Junior Blog: Practice round at Puerto Rico Open
Well, it’s really good to be back in Puerto Rico, and it’s incredible to be playing on the PGA Tour. From the moment I arrived at the course and walked into the locker room, the feeling was so different than anything I have ever experienced at a tournament before.
I’ve been working hard the last two weeks at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy to prepare for this event knowing that it is not going to be technical preparation that will help me, but the ability to deal with the pressure of playing in this environment with great players such as Stewart Cink and Boo Weekley. My goals this week are to really enjoy the experience and to learn as much as I can about playing on the PGA Tour, as this is my ultimate dream and goal.
I had my practice round yesterday and had the opportunity to play with Joe Ogilvie. It was such a good experience, and I learned a lot watching him and his caddie, Chip, as they planned their way around the course. They were so friendly and helpful – it was awesome.
Although I have already played the course quite a bit for the AJGA’s Junior Puerto Rico Open, it was good to go out there and check that my game plan was solid. My brother, Nick, is carrying my bag, and it is really great to have him here with me. I hit the ball well today and feel like the round helped build my confidence. I have my new Callaway irons and Razr woods and driver in play this week, which I love. I know that equipment is really important on the Tour, and these clubs seem to suit my game well.
When I came down the stretch on 18, I couldn’t believe how different it was from the last time I played it. There are huge grandstands surrounding the green and sponsor boxes everywhere. I hit a good shot onto the green to about 5 feet, but I know that it will be a much different feeling when the stands are full.
My coaches at the GGGA have worked very hard with me on course strategy and my mental game, and I know in order to have a chance to play to my potential this week, I will have to be 100 percent focused on the things I can control. Having solid routines, a positive attitude and positive self talk will be most important for me. I have written my goals on my glove, so I do not get distracted with focusing on score and results, but rather on my goals. I am really competitive and always want to win but sometimes my expectations are unrealistic. That’s why I work hard to focus on process goals so I can enjoy the journey.
I am so grateful to the AJGA and to the Puerto Rico Golf Association for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime, and I am looking forward to my first round on Thursday.