My one-under 71 in round 1 is the first under -par round I have shot in quite some time. My scores have been coming down in general, but I have continued to struggle with my swing, trying mostly to figure out how to play with a move that is not quite my ideal due to my physical limitations. My lack of pelvic depth in the backswing is something I work on constantly, but in tournament play it is not something I can force with good results. I have been trying to combine the thoughts of keeping the clubhead outside my hands starting back with the face opening while moving pressure to my right heel. My idea is to keep my right knee flexed as I do this, but it wants to straighten somewhat to relieve pressure on my trunk between P2 and P4, and I find it more productive not to overly concentrate on staying flexed. I often go back to my CPC victory swings to reaffirm the fact that I have been successful at a high level with a swing that is less around me than I would like, the shaft standing up a bit in the backswing and exiting less around me. I have my 10.5 M2 driver head set to one notch less loft, which opens the face a bit, and find that when I hit the ball solid with just about any longer club I am fading the ball a bit, especially the driver. One thing that has helped me gain clubhead speed and more distance is the feeling of kicking the club back on my right index finger in transition. I have always taught the “hard catch”, and certainly this has been a hallmark of my swing every time I get to watch it in action in televised tournaments. It seems that with the back and elbow surgeries I have had recently I have lost some of this dynamic motion in my swing. I pulled two shots in the first 3 holes yesterday and was fortunate enough to get the misses up and down, and I could feel the club coming in steep. I started kicking the club back against my finger at the top and then started doing that in the waggle, and it occurred to me that Hogan spent a lot of time on that particular area in the book, and as I visualized what his waggle looked like in real time I knew that I was on the right track. I was even par after a 3 putt on number 7, but on 10 I pulled another shot into a deep fairway bunker and wound up making double. The round could have gone either way at that point but I played 3 under the last 8 holes with 2’s on all 3 par-3s and good looks at birdie on the 3 par 5s. After the round, my playing partner commented that “you hit the ball really well. You have a great move, nice and tight”, which made me feel quite good considering how my personal image of my ball striking has dipped over the years. Today will be another opportunity to go out and try to do what I know how to do. For the first time in a while I feel positive about my swing, and my short game and putting feel fine as well. The course today is more difficult than yesterday as there is less room for error and misses are punished more severely. My back has been pretty fired up due to the travel and the play, but it is not affecting my swing as much as it sometimes does. Hopefully I can keep it going, make the cut, and play all 4 rounds. That would be a nice victory for me considering my play in recent years. Even if it doesn’t turn out I feel that I am getting back to being a competitive player.
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