2015 Goals

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Nova Scotia Round 1

My 6:50 tee time on Friday morning necessitates a very short post here because it is time to go to sleep! 

I played beautifully in the first round of the Nova Scotia Open. My game had felt a bit off all week leading up to the start, but I was determined to have a good attitude and a great plan for every shot. I did just that, and I executed quite nicely as well. I had a bit of a rough stretch off the tee during my second nine holes on Thursday, but overall, I was very pleased with all aspects of my game. I birdied the ninth my--my final hole in round one--to polish off an opening-round 65 (-6).

I'm excited to keep getting better throughout the tournament. The plan will remain the same. I'm going to have a smart plan on every shot and maintain a great attitude. It's going to be a good week!

Thank you for following me, and keep it here for more post-round reports!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Getting After My Process

I talk a lot about my work habits and the importance of my preparation here on my blog. Those habits are spelled out and embodied in my Process Goals, and I am very proud of the commitment and discipline I have shown towards them this year. I really feel like having consistent, focused, goal-oriented practice is my biggest key to success. For the first time all year, I missed by quite a bit on completing all of my Process Goals over my last five-week period. I feel like my physical effort was still there, which is good, but as the weeks get longer, hotter, and more demanding, focus and intentionality towards my goals become extremely important. Completing my Process Goals each week is as much about planning and discipline as it is about my execution. This week begins a new five-week segment for me. I will compete four of the five weeks in this period. Conditions promise to be challenging, but I have built the flexibility into my goals to allow breaks when necessary. I am going to get my Process Goals done, because they are the steps that will allow me to achieve the Outcome Goals I have set. I'm ready to get after it! 

I'm off to a good start this week in Nova Scotia, Canada. I've had two nice days of work up here and am excited to keep at it. It's going to be a great week for me. Thank you for keeping up with me, and come back for a pre-tournament report Wednesday evening!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wichita Round 2

Well, it still stinks! I have the weekend off in Wichita after a disappointing second-round score of 75. Regardless of the good play that precedes it, a missed cut just feels awful. However, my game is still in great shape, and I've already turned my attention (and my travel) toward next week's event in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The result in Wichita, though disappointing, does nothing to derail my pursuit of my goals. 

So what happened in Wichita? I'm really not sure. I played beautifully to begin the tournament. In fact, I was bogey-free and four under par through the first 16 holes of the competition despite a fairly cold putter.  During that stretch, I hit some fantastic shots and really felt great about things. I finished sloppily on Thursday with bogies on my final two holes, but I felt like I went into Friday with a good attitude. I definitely didn't execute my shots as sharply on Friday, but I didn't feel that far off, either. After opening my round with a par, I bogied five consecutive holes. During that stretch, I hit a couple of tee shots into the rough and one poor iron shot, but three times I hit what I thought were pretty good approach shots that ended up off the back of the green in bad shape. I think I was just misjudging the wind. Whatever the cause of the miscues, my rough start had me behind the eight-ball, but I was proud of the way I stayed committed to my plan. I did a nice job of playing one shot at a time; I simply couldn't get anything going. I felt like I had a chance to play my way back into the tournament until a slightly over-drawn tee shot on the par-four seventh hole (my 16th on Friday) found the water. That led to a sloppy double-bogey and my fate was sealed. Still, I finished with some great shots on my last two holes and birdied my final hole of the tournament. 

No amount of positive thinking, or even a birdie on the final hole, can make a missed cut stink less, but I am not moving forward from my week in Wichita feeling discouraged. Alicia and I changed our travel plans and are on our way to Canada this (Sunday) morning. I am excited to go have a great week in Nova Scotia and give myself another chance to win a tournament. 

I'll come back early next week with an update about my Process Goals. I'm excited to keep working hard (and smart) and keep getting better. Thank you for following me and caring about my career. Keep it here for updates from Canada!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wichita Round 1

I'm playing great. In round one of the Web.com Tour's Air Capital Classic, I hit every fairway and had 14 birdie putts inside of thirty feet. My putter wasn't hot, but I still was four under par and bogey-free through sixteen holes. Unfortunately, I limped home with bogies on holes 17 and 18, but that doesn't change the fact that I am playing very well. Morning thunderstorms have delayed the start of round two, but when I tee off on Friday afternoon, I need to stay dedicated to my process and commit to playing one shot at a time. I'm playing so well that I feel like I should win all these tournaments, but that very positive feeling is actually working against me sometimes because it causes me to get ahead of myself over shots. I do believe that I can win, and that is a very good thing, but I need to use that confidence as motivation to focus on each and every shot. I'm going to do a good job of that in round two, and I feel prepared to play a great round. Thank you for following and keep it here for more!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ready in Wichita

I have had two nice days of preparation and am feeling great for this week's Web.com Tour event. The course here in Wichita features narrow fairways and fantastically thick rough. In addition to that, steady winds promise to add some challenge to the event. With that said, the course rewards accurate tee shots with plenty of short iron approach shots into soft greens that roll nicely. I'm going to play one shot at a time and have a great plan on each and every one of them. I'm going to get after it this week. Keep it here for updates after the rounds. Thank you for following!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Be Tough or Quit?

During a practice session at home this week, a friend made the observation to me that I beat people in tournament play "because [I] have more guts than them." On the surface, I didn't really agree with that statement because I was thinking of "guts" as the boldness to go for and pull off heroic shots. On further thought, however, I realize that he meant "guts" in a different way. I have the guts to follow my plan and to believe that my work-ethic will carry me to success over players who may have more talent than me. I have the guts to out-work and out-smart my competition and to believe that my style of golf will win. 

The important thing for me is continuing to display those guts when things get difficult. I titled this post "Be Tough or Quit" because I feel like those are the two options I have when facing a challenge. Clearly, I would never quit in the literal sense by walking off the course during a competition, but the moment I start to doubt my work and doubt the fact that I am good enough to be successful, I have quit in a way. I want to have the guts and the toughness to continue believing in myself and my process even when I face a challenge. Any time that I am faced with the option to be tough or quit, I want to be tough. 

This conversation is directly relevant to my most recent tournament experience, but it can be applied almost daily as well. When I reflect on letting the 54-hole lead get away from me at the Web.com Tour event in Cleveland, it is clear that my three-putt bogey on the sixth hole in the final round really rattled me. Instead of displaying the guts that it takes to stay committed to my routine and believing that good results would follow, I panicked and tried to force the good results to happen. Essentially, I quit believing in my process. This same way of thinking can be applied almost everyday in my practice as well. When things get difficult, I have the choice to be tough and stay committed to my plan, or I can quit and be less focused towards my goals. I want stay committed to my process and to believe that I will be successful. That takes toughness, and I've got it. 

I think it's worth noting that being tough doesn't guarantee successful results every time, but it does put me in the best position to get the very most from my practice and tournament play. 

I am ready to go do it! Alicia and I hit the road/air tomorrow (Monday, 6/22) for a four-week trip on the Web.com Tour. We start in Wichita, Kansas. 

I have done great work over the past seven days. I took two days completely off from golf and fitness on Monday and Tuesday to rejuvenate. I then had three fantastic days of work at home, which included some quality time with Jake Reeves. Over the weekend, I made a quick trip to see Mitchell. I got in a lot of great work and feel like my game is continuing to get better. As for my Process Goals for this week, I did a great job of knocking them out in a short time period. I completed many elements of my Full Fitness Routine and Full Practice Schedule, but in the end I can give myself credit for only a Light week of each. Still, I'm quite pleased with the work I did, and I feel well-prepared as I head back into competition. 

Thank you very much for following and supporting my career. Great things are coming, so keep it here to enjoy the journey with me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Disappointment (A Little Bit) in Cleveland

The title of this post sounds so negative. In truth, I did feel negative for a little while after finishing the Web.com Tour's Rust-Oleum Championship. Beautiful play through the first three rounds had me two shots clear of the field heading into the final day, but I was a little bit off physically and, more importantly, mentally in the final round. After standing at 15 under par through three rounds, I posted a one-over-par round of 72 on Sunday and finished the tournament tied for fifth place. Even as I write that, a strong tinge of disappointment comes over me. I expect to win. I work hard so that I can win. I put myself in a great position to win. And I didn't win. It stinks. 

My overall feelings looking back on the tournament in Cleveland, however, are far from the negativity relayed by the title of this post. I feel great! Let me rattle off some of the positive things from last week in bullet point form:

-I shot fourteen under par for the week on a fantastic golf course.
-Through 59 holes, I had made just one bogey. 
-I played 20 holes on Saturday; I was in or around the lead all day; and I never made a bogey. 
-My third-round 67 was my 11th consecutive competitive round in the 60's. 
-I finished fifth on the third most competitive professional golf tour in the world.

Clearly, it wasn't a disappointing week. Sunday was not my best golf, but I will take the positive things away from my week in Cleveland, and I will use them to give myself many more chances to win this year. 

So, what did happen on Sunday? I had a very solid start in which I hit all of the first five greens in regulation and made two birdies. Then I panicked a little bit after a three-putt bogey on the par-five sixth hole. I was trying to tell myself all the right things, but I wasn't responding to them very well. I had played beautifully all week, but I felt shaky and uncomfortable after that three putt. I proceeded to hit a couple of loose tee shots and then short game shots that were just a little bit off on each of the next three holes. I made bogies at holes six, seven, and eight and had to roll in a nice par-saving putt at the downwind par-five ninth. That stretch of holes felt like a nightmare, and I definitely did not control my thoughts as well as I can through that time. I still felt a little bit rattled going into the back nine, but I did a nice job of calming down and executing some shots. I could never get any good mojo going though, and I finished the tournament with ten consecutive pars. 

The lesson from this experience is not a new one. I need to stay focused on my process, especially at the times when it is hardest to do so. The three-putt on number six during the final round was the first time all week I felt vulnerable. I began to think about the outcome and tried to force good things to happen. I wanted to win so badly that I wasn't able to stay in the present and take care of my business one shot at a time. I don't believe for one second that I suddenly lost my game on the sixth green on Sunday. I simply let anxiety creep into my thought process by thinking about the outcome over my shots. Like I said, this is not a new lesson, but it is a very powerful reminder. 

So, with that, it's time to move forward! I can't even do the math to tell you how many under par I am over my past four tournaments, but it is a lot, and I'm ready to go give myself more chances to win so that I can handle them better!

I updated my office motivation board this morning. Here it is:
I know there is nothing new about anything that is written on there, but I like the new nature of the image. My Outcome Goals are written, and then the umbrella statement that covers all of my goals is "Be the Best That Peter Malnati Can Be." I am motivated to continue to work hard, work smart, stay focused, and achieve my goals. 

As an update in that area, I am still very much committed to my Process Goals. They are my plan that will get me to the Outcome Goals I have set. I did not have a thorough week of work during the event Cleveland, but I am very much at peace with that. The 37-hole day of golf at U.S. Open Qualifying on Monday and then a tournament week filled with weather delays created a situation where completing all of my Process Goals would have been counterproductive. With that said, I need to get back on track this week while I'm home and have a solid week of work. I'm ready to do just that!

FUN SIDE NOTE:
I was lucky enough to be invited down on the field before the Cleveland Indians game on Wednesday to participate in a closest-to-the-pin contest with two other Web.com Tour players. It was super fun being on the field, and I can't wait to get down on the field with my Royals in Kansas City sometime soon, too! I hit two wedge shots, and my second one fell just past the flag that was planted in center field. I won the contest! It was really cool. 

Thank you for following me and supporting my career! Great stuff is coming, so keep it here to enjoy the journey with me!