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2008 is almost on top of me. Another year gone by. I'm happy with my year. In January, when I was just a ~910 rated player starting my second year of competitive golf I made a promise to myself that I would get to 950. By my calculations when the ratings come out on January 29th, 2009 for the 2008 calendar year I will be at 953. Not bad.

That said, I've started playing in the Open Division. Trophy Only right now, because I can't afford full entry. Once 2009 rolls around I'll start paying in full since I will be able to accept plastic winnings. It is a different experience. If I don't play to my level, I don't cash. Of course, if I only play to my rating (approx. 950 golf) I don't come close. The competition is so much stronger. The highest rated Advanced player in these tournaments was 964. The lowest rated Open player that I played with was 964.

And I've found that I can hang with these guys. After one round at the first event I was in 5th out of 10, one stroke out of the cash. I double bogeyed the first and second holes, and despite solid golf never climbed all the way out. After one round at the second event I was in 7th out of 20, easily in the cash. Between my fifth and ninth holes (holes three through seven on Hudson Mills Monster shorts) I put every drive within the ten meter circle. I went 6, 4, 3, 3, 4. Every missed stroke was the result of a disc landing ten feet away and sliding twenty more.
The frustration was palpable.

The final one, hole seven, my ninth hole... I had one of those holes that you just have nightmares about. 330 feet, a near perfect drive that had everybody near the pad cheering it on (it was squeaky, just through the gap) put me 25 feet left. My putt broke my heart.

Through chains.
Balanced on the edge of the basket.
Fell to the ground.
Rolled 15 feet away.
Flopped to its back.
Slid 50 feet down a hill.
Slid underneath a bush.
Got through the bush.
Stopped 65 feet away on the other side of a bush.

Up shot to 15 out. Putt it. Curse the putter.

I finished out the rest of the course at four under par, and I'm very proud of that.

But the important thing to me, I suppose, has to be the first round of each of those tournaments. I didn't finish either tournament strong. I got nervous. I let my mind get the best of me. But I'm proving to myself that I can hang with these 990+ rated guys. I played with Tyler Horne and Al Schack both rounds at Hudson Mills, and after one round I hung with them. If I hadn't let my nerves give me the yips I would have done it again. The only thing holding me back from being one of the best players in the entire state is myself right now.

Maybe that sounds vain, arrogant even... but how else does one become one of the best? Can you be better than somebody else if you don't believe you can? Right now I believe in myself. I did fail at both of these events, but I feel better than I did before I played in them.

2008... I can't wait for 2008. I'm excited.

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