Two years ago when the RBC Canadian Open was held at St. Georges in Toronto, the qualifier was at Bond Head and I knew no matter what my game was feeling like, it would ultimately equal a long drive home to Waterdown and not down the 400 to Islington Avenue. I chose to pass on it and save my money. Last year I didn't commit to the qualifier due to the fact that the Monday Qualifier would be played in B.C. if I so happened to get through that far.
Anyway, I once stated that I would not play Bond Head unless I had to. So I guess you can say that my mind was defeated long before I got there on Wednesday morning. I was up three times in the middle night listening to my teething twin boys, and a costly error of not getting overnight diapers lead to a 2am pee through and I'm not sure if I was even awake when I changed the diaper. Nonetheless, I was up and on the road at 6am and wanted to get to the club early so I could go through a nice long warm up and short game session.
My tee time was 10:24 and I was paired with Danny King the #2 ranked player in the PGA of Canada player rankings and Ken Tarling who's our reigning PGA of Ontario player of the year. On the range that morning I went through a great warm up session and hit solid shots and felt extremely excited about my prospects of maybe this time I will tame this beast.
I don't know why, but through my first month of competition this year I've stepped on the first couple holes feeling very nervous and it's not because of my competitors. It's because of the lack of playing. Then on the first hole after a nice tee shot, I'm in small sand filled divot. Add nerves to a shot not practiced and you get a nice chunk into the hazard and an opening bogey. I followed that up with two well struck shots and a three putt at #2. I flushed a 5 iron that flew right over the flag and over the green and a tap in bogey on the par three third. 3 over par after three holes. Then all those great feelings on the range were gone. I knew this was going to be a tough round for me.
One thing that's imperative at Bond Head is a good start. If you can get to the first par 5 at even or under par, you have a good chance at doing something good. but scraping pars out at holes 4, 5, and 6 made the par five 7th a must birdie. I hit my tee shot right, wedged it out of knee high fescue, hit three wood just off the green, made a wonderful pitch and tapped in for a scrambling par. I made bogey at eight. I step up to nine, a mid length par 5. I rip my drive and go for the green in two. I had 228 yards to the front of the green and hit my second into the green side bunker. Not a bad place to be...right? well maybe if there was actually sand in it. I made six and shot 41. My back nine was even more of an adventure and in the end all my strokes added up to 85. It got so bad out there, I had to step back on one tee and count up my shots on the last hole. That's not really something that's happened in my professional career very much.
Nonetheless, I take all the positives I can. I made some great up and downs mid way through the front nine, and even hit my driver extremely well at times. I need to make a change in my attitude and think my way through things a little more thoroughly while I'm out playing. This will be my main focus at my next event on Monday. It's not that I'm thinking negative out there, but more like not thinking well in most situations. I've drifted away from thinking and visualizing positive results. My connection with the target is extremely low right now. Someone close to me asked me "What are you thinking over a shot?" I said "I don't know... but I know it's not nothing."
My next event is Monday June 4th for the Golden Horseshoe Tour Event #3 at Glendale Golf & Country Club in Hamilton ON. I will get a little practice in tomorrow and in the morning on Monday. I will be ready to go and as Brandon Morrow of the Toronto Blue Jays said after a recent poor start "Today didn't even happen.. That's all I have to say."
Statistics From Bond Head
Fairways: 7/14 (50%)
Greens: 5/18 (27.8%)
Scrambling: 4/13 (30.7%)
Sand Saves: 0/3