Originally Posted by Big C
Updating my prior post, I competed in my match play tournament yesterday. Those of you who have played the format know that it can be mentally draining and yesterday was no exception. I lost my first match 3 & 2, a round one exit to a tournament that I almost won last year. Unfortunately, I can't say that I deserved a better result
The match started out poorly when I hit a bad drive and a bad approach to go 1 down on the first hole, which hurt my confidence. For the next several holes, I couldn't find my swing. Every full shot (and I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE) was either a dead pull left or a pull hook. That tends to be my go-to miss when I get tense, and yesterday started out as poorly as any round in recent memory. By the end of 6 holes, I was already down 4, and it was only a long par saving putt from the fringe that kept me from being 5 down.
Thankfully, my opponent made bogey on a fairly easy par 5, giving me my first hole of the match. My swing then returned to some extent, and I played the very tough 8 & 9 holes at 1-under, winning both.
Miraculously, I was only down 1 through 9, and made the turn feeling like I had the momentum. On the 10th hole, I was looking at a 3 footer for par, when my opponent unexpectedly sunk a long birdie of his own to take the momentum back.
On hole 11, I choked. No other way to put it. My opponent topped his drive about 50 yards, and I proceed to yank my 3 wood left and into the trees. He then hit a poor second shot into the trees about 10 yards in front of me. With both of us in bad spots, but him lying 2 to my 1, a good punch out was all I needed to take control of the hole. Instead, I hit my punch out fat, and left myself with an obstructed shot to the green. To his credit, he got down in 3 from a difficult location. I could not do the same, and all of a sudden, I was back to 3 down.
I played the last 5 holes at 2 over par, but by that point, halves weren't enough. I needed a heroic run, and I didn't have it yesterday.
While I was disappointed with the outcome, I'm proud of the fact that I didn't collapse after a horrible start. I'm also pleased that my putting was really quite good under pressure (as I posted earlier, this has been a struggle of mine). Down the stretch, I made a few 4-5 footers to keep myself alive, in addition to some good long putts made on the front. Conversely, my driver and overall play off the tee was terrible.
Fun fact of the day to illustrate how poorly I was driving the ball yesterday. On the 16 holes before the match was conceded, my Fairways percentage was a whopping 7.7%! That's right, I only hit one fairway out of 13. As Charles Barkley might say, "that's just turrible"