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Ben

Mini Tour play.

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In The Money!

Yesterday I played the Golden State Tour's Monthly Sponsorship Shootout at Mission Hills Pete Dye course in Rancho Mirage. Went bogey free, 2under and tied for 3rd!

Got the round started with lack-luster par on the shortish par 4. On two, I made a great 2-putt for par, putting across a rather large green after my cut 8iron didn't cut... Hole 3, I came up with a great up and down as my ball came up just shrot of the green and was sent down the false front. With little green to work with and knocked my chip to 4' and drained the putt. Parred 4 after having PW in...

5 was a joke. Shortish par 5 that left me with 2h to the green. Blocked that thing out into a deep greenside bunker, which I left myself in... Hit my second bunker shot to about 7' and drained that one for par. 6 was another joke. A 330y par 4 that is somewhat driveable. But with the pin in the front I wanted to leave myself far enough back to get a full wedge in my hand. I pulled my 2h, not to any trouble, but I had a funky stance. Actually got my approach to 12 feet but missed the putt.

7 Solid par, toughest hole on the course... 8, was another birdie opportunity wasted, as was hole 9... If you're keeping track, that's nine pars to start.

To hole number 10... par... So hole number 11. 206y playing with a pretty steady right to left and into crosswind to a pin tucked was back left over a bunker 9195y to carry) Pull out my 4 iron, and hit a laser just left of the pin, then drain my 20' birdie putt. The par streak had ended! And on probably the hardest playing hole, go figure. Now I've got hole 12, and even shorter par 5 then the previous, again, with 2h in my hand, but this one I pull, leave myself pin high but 30y left, don't get up and down. Hole 13, 15' for birdie, miss. Hole 14 I made a nice 5 foot putt to get up and down for par. To hole 15, I have a 145 to the pin, big wind in my face so I grab my 8 for a nice punch fade, hit it to inches! tap in birdie. 2 under, still bogey free.

16 was a solid par. A par 3 that was 165y to the pin and still into that wind, nice little punch 6 to the back of the green, two putt par. Get to the tee of 17, a short par 4, now we're back downwind, So I figure I'll pump a drive out and be inside 100y. I hit my drive pretty good, but for some reason I had 138y left? Anyway, I get my PW, and nail it right at the pin. Unfortunately it landed right at the pin, took a huge hop over the green. i get to the chip and have a real good feling over the ball, little bump and run with the 58* wedge, its tracking to the pin, hits it dead center, but I guess with a tad too much pace, and the pin rejects me! burn.

On 18 I'm kinda bummed still, I know 2under is good, but if I could get lower I'd have a bigger check. So I pump my drive out, have 72y to the green with the pin in the front, knock my 58* wedge to about 11" and misread another putt. I can't be terribly mad though, it was my first bogey-free tournament round, with 16 pars and 2 birdies.

I went out in the middle of the pack and see that at 2under I'm tied for 2nd. Looking at the scoreboard I see some big names up there to dodge and figure that I'll probably end up around 6th or 7th. I stick around to see whats up, cause I've got nowhere to go, and much to my delight, only one other score came in lower, the winner at 5under. Even though only one score came in lower, three other guys came in at 2under, so my third place turned into a huge tie for third.

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Wow man!! Congrats!  -2 under is GREAT and it sounds like you left some good ones out there.

I love the hole by hole that you do in this thread.  It shows the fight that you guys have when you get in the least bit of trouble.  I love reading about the clutch par saves and the up and downs. That is great stuff.  Keep it rolling man....sounds like it might be a good year!

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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Wow, its been this long since my last event?

Played in the Golden State Tour's event at Temecula Creek Inn today. A course that I've had some nice success at. Drove down with my buddy Sam who played in the Am division. We got there with plenty of time, an hour to get checked in and warmed up. Hit the putting green first, then to the range. Felt good stepping up to the first tee. Where I proceeded to pull a 3wood into some trees left, thinking I might have gone OB I had to hit a provisional. Nice start!

Well, it turns out that I found my ball. at 196y with a low hanging tree about 2 yards in front of me. All I could do was grab my 3 iron and punch it up towards the green. Which I accomplished nicely, chipped up to 5 feet, and made a nice putt for par. So, a nice Seve like save to start the day. And that was pretty much the theme for the day. My competitors nicknaming me Seve for the day. 2 couldn't have gone better. A par-3 playing 167y. I take out my 7iron and hit the prettiest little fade up to 4 feet, then roll in the putt for birdie. On 3 I found myself in the trees again. 125y out I've got another tree right in front of me that I have to go under. I grab my 6iron and hit a sweet little punch that finds its way just long of the green, which is alright because the pin is back. Chip it up to 1', another par. The fun in the trees continues on hole 4. A dogleg left par-5. I fan my drive out to the right, and have to hit 7 iron over the tree in front of me. I over draw it and find myself 123y out with a low hanging tree in front of me. That's two shots from the trees on one hole and four shots from the trees overall so far! Well, I take out my 5iron and again, pull off an awesome shot that finishes pin high and about 12' left, but, off the green by 2'. 58*, chip-in! 2under after four holes with only three putts! I finally hit a fairway on 5, but leave my PW approach in a bunker, hooray. I blast out to about 2.5' and make that par putt. holes 6 and 7 I go bogey-bogey. Lame. Hole 8 I hit a great drive, then rip 3wood from  260y out, carry the bunker in front of the green and am left with about 35' for eagle. Three-putt par... Burn! Hole 9, back in the trees with my tee shot, but managed to get a 9iron to the pin and about 12' for birdie, which I miss, grrr. Even after 9.

Hole 10. Normally I'd hit a 2h to this fairway, but I was feeling frisky and tried to hit driver to a nice spot 40y from the green. End up pulling it, just on the edge of getting blocked out by, of course, a tree. If I play away from the pin to avoid the tree I can still hit the green and leave myself about 12' for birdie, but, That doesn't seem to be my style, so I go pin-hunting and hit the tree which totally slaps me in the face and knock my ball straight down. 42y to go, 58* to 5', nice par, thank you. Hole 11 is a shortish-5, I nuke 3wood long and don't get up and down for birdie. 12 I had high hopes for. a par-3 and the pin was exactly where I hoped it would be, back right, perfect for a 6iron cut. It didn't cut, double cross left of the green. Chip. Putt. Nice par. 13 I miss the green, once again, but finally don't get up and down. But come back on 14, hitting the fairway, knocking a PW to 14' then rolling in the birdie putt. Up and down for par on the Par-3 14th. Then up and down for birdie on the par-5 16th. Back into the trees off the tee on 17. I was 196y out but my backswing was impeded by a tree. I finally decide on punch 4, which was on a great line to the pin, but came up just short. Chipped it to 2.5' but missed that putt. Dang! Back to even. And wouldn't you know it, on 18 I practically duck hook my drive, into the tree... But, being Seve for a day I actually have a perfect look under, through around then over the trees in front of me with a stock 5iron from 196y. I manage it up to 15', a nice uphill left to right breaker. Just pull it and it slides by the left edge.

Even par continues my streak of rounds at par or better to five. But even par gets you nothing on the Golden State Tour. Unless you're an Am, like my buddy Sam who also shot Even, tied for 5th.

http://gstour.com/results.php?tournament=TEMECULA+CREEK+INN+061311

Wow, I just did a stat breakdown. 8 GIR, 26 putts, 5 fairways! hahaha, Oh this was priceless today!

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That's just a crazy round, it was fun to read.

Incidentally, if you replace all those par saves with double bogeys, it sounds very familiar to me!

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Thanks for the read guys!

And DG, yeah, I've always been ultra confident in my short game. When I was a kid all I used to do was practice chipping. Although it would have been nice if some of those pars saves were birdie looks, the par saves were as gratifying.

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So I've been working in the golf shop like a chump far too much lately. five days a week for the past month or so. Its really put a damper on my ability to play tournaments, and practice for that matter. But, knowing that I'd finally have a Wednesday off this week, the day of a weekly event at Brookside GC in Pasadena. I put in some range and putting green work on Monday, then played 9 holes Tuesday. Felt like I was ready enough to get back on the saddle and headed down to the event yesterday.

Shot an even par 72 which got me a T3. A pretty decent round considering my recent lack of play. Three birdies and three bogeys. Other than the birdie on hole 1 (4') I didn't really stick anything close enough to go deep. My other two birdies came from 12' and about 20' and I rolled in a few nice par putts from mid range as well. Coincidentally it was the putting practice that I focused on on Monday. So its nice to know that paid off! After that I just didn't get close enough to get any good looks at birdie. 12 GIR isn't the greatest number. Not disappointed with 27 putts though.

I did manage to take advantage of a tremendous break too, which I'm super stoked about. Number 6 is a 596y Par-5. A slight dogleg left with water left off the tee. I've never hit it in the water off the tee, but for some reason had a premonition as I was playing the round in my mind while I was driving to the course that I was gonna hit it in there. I was even par coming to the tee, only thoughts of middle of the fairway in my mind, when my miss for the day, a pull, reared its ugly head. Thankfully not a pull hook. Anyway as Its flying just on the line of the lake headed for a few palm trees, I ask The Golf Gods for some help, and get it! Somehow the ball finds land, hits and ricochets to the right off something and ends up dry. Dry, but still in some pine tree trouble. I've got a backswing but no follow through, which is alright cause I have to punch under a tree anyway. I just need to advance the ball inside 100y. The shot played out perfectly, just like I saw in my head and I wind up 91y out. Back pin, into the wind, from light rough, time for a 95% 58*. I hit it 93y and a tad right. That's the 12'er that I made! So, from certain bogey to a birdie!

I owe The Golf Gods some serious practice time. And they shall get it.

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Originally Posted by Ben

So I've been working in the golf shop like a chump far too much lately. five days a week for the past month or so. Its really put a damper on my ability to play tournaments, and practice for that matter. But, knowing that I'd finally have a Wednesday off this week, the day of a weekly event at Brookside GC in Pasadena. I put in some range and putting green work on Monday, then played 9 holes Tuesday. Felt like I was ready enough to get back on the saddle and headed down to the event yesterday.

Shot an even par 72 which got me a T3. A pretty decent round considering my recent lack of play. Three birdies and three bogeys. Other than the birdie on hole 1 (4') I didn't really stick anything close enough to go deep. My other two birdies came from 12' and about 20' and I rolled in a few nice par putts from mid range as well. Coincidentally it was the putting practice that I focused on on Monday. So its nice to know that paid off! After that I just didn't get close enough to get any good looks at birdie. 12 GIR isn't the greatest number. Not disappointed with 27 putts though.

I did manage to take advantage of a tremendous break too, which I'm super stoked about. Number 6 is a 596y Par-5. A slight dogleg left with water left off the tee. I've never hit it in the water off the tee, but for some reason had a premonition as I was playing the round in my mind while I was driving to the course that I was gonna hit it in there. I was even par coming to the tee, only thoughts of middle of the fairway in my mind, when my miss for the day, a pull, reared its ugly head. Thankfully not a pull hook. Anyway as Its flying just on the line of the lake headed for a few palm trees, I ask The Golf Gods for some help, and get it! Somehow the ball finds land, hits and ricochets to the right off something and ends up dry. Dry, but still in some pine tree trouble. I've got a backswing but no follow through, which is alright cause I have to punch under a tree anyway. I just need to advance the ball inside 100y. The shot played out perfectly, just like I saw in my head and I wind up 91y out. Back pin, into the wind, from light rough, time for a 95% 58*. I hit it 93y and a tad right. That's the 12'er that I made! So, from certain bogey to a birdie!

I owe The Golf Gods some serious practice time. And they shall get it.


Nice to see you had a good round even without putting in the amount of practice that you'd like.  T3 is a pretty good finish; congrats.

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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

In the money two weeks in a row. This time it was a win!

Except for one really dumb hole, the par-5 15th, which bit me last week, a super solid round of golf. I was actually 3under and bogey free until that hole. Who in the heck bogeys a par-5 to end a bogey free round?! Sheesh!

But, like I said, quite solid play! It was looking a bit dodgy from the start thoug. Didn't take advantage of the short par-4 1st. Then went on and hit my approach on 2 into a greenside bunker. The bunkers here are ridiculous. Practically hard pan. But after going 0 for 3 last week, I took some time to work on bunkers and went 2 for 2 this week. So yeah, I got up and down. Hole 3 is the toughest hole on the course according to the card. There are four really demanding par-4s on this course and on any day they can all be the hardest hole. But today the tees were kind of up, and the wind was behind. So I only had 9iron in, where I usually have 5 or 6. Gave the tricky birdie putt a good look, but missed. I'll take a par there any day. Hole 4, wow, I am a master of the short game. That's right, I said it! If you would have seen where my ball was in relation to the pin, there was no way you would think par was even a though. The pin was tucked way back (5 paces on) with the green running away, and the cup on the crest of the downslope. I found myself not only 15y long, but behind a cropping of bushes in a terrible lie to top it off. My only play was to bump a PW through some kikuya (and if you've played on kikuya grass before, you know that bump and run isn't really synonymous with this grass). Well, somehow, I managed to stop the thing short of the pin, how it stopped, I have no idea, or wait, its because I am a shortgame master. Anyway, I'm left with about 6' straight down this hill. Center cup. SUPER PAR! Hole 5, ho-hum par, Hole 6, more of the same. Hole 7, I kinda mini spray my tee shot off to the right and find myself in a fairway bunker 177y (into a slight wind) from the pin which in on the upper tier of this green. I figure lets take a 6i (190club) and knock one to the middle of the green. Well, it comes off the club face absolutely perfect, nice little draw into the pin and ends up 15'. I had this putt read dead to rights, and consequently drained it. 8 was kinda wack. A par-3 which was playing 193y to the pin, still into that slight wind. I hit a 5i that is a laser to the pin. It ends up about 4' short. I didn't put the most confident stroke on this one, and missed right... Lame. but, still a par. 9 was another whatever par. nice tee shot, good approach to 25'. I felt that I closed my putterface just a hair at impact and it slides by the hole on the left...

To the back. on 10 I find another fairway bunker, and wouldn't you know 6i distance away. The lie was a bit suspect and I kinda thin one up and out, but, to the front of the green, two putts makes for a solid par. 11, was fun. This par-5 is dead straight but super narrow. I yank the heck out of my drive into the 15th fairway. I have a look at the green but there is a fairway bunker looking at 240 so I decide to lay up. Left myself with 80y to the pin, out with the 58* wedge, stick it to 3', make the putt. Oh, its so fun to birdie par-5s when I play smart! 12 is another one of those gnarly par-4s. 480y OB left and not much width to the fairway in the landing area. I kinda skank a fade out there and leave myself 203y out. I figure a 5iron would be perfect for this front pin. But I flush it and it goes about 215. Normally not so bad, but 205y was the max because the green runs away to the back after that 205 mark, right where the pin was sitting. 10' of up hill then 2' of severe downhill. I baby my putt and as its dieing towards the hole it breaks right out of the cup. Dang. 13 is a solid par-3 playing 205y today, back into the wind so I decide to squeeze a 4iron to the middle of the green, left with 20' I just graze the cup again. Dang again. No dang on 15, solid tee shot, solid PW to about 20' but this thing breaks hard left at the end, draino, center cup. Now, the stupid bogey, lets forget about this hole. 16, I'm a tiny bit steaming, hit my best driver of the day and leave myself 128y. Played this one super smart after my compeitor who was making a huge charge on the back, missed the green. I hit my PW to the middle of the green and left myself just outside 20' for birdie. Like hole 7 I knew this putt was going in, and it did. I have to keep things exciting and hit my tee shot on the par-3 17th in the bunker. But, chip it out to about 4' and sunk the par putt. 18, oh number 18. The fourth of those treacherous par-4s. this one is 470Y rough and huge trees left, OB right. I kinda spray my drive right and it find ground under repair. I take a drop and it nestles down in the rough, great. So, I'm 180y to the pin, with the pin in front. You do NOT want to be past this pin, I don't know how this green is legal, but it must be a 35* angle in the front and that's where the pin is often placed. I've seen this hole location eat people for lunch. So, 180y out, it a thick like I decide to punch a 6iron. Well, it comes out HOT, Hit the front of the green and chaces not only over the green, but through the bunker in the back of the green and stops just before the woodchip area, and OB sits just behind that. So now I'm 39y away to a pin that is on such a crazy severe slope I figure there is no way to stop this thing, but what does a shortgame master like me do, I stopped it short. Now I've got 9', straight downhill that bends just a hair. All I can do is breathe on the ball and hope that it find the cup, well, It didn't. That bogey put me to 2under par. And in a three way tie for 1st.

Playoff time! Back to the 1st hole. 314y par-4. I knock a sweet driver out there, right where I wanted it, a great look up to the pin. Player 2 is about 10 yards to my right, and player 3 knocks his driver to the front of the green. I'm first to play and practically knock the ball in the hole. The dude on the green and his caddy though it was in for sure. But it ends up inches from the cup. Auto-birdie. Player 2 kinda chunks his shot and makes par. While the dude on the green rolls a great putt up to about 2 feet and makes his birdie. One man down, one to go. Another super solid driver of the tee for me here, split the fair. Player 3, nukes another drive. Jerk is like 40y passed me. But, as my favorite golf quote says, "its not about how far, its about how many." Plus I'm only left with a 9i in hand anyone. I manage to get it just passed pin high about about 20' right of the pin. Player 3 about the same spot but about 5' off the green. I don't know what happened with his chip, it looked like he hit it perfect, but it flew passed the cup about 15'. A bit of a sigh of relief for me, but I can't count the guy out. I make a great stroke on my putt, but it dies just left of the cup and I have a tap in left for par. I mark because I'll be standing in his line. He lines up his putt, puts a great stroke on it. I though he had great speed to it and I would have putted it to the same spot, but somehow it stay high. Bogey for him, par for me. And the victory!

2under 70. 14 GIR, 29 putts. 2/2 sand saves. Money in the bank!

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The money on mini tours is usually pretty low. This was a $125 buyin and I got $500 for first. There are two mini tours that I know where players can actually make a living. The eGolf tour in North Carolina, my buddy Matt Ryan is having a great year over there by the way. And there is a new tour forming calling the National Pro Golf Tour. www.npgt.com, that has some nice purses as well.

To me, the whole idea to mini tours is to build confidence more than anything, a pure stepping stone to bigger things. Getting yourself to fire rounds under par over and over again. Playing against guys who are striving for bigger things as well. A good example is today actually. There was a guy in the field, Brian, that qualified and played in this year's US Open. He won last week with a 70, but had an off day today. I've played with Nationwide pros, Asian Tour, etc. I've beaten a few some days and they've beaten me others. That's the real value for me, knowing that I can play at the same level they can. I just haven't performed well enough at the two QSchools I've played in so far. Korean Tour is coming up in August!

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Originally Posted by Ben

The money on mini tours is usually pretty low. This was a $125 buyin and I got $500 for first. There are two mini tours that I know where players can actually make a living. The eGolf tour in North Carolina, my buddy Matt Ryan is having a great year over there by the way. And there is a new tour forming calling the National Pro Golf Tour. www.npgt.com, that has some nice purses as well.

To me, the whole idea to mini tours is to build confidence more than anything, a pure stepping stone to bigger things. Getting yourself to fire rounds under par over and over again. Playing against guys who are striving for bigger things as well. A good example is today actually. There was a guy in the field, Brian, that qualified and played in this year's US Open. He won last week with a 70, but had an off day today. I've played with Nationwide pros, Asian Tour, etc. I've beaten a few some days and they've beaten me others. That's the real value for me, knowing that I can play at the same level they can. I just haven't performed well enough at the two QSchools I've played in so far. Korean Tour is coming up in August!



Ben, have you ever considered the Canadian Tour?  There is some decent money (the leader in the order of Merit has earned just under 80K this year)

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You know, I've researched the Canadian Tour prior and know a bunch of guys that have played on it. In the past it wasn't something that I would have considered. I had always heard that the money wasn't that great. But checking out the money list this year, it looks as though the tour has changed considerably in that regard! The only real problem I have with the Canadian Tour is that Q School is $2250 and is at a course I absolutely despise. Carlton Oaks in Santee, CA. YUK!

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Hey guys. Yeah, I've been pretty tournament quiet lately. Getting my money saved up for Korean Tour QSchool, which I leave for.... Thursday!! ha

I've been practicing a ton, but have been playing super bad lately. I mean crazy bad! I honestly think I've spent too much time on the range, rather than on the course. Something that I usually don't do, spend hours practicing. I'd much rather be on the course hitting actually shots. I'm playing tomorrow morning, then playing Wednesday. We'll see how things go. I saw a buddy today and told him of my woes, he says, "Well, there's nowhere to go but up. You can play like you've got nothing to lose."

I'll be in Korea on the 28th. QSchool start on the 8th. Which I just realized is my Dad's BDay. Perhaps that'll be a good omen.

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