Golf Australia

Rookie blog: Boland caddy chat a key way forward

Julia Boland
Julia Boland in action.
This time a couple of weeks ago I had just made my first cut on the LPGA and I was pleased overall with my result in Hawaii. I didn't play great each round, but I kept it together all in all. Since then I have had two events and one qualifier... But let's start with the Dallas event.

I was pumped to be 'home' in Dallas, on what was a challenging course for everyone. The North Texas Shoot Out was a strange set up, there were plenty of par fours with 'dog-legs' sloping away from the play of the hole, so positioning was vital.

Looking back on the event it's hard to know what to say- I missed the cut by five shots, but even now I am frustrated by this. It's one thing to miss the cut when you play poorly, but it's another thing to miss a cut because of stupidity and stubbornness.

I only had to shoot even par on Friday to be playing on the weekend, and twice I hit aggressive shots with the wrong club that ended up in big trouble. I was overly aggressive, and temperamental.

As I write this I am sitting on the couch constantly refreshing the live scoring for Texas A&M women's team at regionals and my friends on the Symetra Tour.

As I see a bogey or two pop up on my screen I'm not stressed, I think "ok, that's not going to kill you, just hit the next shot on the fairway, find the green and roll your putt, if it goes in, great, if not that's ok too".

From a few thousand miles away it's an easy game! My point is however that one or two hiccups don't kill a round, it's when you let them ruin the rest of your day that you find yourself in trouble.

In Texas I let my mistakes control me. I wanted to immediately fix them by taking a stupid line or club for the next shot, I wasn't patient with my caddy and I didn't enjoy myself.

Following my round I had the opportunity to speak to a good friend of mine, Wendi, who was the assistant coach at Texas A&M when I was player. I told her about my frustration, I told her about the decisions I had made, and I also said that I was frustrated that my caddy hadn't intervened and taken control of what was clearly an uncontrolled situation. Wendi always and a great perspective and she encouraged me to learn from my mistakes, and try to improve.

On Saturday my caddy and I headed to the course and spent a long day on the range and practice areas talking. We intentionally spoke about our mistakes, we discussed how we would go about it differently, but more importantly we talked about how we can better prepare for he following week at Kingsmill. We came up with 5 things:

- be more purposeful in my practice
- set goals for each day
- get a more in depth game plan of how we can play each hole
- I need to communicate, regardless of how I feel
- create games and competition in my practice to sharpen up my intentions

When I look back on my career one day I will not remember that day as one of my best, but I did have a great feeling of moving forward, a positivity about the future.

On to Kingsmill...Beautiful!!

I had heard pretty good things about the course and the tournament prior to my arrival, but it's best to just experience it in person. I spent the early part of the week preparing. I had chipping and putting competitions with a couple of players, and I played the course with purposeful meaning during my practice rounds.

When I woke up on Thursday morning I was ready, and I knew I was prepared.

I played very well Thursday, but the final two holes were a massive disappointment. I am currently in the top ten on putting stats for the LPGA and I had a 3 putt, 4 putt finish (17 and 18th holes).

I was literally shocked. I still don't know where it came from. After lunch and time to cool down I looked back on my round and realized that I had played very well. Unfortunately I couldn't change my finish but I knew if I went out the next day and stayed patient I would play well.

Friday delivered brutal conditions. The famous 17th hole par 3 was playing 155 yard pin, and 135 yard front edge. The wind was so strong that my 5iron came up short. My even par 71 was close to a career round. I stayed patient, I didn't let me frustration take control of my day and I communicated with my caddy. I even got a text from Karrie congratulating me for playing well in tough conditions!

Heading into the weekend I was confident, happy and excited to play. I shot 70 on both Saturday and Sunday and for the first time since joining the LPGA felt like I could really win. The winning score was -10 I finished at even par.... This seems Iike a lot but I made 19 birdies throughout the week, and felt like if there was such a thing as luck, I didn't have it this week.

I finished the tournament T24, and though I was happy, I am not satisfied, I know the best is still to come.

After the final round I packed up the car and headed to Baltimore for the US Open Qualifier. It was this year's LPGA site so there were 11 spots available.

Unfortunately I didn't qualify, which makes me sad. If I have a stellar next few weeks though I can move up the money list and get in that way.

I head back on the road next week to Mobile, Alabama with four events straight... I can't wait, I am excited to play this game!

Julia Boland ( @juliabolandgolf ) is a former National Squad member and current member of Golf Australia's Rookie Professional Program. She is playing on the LPGA Tour and is based in the United States

22 August 2016
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