Web.com, Nova Scotia Open – Halifax, Nova Scotia

The first few weeks in July were the three the most exciting of my summer so far. From competing in back to back tournaments on the Web.com tour to finishing tied for 7th at the PGA Tour Canada stop in Thunder Bay, I’m really looking forward to what the remainder of the summer holds for me. Here’s a little recap of what I experienced during that time.

Web.com, Nova Scotia Open – Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Open in Halifax was a new event on the Web.com schedule and was run by Golf Canada and SportBox Entertainment Group. I earned an exemption to play by way of being a client of SportBox and from day one in Halifax I was all smiles. It was my first Web.com experience and a great opportunity for me to see how I stacked up against the players at the next level.

In conjunction with the Nova Scotia Open was a new event called GOLFest which featured Canadians Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, and Adam Hadwin playing matches against an International team made up of Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland, Trevor Immelman, and Manuel Villegas. I’m getting more and more comfortable warming up beside these “Tour” guys but it’s still cool to watch them do their thing. As much support as there was for the Canadian team, the International squad came out on top by a decent margin to take home the inaugural title and all the bragging rights.

The New Course at the Ashburn Golf Club was host the venue for this first-time event and it proved to be a great test of golf. Although a short track, the New Course has very undulating greens, which coupled with the often swirling wind, proved to be it’s two major defences.

Needless to say I was extremely excited to get under way and see how my golf game stacked up on the bigger stage. I opened with a round of 73 in fairly windy conditions on day one but came back nicely in the morning on day two with a round of 68, which included a birdie on the par-5 9th hole to make the cut by one. I knew where I stood entering that last few holes, but wasn’t sure if the cut line would remain at even-par or move to 1-under. As much as I wanted to force a birdie I stuck to my routines. I hit what I thought was a good drive but the wind pushed it into the deep rough. From there I could only advance it to the 150-yard marker. Still playing uphill and into the wind I hit a solid 8-iron that came to rest about 12 feet from the hole; a right-to-left breaking putt that I felt would guarantee I made the cut. I took several deep breaths before stepping over the putt and rolling it right in the center. I gave a good fist pump as I watch the ball disappear into the bottom of the cup. I had made it into the weekend in my first Web.com tournament.

As many of you know who followed the tournament, Hurricane Arthur swept through on Saturday and cancelled play for the entire day, forcing a 36-hole marathon on Sunday. With the day off of golf I ventured with an old college teammate to Peggy’s Cove, a neat tourist attraction to get up close to Arthur’s fury.

Sunday started bright and early as everyone tee’d off in groups of three on both the 1st and 10th tee’s. As much that was on the line for me, I knew the day was all about being patient and staying emotionally relaxed. Two rounds in one day is tough enough without tournament pressure so the more calm I remained and energy I saved, the better my chances were of playing solid golf and finishing well. And that’s what I did, finishing with 3 birdies over my final 4 holes in the morning to gain some momentum and positive feelings heading into the afternoon.

The turn around between the rounds was only 35 minutes long, which was hardly enough time to unwind, grab a bite, and rewarm-up. Again our group tee’d off number 10 and my goal remained the same; stay patient, positive, and committed to every shot. I glanced at a few leader boards throughout the afternoon because finishing inside the top-25 would qualify me for the following week’s tournament. That was a big goal of mine so it was important for me to know where I stood over my last few holes. With four holes remaining I knew I needed at least two birdies to hop inside the top-25 so that was my focus.

I drove it into the green-side bunker and got up and down for birdie on the short, 6th hole. On number seven I smoked a drive, wedged it to about 10 feet, and rolled in the uphill breaking putt right in heart. There were my two birdies so now I had to just finish strong. On the par-3 8th I was forced to get up and down from an awkward lie once again from the green-side sand trap which I did to keep the momentum heading to the finishing hole, the par-5 9th. I hit a great drive down the left but it kicked hard into the deep rough. From there I could only hit a low chasing 5-iron that ended up in the sand trap about 30 yards away from the pin. It was a tough, long bunker shot that I hit to about 15 ft away. As I always do, I went through my routine and took several deep breaths to calm my nerves. I hit the putt along my target line but it didn’t break as I thought it would and it passed by the edge. I tapped in for par and a final round score of 69 (-2). In the scoring tent I learned that my 4-day total of -3 would in fact place me inside the top-25 by one shot, even with several groups still on the course. I finished the event in a tie for 23rd with rounds 73, 68, 71, 69 (-3) and advanced to the following week on the Web.com Tour, the Utah Championship.