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I am still trying to win my forst OPEN PDGA event. I have come close a few times. Last weekend I threw the hot round of the tourney (2 rounds, C-tier) in the first round. I had a 2 stroke lead on 2nd place, and finnished the second round 6 strokes worse than my first round. I ended up in 3rd place, cashing $165. It was a great day! BUT...
I feel like I could have won! It is all mental at this point. Its been an off year due to the birth of my little girl, but I have put the time in, and now i want the payoff. I just want to hear a few words of wisdome from the guys out there who have actually become winners. What is going through your head when you have the lead and you are trying to pull off the win? How did you change your mentality to become a winner?
I'm not quite at your level yet Justin, but have been climbing fast and winning in the year that I've been playing. My age may stop me from attaining a top level of play in the Open divisions, but still want to attain a top level of play in my own group.
During a tourney, i'm either playing my own game and paying attention to my shots. Or....if I'm not playing, I'm carrying the bag for someone better than me and learning from their game. I never stop trying to get better with my shot selection, mental game, or playing ability. Big goals with small steps so I can measure my progress.
Good luck, keep huckin brother.
Now that makes sense..
1. Hitting all your putts from 20-25'
2. Never give up on a hole, no matter how bad it is
3. It is never over till it is over, anything can happen
4. Play your own game, not someone else's
5. Don't experiment on the course, stick to what you know
6. Your lead is never safe, don't get complacent
7. Forget your last shot (good or bad), keep your emotions even and always stay focused
8. All of the above come down to mental toughness, master is through practice and reading appropriate books for pointers
My last event, I started both rounds with back to back double-bogies! But, like many have stated here, you need to stay positive and never give up. I played solid mental golf from there on in both rounds and still ended up losing 1st place in a playoff. It was my event to win and I came up short by one shot. I have won other events and always remember that attitude and character IMO are the most important tool a player has to win an event. We all practice and can play the game. But during tournaments you have to have that calm resolve to carry on no matter what one particular hole has in store. Play the course one shot at a time an maintain a positive attitude and you can win. You can even overcome back to back double bogies....
The jump from Amateur to Open is huge, the biggest jump in the game. In Ams you can win or contend merely by avoiding mistakes. In Pros you must avoid mistakes and cash a lot of birdies. Depending how your division is shooting you may need to cash all the "easy" birdies and a few bonus birdies as well. The proficiency of Pros on make-able birdies is amazing.
The final round comes down to a head-to-head match play contest. So you have to win your card while still worrying about the lower cards shooting the lights out and overcoming your card.
It is the rare golfer who graduates from Ams and quickly contends in Open. It is the far, far rarer golfer who graduates from Ams and wins in Open. Every Pro out there has staked his territory by long effort and experience. None of them will willingly step aside to allow you to pass. You will earn every inch and be shocked how good your competition is, even those players who have little reputation.
The average new Pro gets their butt kicked repeatedly. Many drop out of tournaments because the task is too daunting and revert to local leagues, where they can still contend handily without major improvements in their games.
Even those new Pros who make their mark on the local scene will find the National Tour another seemingly impossible climb. Knocking off the local Gods is nothing compared to the top Pros, who do everything better than you do: More power, better putting, better head, better scrambling. Everything.
You must contend before you can win. You must win before you can win consistently. You must beat some good players before you can beat some great players. You must be able to beat a great player head to head before you can start to contend with the big boys. Eventually you must be able to beat the big boys when they are on. The best players can win when they are having an off day and others are on.
So be willing to pay your dues and measure you improvement by inches. It is how the greats got that way.