Prior to this event, I’ve played in four Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) events this year and finished second three times! I was itching for a win, feeling good about my game, and looking to get it at the Cumberland Trails Golf Club just outside Columbus, OH on July 13-14.
I’ve never seen the course, so I showed up 90 minutes before my 11:15 first-day tee time. I’d packed everything the night before and had a plan for the day to maximize the time I had. I planned to spend more time practicing on the putting green to get a feel for the speed of putts and to do a little stroke work, which is ongoing, and to hit balls on the range to feel confident with my full swing.
I got to the course an hour and a half before my tee time, and I used every minute of it to be prepared for the day. I started off with checking my green reads with a level, hitting 3-6 footers “around the clock,” and hitting a few chips and pitches. Next, I went over to the range and hit shots to a specific target and was pleased with my accuracy! I went back to hit some long putts (25+ feet) to work on distance and then putted with one ball to pretend that I was on the course and my putts were for birdie. I was sinking putts and I believed in myself that I could shoot a low score.
I started out with a bang on the first hole with a birdie! It gave me a little boost inside and I was so excited to see what I could do for the rest of the holes that day. I shot and even par front nine with just one bogey on the 9th hole, and +1 on the back nine with one bogey! I played really consistent golf to have 15 pars! I was leading by six strokes after day one, and wanted to increase my lead the second day to get my first HJGT win of 2019 after all those second-place finishes.
The second day my strategy was to play a good round without taking on too much risk. There were a few holes that the first day I had to carry a long club over a hazard or took a risk to have a chance at birdie. I knew that I didn’t want to throw away strokes on the course so I wanted to have good holes and be aggressive but not if there was a big chance I could make a bad score. On those shots, I’d play a bit conservatively and make the other girls shoot an under-par round to tie me.
I played a solid round of 38-38 for a 76 and a two-day total of +5 (three strokes ahead of second place) for my first HJGT win of 2019! My putting was fantastic, which led me to lots of pars and a birdie on the 10th in the second round. I was excited to have won my first HJGT tournament, especially at a course that I had never played before! I’m working hard on my game to have the same success in future tournaments.