HJGT Tennessee Junior Open @ Champions Run (6/13-14/2020)
I feel that this tournament was a turning point for my 2020 season. I started off not playing at the level I was capable of, but by the last six holes of day two, I started turning things around. I ended up shooting 85, 81 and placed fifth out of twelve. This is my first tournament of this year where I placed in the top 50% of the field. You can visit the full leaderboard here. Below I will talk about the course conditions, my game, and how things went down.
Course Conditions and Weather
This was my first time playing this course. It is located just south of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in a town called Rockvale. The course played at just over 6700 yards and was a rather open course. It had large fairways and greens; however, there was still plenty of trouble to get into. If I were to describe the course in as few words as possible, I would say it was open, flat, and annoying. I say annoying because it seemed like you could hit the ball in an open, flat fairway, and somehow, it would end up in a penalty area. With that said, I did enjoy the course and will certainly play it again.
The conditions were dry, and the fairways were so hard the fate of your tee shot almost solely depended upon luck. The bunkers could have used some work but were manageable. The greens were aerated only one week ago but rolled surprisingly well.
Round 1 (6/13/2020)
Round one started off great. I hit a good drive to the left side of the fairway and hit a wedge to six feet. And then… I missed the putt. I didn’t think too much of it because it was the first hole, and I still got away with par. I had a similar experience on hole two. After those two holes, things started going downhill. I began to hit my irons to the right, and my putting just wasn’t working. It stayed this way for most of the round, and I ended up shooting 85. I really felt like I could have done much better if I simply identified the problem, which was a push, and fixed that problem. Even if it was only half fixed, and I simply shut the clubface a little at the address. That would have fixed the problem, and I believe I would have shot below 80. Anyways, after the round, I knew I could do better, and I was determined to do so.
Round 2 (6/14/2020)
On the range that morning, my irons were flying much straighter; however, my driver was a little all over the place. I told myself that I had dealt with this before, and it would not be a problem on the course. On the first tee, I push sliced my three wood fifty yards right of where I was aiming. I found my ball in the trees, and luckily there was a tiny gap where I could get it near the green. I took a four iron and hit it as low as possible. I ended up putting it on the green fifteen feet from the pin. And who would have guessed it, I made the putt for birdie. Now I know how it feels to be Phil Mickelson.
Unfortunately, that luck didn’t last long. Starting on hole four, my driver started going right again. I could have tried to shut the face a little, but then I was scared of a snap hook because OB is along the left of the entire course. The only problem to the right was trees. For holes 4-6 I hit driver, punch out. It got quite annoying. Starting on hole 10, the wind speed got over 25mph. It was blowing in a small storm from the west. By the time I was on the green of 11, the horn blew. We went into an hour and a half rain delay. We got back out on the course, and I was ready to start making some good scores. The middle four holes on the back nine are by far the hardest at Champions Run GC, starting with a 215-yard par three over water. I ended up making three pars and one bogey before the horn sounded again. Luckily, it was only for an hour this time. I ended with all pars to shoot 81, and come in fifth place.
Overall, I feel this tournament was a big turning point for many reasons. The first being my swing is in the best place it has ever been. Another reason is that I am getting used to playing longer distances with better players. The final reason is that I think my mental game is at a point where I can handle a few if not more bad shots, and be able to bounce back. I proved this in round two. I will of course continue to work and get my game even better before my next event, the SSJC Players Championship.