ton of water on me when I won in March but since we were in the same group yesterday, I couldn’t do that (plus the final group behind us had to finish the last hole) so I gave her a big ol hug as she was bawling.  I am very proud of the Symetra Tour in that we are one big family.  We are very competitive and we want to kick each other’s butts but at the end of the day, we can all go have dinner and drinks and remain friends.  Golf is our way of living and our dream but at the end of the day, the relationships and experiences are that much more valuable.   I believe that when we are 80 years old we aren’t going to remember bogeying a hole here or there, we are going to remember the friendships and good times.  I wish more people adopted the Symetra Tour players’ attitudes. 

After saying all of that, it sounds like I am a soft competitor. I am far from that. I hate to lose. After tasting victory a few months ago, this 4th place finish is not rewarding.  I couldn’t fall asleep last night because I kept replaying my three rounds in my head, correcting where I could have done better.  I somehow fell asleep and woke up at 3am with the tournament as the first thing on my mind.  I hate losing.  In golf, we lose a ton more than we win and that is the cruelty of our sport.  We are never going to play a perfect round but that is also the beauty in it.  We can always improve yet never catch perfection.  I could not go back to sleep so I got up and drove to the airport at 330am.  I am currently en route back to Phoenix for 7 FULL DAYS!!!  I will be laying in my pool in less than three hours (not that I am counting.) I am taking Memorial Day weekend off from golf but will get back after it Tuesday as I have my US Open qualifier Wednesday in Scottsdale at Country Club of DC Ranch.  It is a huge goal of mine to play in many US Opens but this one especially as I love Pinehurst.  It will be a win-win situation, I’ll either play in the US Open or I’ll play in South Bend for Symetra Tour’s second biggest.  It will work out the way it is supposed to. 

Thanks to everyone who spent many hours the past 5 weeks watching me live, walking the hills and enduring the heat, living and dying by every shot of mine.  Thanks to everyone who watched live scoring and cursed when the bogeys appeared and cheered when the circles popped up.  I can only imagine how stressful watching live scoring is.  Support is not a given and there are a ton of people who do not understand what I am setting out to do but for the MANY who do understand, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It keeps me believing and keeps my eye on the prize.  Eleven more events this yearSitting 5th on the money list.  I am so thankful to have Benito as my teammate for the rest of the year.  Good things are to come! 

What I’m Reading: The Match by Mark Frost

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Beautiful Places and Spaces

Five weeks on the road is long for anyone. I’ve done it once before in 2012 when I played on the European Tour and swore there was no way I would ever do it again.  Never say never. I’m currently in my 4th week and am counting down the days until I get to land back in Phoenix land.

Our stint began in Sarasota, FL, moved down to Ft. Myers, FL, flew up to Greenwood, SC, currently in Asheville, NC, and ending in Charlotte, NC.  My first two Florida events were uneventful unfortunately.  I was coming off my first win on the Symetra Tour and had high hopes but realistic expectations. Unfortunately I did not execute as well as I would have liked and finished both tournaments in the top 25.  Playing poorly yet finishing in the top 25 doesn’t feel good in the moment but in the grand scheme of things, it’s all about making money and being in the top 10 on the money list, period. 

Last week was our biggest event in Symetra Tour history.  The winner was awarded $30,000, which is close to double what our normal winning paychecks are.  There was a lot of money to be taken and I unfortunately played like a 20 handicap. I had great intentions, a smart game plan, but there are weeks when it just does not happen for you.  I had Billy fly over from Phoenix to caddy for me.  It was the halfway point in my long trip and I knew it was important for my happiness to see him then.  Poor guy, he saw some ugly golf out of me. I made the cut but didn't make enough putts for it to amount to much.

I drove up the mountain to Asheville this past Monday and have really enjoyed my time this week.  I would recommend this town to anybody. It is such a great vacation spot, very relaxing, a ton of restaurants and things to do.  It is a very free and liberal town so you might see some topless girls walking down the street or some illegal things going on during the daytime but it’s just a great spot. 

The biggest thing I have been lacking in my team is a consistent tour caddy.  I am very picky with who I have on my bag and who helps me along the way.  I believe I have one of the best yardage books and course managements out there but I want someone to be with me week in and week out who can help me succeed.  A tour caddy who is loyal to their player is a huge advantage and is like a 15th club.  They know what to say to their player, when to say it, when to be quiet, when to be vocal, when to give their player food and drink, and above all, makes the player’s life easy. 

I remember when I fired my first caddy after using the fraud for 18 holes.  It took me HOURS to call the stranger and tell him it’s just not working out. Five years later I now know how to wear the pants and call the shots.  A lot of caddies step in and run the show and forget that the player is the boss.  I have had a very few caddies who I have been waiting on to become available.  By the grace of God things worked out for me this past Sunday when I was just beginning to feel a little uneasy about my putting game.  I have hired a caddy from Me-He-Co and is the best green reader in the game! It has been so fun this week in our practice rounds and pro am for him to tell me where to hit the putt and bam, it goes in. He has been in the heat of the battle and has been a friend of mine for a long time.  I am very thankful for the opportunity and I hope to make the most of our time.  My hope is that we work well together during tournament play and that we can have a long-lasting working relationship.

The Friends of Mission Charity Classic begins tomorrow and I am looking forward to playing.  I took Monday and today off so that I can get excited about having a golf club in my hand.  I had quality practice days this week and plan to have quality rounds this weekend.  Asheville will have much cooler temps that I have not felt since Christmas in Oklahoma.  I will definitely be the Arizona girl with my beanie and long johns on.  I might even lose my tan!  I gotta finish strong these next two weekends so I can go home to Phoenix a happy girl.  My new website will be finished very soon and this blog site will soon transfer over to that one.

What I’m Reading: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sarasota, FL

The victory is still sweet.  It’s been almost a month since I won but dang, I am still smiling.  It was a great week and turned out to be an even better week when I got home to Arizona.  I was playing in a practice round for the US Open Qualifier at DC Ranch in Scottsdale and I made a hole-in-one from 203 yards.  Ping i20 4 hybrid.  I didn’t even hit it that great.  The pin was tucked back behind a bunker and I knew it was either in the hole or over the green. The greens were extremely firm and no one really paid attention to my “that might be in” comment.  As we drove around to the back of the green I saw no ball so I ran out of the cart without a putter and sprinted towards the cup.  I peeked in. Ball! There was paint on the ball from it banging into the pin.  It had some steam on it.  I was being hosted by a Canadian couple who I had just met 30 minutes prior.  I get a little loud on hole-in-ones (3 in the last 9 months; 4 total) but thankfully they were just as excited as I was.  After that round, I needed to take a break from golf.

Since the win, I’ve been in countless airplanes and hotel rooms. It’s the story of my life.  The Tour had three weeks off and I chose to continue traveling.

Billy and I went to Vegas for the American Country Music Awards.  We were originally only going to be there for 24 hours but upon arriving, we were given free tickets to the Tribute to the Troops filming so we decided to stay an extra night.  I was able to see my man Keith Urban two nights in a row!  What more does a girl need?  We flew back to Phoenix at six on a Tuesday morning, arrived an hour later, drove home, unpacked, repacked, and I was back at the airport to head to OKC that afternoon.  Insane. So much for rest.  I visited the family for a few days and got to see my sweet baby niece who is getting so much older!!  Being an aunt is very important to me and I am doing my best to see her every two months or so.  I want her to know me and know how much I cherish and love her. 

I spent one week home in Phoenix to practice hard and get the cobwebs off my golf game.  I had taken 10 days off from the game and it was much needed.  I was able to lay out in my swimming pool a few afternoons and attend my church CCV for Easter Sunday. 

I flew out the day after Easter for a 5-week stint.  That’s a long time to be gone from home.  It’s an even longer time gone with each week dedicated to a golf tournament.  My first week on the road just ended in Sarasota, FL. We had the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay CC.  It is a 1926 Donald Ross design.  Typical insane greens so I got a lot of good chipping practice in.  I gave it my best but had too many unforced errors aka three putts.  I believe I had 6 three putts and shot 6 over.  That hurts.  I fought hard and had a ton of great par saves but it wasn’t my week to really get into contention.  I finished t-24th and dropped down to the 3rd spot on the money list.  47 more golf rounds this season…

I drove down to Ft. Myers, FL tonight and checked into my hotel and made my new “home” home.  It’s important to me to get settled in and put all my things where they belong in a hotel room.  It is not fun digging out of a suitcase all week and I like to make it as cozy as possible.  The majority of girls on Tour either stay in host housing or share a hotel with another player.  I LOVE staying by myself.  I can easily entertain myself and I love my “me time.”  I shy away from the “locker room” talk that almost always leads to negative golf talk so I prefer staying by myself.  I feel like I can play my best when I go this route. 

Tomorrow I am rating Calusa Pines in Naples, FL. It is ranked in the Top 100 on the Golf Digest List.  I try my best to sneak away on my days off and knock out as many Top 100 courses as I can.  This will be a fun round and not one I’m trying to grind to post a score.  It’ll be another busy tournament week on a new course for the Symetra Tour.  I am happy to be in a new town that I can discover and make some time for the beach.  I’m looking forward to a new week and planning on making it a more successful one than the last.

Thanks for your continued support! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Victory Tastes Sweet!

Today was dreamlike.

The feeling and experiences of today are something I want to bottle up and be able to feel over and over again.

It’s hard for me to put into words how much today’s performance meant to me.  Five years as a professional golfer. I’ve won a few times in the past on the Cactus Tour in Phoenix but this was my biggest win to date. And finally my biggest paycheck to date! (The prior one was my first ever-professional tournament in May 2009!)  This was a long time coming and how it happened was exactly how I would want it to happen.  I truly believe God wanted me to wait and taste contention, taste nerves, go through some poor decisions and disappointing times to be able to APPRECIATE today and this weekend’s performance.  Everything happens for a reason. I’m a truly believer in that statement.

I’ve had a small amount of important people in my life tell me to walk away from my dream…To go get a real job…that professional golf isn’t a job. But I have had a HUGE amount of people believe in me and understand what I am trying to achieve and because of them, I carried on and pushed forward.  This victory represents those people who have remained unconditional and supportive.

My college Coach Carol Ludvigson told us that we should always be prepared to give our victory speech.  She even went on to say we should practice it in the mirror everyday so that when we give our actual victory speech we will have already been there a million times.  For some reason, I thought of her early in the week and wrote out a speech so that I would be prepared.  I put it in my golf bag in a small moleskin journal and didn’t know when I would pull it back out for it to be used.  The creases were hardly permanent…it was hardly in there 5 days.  Maybe I should’ve written that a long time ago!

Another neat story concerning today is about Carl “Caddie Machine” Laib.  Carl is pretty much my grandpa even though he probably thinks he has a chance at dating me : ) Carl caddied for a number of years on the LPGA for names such as Patty Sheehan, Betsy King, Wendy Ward and many other well-known, talented players.  He took me under his wing when I moved out to Phoenix in 2011 and taught me so much about course management, what to look for on a golf course, how to fix my yardage books just right, and how to believe in myself.  We have gone through a lot together and we are each other’s family.  Carl decided to show up to one of my Cactus Tour events early this spring, unannounced.  He handed me this old, flattened, folded $2 bill. Carl wanted me to have it because it had been in his money clip the past 25+ years.  He received it at a Ft. Lauderdale airport snack shop and went on to win that weekend with Betsy King.  Carl never took that $2 bill out of his money clip and went on to win 35 times with it.  So he thought I should have it.  I was more than humbled and it’s been in my wallet ever since.  I’m so scared to lose it!  I almost always leave my wallet in my car when I play (Don’t break into my car people!!!)  Last night I decided to risk it and put that $2 bill in the back pocket of my yardage book cover.  I’m a Jesus believer but this $2 bill thing…I don’t know whether to be scared of it’s power or to carry it with me every single day of my life.  It’s got unreal mojo!

I was caddy-less heading over to Florida two weeks ago.  I had no clue who was going to carry my bag or if I was going to have to carry it myself so I took a chance and just brought my Ping Hoofer carry bag.  I ended up having Upstate Jay on my bag last week in Lake Wales and of course he had wished I brought the staff bag.  But like I said, I had no clue if I was going to have a caddy the second week!  I was having dinner three weeks ago in Phoenix with Courtney Trimble, friend and Head Women’s Golf Coach at the University of Louisville.  She used to coach at UCF in Orlando and knows a ton of people in the golf world.  I begged her to find me someone to tote the bag in Longwood.  She and her assistant coach Mary Bryan thought of the most wonderful, skilled, experienced woman caddy, Debbie Raso, “Ras.”  I thank God for her.  The stars aligned for us to meet.  I knew right off the bat it was going to be a fun week and no matter the final result, I was going to learn a ton.  Debbie played in the 80s but caddied more in her days.  She gave it up a number of years ago to work in corporate America.  I met her last Thursday as she caddied for me in a pro am.  I played solid and we got a game plan down.  Words can’t explain how thankful I am for her dedication and belief in me after only meeting for a few days.  I know we will be friends for life and I sure hope to have her on my bag a ton more in the future.  Ras wore her Louisville Women’s Golf t-shirt underneath her sweater today so I know that brought us good luck.  She won’t claim it but I owe so much to her for this win!

I started the final round three shots back of the leader.  I’d like to think none of the focus was on me.  I was paired with a Gator and a Longhorn…I think God had something to do with that as well. The Gator put it in the junk on the first swing of the day and I belted one day the fairway.  I missed my 10-foot birdie putt but knew there was so much golf left.  Patience.  I stuck it on the second hole with a 9 iron and made that for birdie.  Solid start. The third was my unforced error of the day….98 yards into the wind.  I tried to hit my 55 degree up there but tugged it and missed it left of the green.  I short sided myself with an almost impossible chip. Bogey. Danget. Oh well, tons more golf left to be played.  From holes four through nine I hit fairways, I hit greens and I left almost all of my 10-15 foot birdie putts short and in the heart.  I wasn’t thrilled and knew that if I was going to contend in this thing I had to make putts.  I was hitting it way too good for some to not drop. 

Then the back nine occurred.

The tenth is a par 5 that I decided to play three shots to get to the green. I can play conservative yet still birdie with a wedge in my hand. I laid up to a nice 85 yards but there wasn’t a whole lot of green to work with with a false front and a short right pin but I clipped it perfectly and stuck it inside my playing partners to a foot or two. Birdie.

Eleven is a longer par 3 that I hit a solid 5 hybrid (yes I use a 5 hybrid to all you haters who make fun of me.) Two putt par. 

Twelve is when things started to change. Gator hit it OB. Door started to creep.  I truly had no clue what anyone was shooting even though I kept all of our scores.  I didn’t know what I was even shooting!  Ignorance is bliss to me.  I hit a drive down there center of the fairway but had a thin lie.  I needed to hit a solid 9 iron to carry the front (131 yards) and be below the pin for an uphill birdie putt. Otherwise I was going to miss short and most likely plug into the front bunker. Shots were plugging all over the place this week so I couldn’t miss short.  Mission accomplished and guess what? I FINALLY MADE A PUTT! That was nice. On to the par 5 thirteenth.

Yesterday I got greedy here and tried to go for the green in two.  I don’t miss my fairway woods left but there was mud on the ball and it missed left. Water. Bogey. So today I knew that unless there was a strong wind with me I was going to play this hole in three shots. I hit a nice, choke gap wedge 98 yards (choke means gripped or grip down, NOT choke, flop, suck, which some people consider) and made that 10-foot birdie putt.  At that moment I had the first inkling that “hey, maybe I could contend and give this tournament a go.”

I really, really had to pee but my caddie Ras has this theory that if you pee before you hit a tee shot, bad things are to come so I got up to the tee box quickly and hit a great drive down the fourteenth fairway and then I was able to pee!  I hit a 7 iron that I started out right of the pin and it never drew in. Bunker.  I love bunkers!!! It was my first time to get in a bunker for the tournament and I proceeded to hit it to inches. Tap in par. No stress. Move on to fifteen.

Par 3, 170 yards, slight breeze into. The pin is tucked right over a 10-yard carry from the front.  I hit a 5 hybrid and hit it a little thin but right at the pin.  It turned out perfectly and finished two feet away from the pin.  There are no pictures on a scorecard!  Made that putt for birdie. I had to pee again but couldn’t use the Porto potty in between the holes because I had to go tee off first since that was Debbie’s superstition and it was way too far to go tee off and run back to the pot. I’ll hold it I guess to keep my attention on my bladder and not on golf.  There are more issues going on out there than what the spectators see :)

Sixteen is not an easy par 5.  It is a demanding tight tee shot and the hole moves big around a corner left to right.  I hit one of my best drives of the day there.  Laid up with a 5 hybrid that I kind of skanked again to be honest.  I am slightly a perfectionist when it comes to ball contact so it was actually a pretty good shot to the normal eye.  I hit it too far and ended up 75 yards to the pin instead of my preferred 85.  I had a little wind with me and the Longhorn had already stuck it up there to a few feet left.  Ras told me to aim at her ball and see it suck right and go in. My balls suck left but I said “ok!”  I was a little torn whether to hit 60 or 55 degree but thought I’m going to have no regrets.  I chose the 55 knowing if I hit it good the worst thing is I’ll be past the hole putting back, no biggie.  Well, when I hit it, it started out right at the hole.  One bounce. Bottom of the cup.  I gave her the hardest high five, a smile and a few adult words in celebration.  I never hole out from the fairway for eagle. I’ve only had 3 hole in ones and two double eagles so I didn’t know the rule…was I to run up there and go get the ball before the Gator hit or should I leave it in there and if she holes out on top of me, does she get extra points?  Oh wait, we weren’t playing a putting game. Gator said “this is overkill.” Both playing partners were extremely gracious and complimentary of my shot. 

Seventeen is a good par 4. Tight off the tee. Trees on the right with some white OB stakes and left is water.  I hit one of my best 3 woods hard down the fairway.  I didn’t know scores until I walked down seventeen fairway and saw that I had a four shot lead with two to play.  I discussed with my caddie that from previous experience I have adrenaline and that we should possibly factor that in.  I had about 170 yards to the pin with a tiny breeze into me.  I thought of 6 iron but she said “no that’s not going to be enough” so I choked a 5 hybrid and hit it about 178 yards and it stopped on the back left fringe.  Par. Gator chipped in. Three shot lead. One hole left.

As I’m making the walk to the 18th tee, volunteers are giving me high fives saying “congrats, way to go.”  Now I know better than to surrender and celebrate then.  I saw Annie Giangrosso and a few other rules officials watching from afar giving me hand gestures and I knew they were happy for me.  That was cool.

The eighteenth is a par 3 that I had stuck close the previous two rounds. Ras and I had put it in our appointment books that we were going to ace it to finish.  After seeing the shot go in at the sixteenth, I had a ton of belief.  I told her “I’m juicy” on eighteen tee meaning, “I’ve got some juices flowing, a tiny bit of adrenaline.” We hit the 6 iron but I threw it way too high in the air and came up short. The Gator and Longhorn followed me short.  I had about a 10 yard chip and I could feel with my feet that the green was soft. That definitely worked in my favor because I had to carry quite a bit of grass before it needed to hit and stop.  I threw the chip to a foot and I marked.  Gator and Longhorn finished with pars and I made the one-foot putt.  Done. Breathe.

I had Sara Brown, Calle Nielson, and Mallory Blackwelder run up on the eighteenth green and douse me with a ton of water bottles.  I was in a white polo and clearly did not think about that this morning when I got dressed.  I was honestly down to my last outfit since we finished on Monday.

This day was special and a day I will never forget.  Shooting six under on my final nine holes, having only nine putts in my final nine holes and winning by three shots is cool. I have watched so many people do it.  I thought all week “there has to be a winner in this tournament, why not me?” Lately I have noticed how nerves and fear can affect the brain that affects the body. We hit great tee shots and great iron shots all day everyday. We hit great chip shots and great putts all the time but when we do it a lot in a row, sometimes we put ourselves in contention where everyone so desires to be.  Why do nerves automatically go down the path to negativity, which leads to the body reacting in a different and tight, negative way? I played a ton of mind games with myself this week and I can proudly say I could feel my hands and extremities on the final hole, on the final putt. 

I am so thankful for the wonderful, crazy amount of people who are in my life. It’s ridiculous how many of you there are and I am so, so, so appreciative.  That is the word to sum up the week.

I thank my Lord, Jesus Christ. My dad always said my brother and I had God-given talent. I want to use my talents to the best of my ability for Him.

I thank Billy, my rock, my support, my heart.  I cannot wait to come home and celebrate.  I wish more than anything that he could’ve been here this weekend.  He will experience it one day I hope.

I thank Charlie and Cassie. My number one supporters.  Their generosity has allowed me to live out my dream for so many years and I will forever be indebted to them.  Truly some of the best people I know.
I thank Harold Copeland, Gregg Wadley, John Semcken and Pacific Palms Resort for being tremendous supporters. I could not have done it all these years without you and I am so grateful for your friendship.

I thank the Crew for ALWAYS being there for me. They are my backbone, my sounding board, my venting system, my everything!

I thank Ping for equipping me with the best clubs in the business. No doubt I have the best tools in my bag and I have so much faith in them.  Thank you for your support and friendships!

I thank Titleist for suiting me up with the best golf ball in the world.  ProV1 has been my stability all of these years and I really appreciate the ongoing support and relationship.

I thank the Greens Country Club and the Raven Golf Club for allowing me to have a golf home.  The Greens in Oklahoma City has been my home since 1995 and it is where I learned to love and improve and grow.  This win is for you all!

I thank Brent Cryer from the Greens Country Club.  I’ve known him for nearly twenty years and he has believed in me since day one.  We shared a pretty awesome moment earlier today that I’ll never forget.  I cannot wait to celebrate with you when I come home next week!!!

I want to thank Carl Laib for being my CFM and my biggest cheerleader. I have learned so much from you and cherish your friendship.  Can’t wait to celebrate with you Wednesday!!!  Am I bringing you lunch?

I want to thank Ras for being the most awesome caddie this weekend.  What an experience that was for me to have you next to me all of those shots!  I learned so much and had such a blast with you.  Let’s do it again!!!

My family and friends who have believed in me and have never given up on me --- THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU!