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Perfecting the process
By Jordan Holley
Jordan Holley, 28, is a mini-tour player pursuing his dream of earning a PGA Tour card. He graduated from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., where he was an NCAA All-American and a member of the Cleveland Golf Academic All-American First Team. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 2008, and since turning professional has played on the NGA Hooters and eGolf tours, as well as other minor league tours.
Hey there guys and girls! Sorry it’s been a while and I want to start by apologizing for not keeping this blog going these last few weeks. It has been quite the busy road lately so let me catch you up!
I caught a bit of flack with the last blog for skipping over some things in between the last “failure” and my most recent success. Let me start by saying thank you to my coach, Mike Adams. Without his guidance, I would not be getting as close to my goals as I am right now. He teaches with simple, fundamental technique but is not afraid to challenge me to dig deep and get out of my comfort zone. I have always been such a “feel” player and up until last year, had never really taken formal lessons with any kind of regularity. He has molded me into a more consistent, disciplined and definitely smarter player.
Last time I went in-depth in regards to results, I told you about my fantastic start and ugly finish in the eGolf Tour event at St James in Southport, NC. Since that heartbreaker, I came back to Florida and proceeded to finish third in a Minor League Golf Tour event followed by my third victory (by three shots!) on the Jupiter, Fla., based mini-tour. Heading back to North Carolina armed with some new confidence and a new set of wheels, I played in the next two events on the eGolf Professional Tour.
A disappointing tie for 42nd at the EGPT event at High Point C.C. after rounds of 70-72-75 led me back to the drawing board and a new commitment to improving around the greens. Although I have racked up impressive birdie runs (five in a row three times in the last three events) I knew I needed to sharpen things up heading into my next event. Let me stop there for a second and just give a little insight to the recreational golfer. PUT the DRIVER DOWN and pick up your putter and wedges! It’s where even small improvements can yield immediate results in your golf game.
I left the High Point, NC, area and headed to meet a bunch of old friends at the beach for Memorial Day. I decided at that point that a few days off might do my mind well and that’s exactly what I did. A weekend full of sun, sand, boats, beers and friends helped me clear my mind and I felt great heading to my next adventure. I teed it up in the EGPT event in Hickory, NC, on the following Wednesday armed with a free mind and a strange peace about where I was heading.
Without getting into too much detail, I had been contacted by the group of sponsors (see previous articles) with some terrible news. For some reason still not fully explained to me, they informed me that they were NOT going to fulfill their promise of backing and only cited a “lack of potential” as their reasoning. I could have jumped through the phone line after hearing that but instead I have just used it as motivation! Just for the record I have played seven events since we met, have made all seven cuts and a check in every event, have won and added top-15 efforts in five of seven events played including three top fives on the MLGT. With 12 of my last 15 rounds at par or better and seven of 15 at 68 or better, I personally don’t see an excuse to drop what seemed to be a committed deal.
I truly do hate to brag and left most of this out of the last blog for that reason, but I just want this audience to understand that it takes a combination of good golf AND good luck to bring all the necessary pieces in together. In this two month stretch I have earned roughly $11,000 and haven’t even put my best tournaments together. Without a sponsor, my schedule is painfully limited to only what I can afford, and not to what will best prepare me for my immediate goal, the 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying School! I have missed ALL of the Nationwide and PGA Tour Monday qualifiers but I’m excited about the next few events on my schedule.
My most recent “close call” came yesterday in the MLGT’s second “Major” at PGA National, home of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. Playing for a $10,000 first place check, I shot a 68 in the first round that featured a birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle stretch, and was only one shot back heading into yesterday’s final round. I bogeyed my first hole out of the gate but added birdies on Nos. 3, 5, 6, and 8 to turn at three-under 33. A birdie at No. 10 put me in the lead alone and I was in good shape heading into the 11th green from the middle of the fairway. A pulled 7 iron left me 50 feet for birdie and an untimely three-putt bogey brought me back to 3-under on the day and 7-under for the tourney. Beautiful irons coupled with missed birdie putts from 8 feet, 15 feet, 6 feet, 15 feet, and 18 feet on my next five holes (including the Bear Trap) left me with only the par 5 18th to go. Trailing by two, I ripped my tee shot but pulled it slightly into the first cut of rough just left of the fairway. From 225 yards and with a helping breeze, I hit a sky-high five iron to the center of the green, setting up an eagle putt with a chance to tie.
As I approached the putt I had a great sense of calm and promise even with all the putts I missed leading up to the final green. I read the putt to break slightly left to right and come back a touch left as it died. I stroked it with confidence and as a good golfer knows the difference between a bad putt and a misjudged one, I completely misjudged the pace and left it on a great line 6 feet short. I was so mad at myself that after I marked the ball, I let my emotions get the better of me. For the first time in the last four or five events, I didn’t completely focus on the putt I left myself for birdie and hit a terrible putt. As I tapped in for par and a round of 69.
As costly as the miss was and as upset as I was with myself, I realized just how far I have come as a player in the last year. I’ve continue to put myself in good spots and I can’t wait for that next big win. Maybe it will be in the next few state opens, or better yet, maybe it will come on Tour. What I have realized is that you can say it all you want but until you completely give up the desire to control the outcome and ONLY focus on what leads into the shot, you are holding yourself back. My new thing when playing is to commit to my shot, stand over the ball, and literally tell myself “I don’t even CARE where this ball goes.” I see where the shot went and I do the same thing from there. That is what I mean by the title of this piece, if you can perfect the process, results take care of themselves.
Thanks for all the support and make sure to follow me on Twitter for updates @J_Holley6under!
Until next time, practice around the greens and do your best to perfect YOUR process!