So the ride has come to an end but what a ride it was. Daniel was a great ambassador for New Zealand and New Zealand Golf, I am sure that all the fans here would agree, not just the kiwi ones of which there are a few.
Dan needed to shoot -3 today which was about what we thought, and he got off to a pretty good start with a birdie on the 516 yard par 4, yes that is a 472 meter par 4! After pumping his drive 298 meters, he hit his 6 iron from 180m to 5 feet and holed the putt, as we discussed that was possibly the most clinical hole he played.
Unfortunately each time he got on a wee roll there would be a little speed bump and I can assure you it doesn’t take much around here to get the speed wobbles. He got to -2 though 6 after he two putted the par 5, 6th from 14 feet and I was thinking at this point that he could get this done.
As I am sure you are aware it didn’t work out and we have to ensure that we don’t just use the cliché that it was a great learning experience and we do dig deep and truly find some valuable learning, its often too easy to put it down to experience.
We will let the dust settle on the event before we undertake that but there were some interesting scenarios in our threesome today.
We had one player who shot 83 yesterday, and was 5 over par after 5 today. Then he basically just threw caution to the wind and played the last 13 holes in 4 under par. He obviously reached that point where he let himself go, and just played freely, the trick would be to get in to that mindset before you are 17 over!
The other player was right on the cut line and hanging in there by the skin of his teeth. You could see everything just get that little more tense, his reactions to shots and his body language all changed over the closing holes. I get it as well, if these guys miss the cut, they don’t get paid so they “need” to make it and they probably wish they could just free up and play. This player had to hole an evil 5 foot putt on the last hole to make the cut and he drained it in the centre. As he walked off, he told us that at the forefront of his mind is that he had missed every single putt like that coming in.
The major lesson there is the ability to let go and unleash is powerful, but also very hard and often only attainable when it doesn’t matter. The other lesson is that these guys have negative thoughts just like the rest of us, they have the same doubts we have and sometimes the putt drops and sometimes it doesn’t. I suspect that our playing partner had more doubt and negative thoughts on that last putt than any other but he still made it.
Finally hats off to Dan who did a great job of living in the moment taking in the scenery and reminding himself that he was playing in a US Open at Pebble Beach. It didn’t go to plan this time but he loved every minute of it.