Let's turn back the clock and get this essay rolling!
First up, The Island Resort Championship. One of my favourite tournaments on the Symetra Tour. The people are great. The course is pure. Upper Michigan is gorgeous. And the hospitality is above and beyond. What most people don't know is that I actually didn't get into this event until the day before it started. My mother and I decided to "take a vacation" to Harris, Michigan because we thought "at least if I don't get into the tournament, it will be a beautiful vacation". But luckily for me I got in! I played decently, but the island green got me during the 1st round.
Next up was the Prasco Charity Championship in Ohio. I actually knew I would be playing in this tournament so I was mentally more prepared. And once again, I played well except for one hole where I decided to hit 3 trees in a row. I guess I just wanted to find some shade and get relief from the heat and humidity! (Sidenote: Shout out to Trevor, who is a transplanted Canadian now living near Cincinnati, for following me on the course for 2 days!)
Then it was a week off from the Symetra Tour, but I decided to play the DCM PGA Women's Championship of Canada that was at my home course once again! Shout out to the Ladies Golf Club of Toronto because they did some amazing work to get the course into great shape and the food got rave reviews from every player I talked to! As for the actual golf, I didn't play badly by my standards though I would've liked to make some more putts. But when you play with someone who ends up having 11 birdies and shooting 63 (-9) the final day to win the tournament, you always tend to think you played a lot worse than you did. Congratulations Rebecca Lee-Bentham on the win and welcome back to the tour life!
That off week also consisted of me being the maid of honour in my friend's wedding so "off week" turned into the craziest week of the past 6 weeks!
The next Symetra tournament I played in was the biggest surprise of them all. I didn't expect to get into the Donald Ross Classic at all this year because it's one of the biggest purses on tour. And it made me sad because it's only 1 hour and 15 minutes from where I went to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. I've probably played that course over 25 times and it has always felt like "French Lick, Indiana" is just an extension of the IU campus for me. So when I got a call from Dave Harner (tournament director) the Saturday before the tournament telling me that his original sponsor's exemption had dropped out and I would get the spot, I was like "NO WAY!". So there I found myself happily driving down those all too familiar roads and teeing it up on an all too familiar course that it felt like I had already won. Unfortunately, my ball decided that it really enjoyed the views from the edge of the cup looking down to the bottom of the hole rather than just going down there itself. But like I said, just being there was more than I could've asked for.
Next up was the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic in Rochester, New York. I often call this tournament "home turf" because it is the closest event to home for me and the course feels like a GTA (Greater Toronto Area) course. I also didn't find out that I got into this event until the Sunday before the tournament started so I was just taking it all in stride. But this was a critical event for me. I had made 2 cuts already this year so I knew I would be reshuffled into a higher category on the Symetra Tour priority list after the conclusion of this event. But I needed to improve my position. The 5-iron I hit into my 36th par 3 hole was probably one of the best shots I have ever hit in my life. I don't think I will ever forget the sound and feeling of striking that ball so purely and seeing it draw perfectly towards the flag giving me an 8 foot putt that I needed to 2-putt to make the cut (woohoo!). Those are the moments and shots that bring me back to the golf course over and over again.
Last up was the CDPHP Open in Albany, New York. To sum things up, I played awesome except for one hole. And even though I ended up with a quad bogey on that hole which didn't help me make the cut, it's an interesting story to tell now: I get to the 2nd hole of my 2nd round and I hit a little bit of a flared shot to the right off the tee. I assumed it would be okay because it wasn't that far right. So I go up to find my ball and I do. The ball is resting on the edge of some long grass and bushes on a severe uphill so I end up only hitting it 10 yards. But when I go up to hit the next shot, I realize that the ball I hit wasn't my ball. For a few seconds I think that maybe I had hit my ball and it had hit another ball in the long grass and this is the ball that popped out. But I rule that out once I see no other ball. So I pick up my ball that really isn't my ball to see how on Earth I could've mistaken it for my ball. That's when I realize that the mistake I made was pretty easy to do. I had been hitting a Titleist 4. The wrong ball I hit was also a Titleist 4. I have a red cross marked on the left side of the number of my ball. This wrong ball also had a faded red cross on the left side of the number. And it just happened to be facing that side up when I went to hit it the first time. Otherwise, my ball and this wrong ball had nothing else in common in terms of markings since I try to be Picasso when I mark my golf balls so this doesn't happen. After realizing all of this, I still have to find my original ball, but I have no idea where it had gone. So I have to count it as lost. So back to the tee I go and I end up parring the hole with my 2nd tee ball. After getting some help from a rules official, we figured out that I received a 2 shot penalty for hitting the wrong ball on top of the original doubly bogey 6 I made so that's how I ended up with quad bogey 8. I have never hit the wrong ball in a competition before, so this was a new experience for me. I wouldn't recommend doing it, but I can tell you that you'll live if it does happen to you. Just a small bump in the road.
Over the past 6 weeks, I think the biggest two lessons I have learned can be summed up in one phrase: Your score is worth a thousand words.
This past stretch of tournaments by score tells a very different story than what I have experienced. I can confidently say that I have played some of the most "proficient golf" of my life the past 6 weeks, but my score definitely wouldn't tell you that. I only made 1 of 5 cuts. So that definitely looks pretty bad, but I feel like my success level is a 9 out of 10. From here on out I want to be able to tell myself "your score is worth a thousand words" after every round. It's a journey and a learning experience. So in a thousand words or more, tell yourself what you have done well and also what you can learn. Don't just stop at score. Stopping at score is like defining your life only by the money you make. It's just a small part of the whole story. Give yourself the chance to define yourself by more than just a number.
And with those 1000 words, I can tell you about the "proficient golf" I have played. This may sound like an odd thing to say for a professional golfer, but putting together a string of rounds (more than 2 rounds in a row) where I can say "those were all really decent" doesn't happen a lot and is a great step for me. It's not just the score I'm talking about. It's the quality of shot making and putting, and also the endurance of my swing. Up until this year, one of the biggest obstacles for me happens on round 3 or 4 (or even round 2, yikes!) of a tournament and it's the feeling that "I've lost my swing". It would happen every tournament, and I didn't know how to stop this situation from happening. But somehow, I think, through focusing on everything except for the technical/mechanical elements of my swing, I've been able to swing without the "I've lost my swing" feeling for this whole 6 week stretch of tournaments! Granted not every shot was perfect and I did hit the odd "what on earth was that shot?!", but it's a feeling I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED BEFORE! It's like breathing new life into a situation that I thought would never be resolved. Hallelujah!
Overall, these past 6 weeks have been unexpected in the best ways possible. They have flown by so fast and I have experienced so much. But through it all, there is no doubt that there is still more to come. So here's to more of letting go and letting God!
Thanks for reading! And as always, I greatly appreciate it! :)