Junior diary: Reflecting on the Southern Am
Hope everyone is enjoying the summer. This past week was hot everywhere in the United States and I know I certainly experienced it in Birmingham, Ala.
What an unbelievable experience this year’s Southern Amateur Championship was for me. The hospitality was really cool and they treated the players very well throughout the week. Just getting to go into the locker room and players lounge was enough for me to have a great week. This week also opened my eyes to parts of my game that need to improve. There were so many great players, some of the best amateurs in the world, and just playing mediocre doesn’t cut it at that level. I really didn’t have my best game with me last week and it showed. I was playing well, but I simply couldn’t put a good round together. I made some silly mistakes that really kept me from being in contention.
I shot even par in the first round with birdies on my last two holes. It is always nice to finish that way, especially when it saves a poor round. I didn’t play that well in the first round but I still had a chance to get myself in the hunt with three more rounds to play.
Patrick Rodgers, 17, will file a diary each week this summer as he plays some of the premier junior events in the country.
Rodgers, a second-team AJGA All-American, is No. 7 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings.
The second round was very frustrating. I was 3-under par at the turn and feeling good about my game. I thought if I could play solidly and make a few more birdies on the back, I could be right in the ballgame heading into the final two rounds. Unfortunately, I played poorly on the back, bogeying both par 5s and managing to shoot a 1-under-par 71.
The par 5s hurt me all week. I simply couldn’t figure out how to approach them. I always had the length to get to the green in two but I would either hit a poor shot or put myself in a tough place around the green. It was frustrating because I pride myself on how I play the par 5s and I usually birdie about half of them. To walk away with bogey on a par-5 four times last week was very frustrating.
The last two rounds, I simply didn’t have it. I couldn’t get putts to fall and my swing left me a little bit. It is always tough to grind throughout an entire round and just get nothing to go in a positive direction. I shot 76-75 to end a frustrating week, but I can take a lot of positives from it. I played against a great field and took home experience that will be vital in the upcoming years, and I still feel confident in my game heading into some big events to round out the summer.
I also had a blast being in Birmingham with my high school friend David and my high school coach, who caddied for me. It was fun to just hang out and relax off the golf course. We had some good times and it surely made the event a fun one.
I am not playing this week at the U.S. Junior because I am too old. I turned 18 a few weeks ago, so I just miss the cut-off for the event. I am bummed because it is my favorite junior event, but I wish everyone up there in Michigan the best of luck this week. I’m sure it will be a memorable experience this week for them. Have a great week and I look forward to writing again next week.