May 11, 2011
Last night's blog left off that for the team reality was setting in that we were competing for a national championship. Today's round was a reality check and the team found out that sometimes reality bites.
The normal banter that took place at previous team breakfasts was replaced by an eerie silence. The guys ate quickly and we headed to the course. You can talk until you're blue about not being nervous and staying in the moment but saying and doing are two different things. Sometimes you seize the moment and sometimes the moment seizes you. You could see their hands shaking as they signed their names to their scorecard, heck, even I was nervous. Golf is a rhythm game and it's tough to find a rhythm when you are battling nerves. We would have a couple of rough holes then string together a couple of good holes but the team never really settled down until the back nine. We had a pretty good stretch from holes 13-15 that saw us pick up a couple shots we lost earlier but the par 5 16th really hurt. We took a double bogey and a quad that really stopped the momentum. Another quad and bogey on 18 left us with a team score of 327 and 38th place out of 40. It was not the start we were looking for. Disappointing, yes, but not the end of the world.
Post round we discussed some of the emotions we were feeling and to a man they admitted nerves got the best of them. Brandon spoke of how his hand was shaking so bad, he couldn't laser a yardage from the fairway on the first hole. Ever the team leader, Nick was quick to point out to the team, that "tomorrow we are bringing the U-Haul", meaning we are going to move up the standings.
At team dinner, the tone was more relaxed and the talk was about getting back on the course for some redemption. The team was able to laugh some of it off, knowing they are capable of so much more. The effort was never in question and there is no quit in the guys. The pressure of being the first UMD golf team to make the NCAAs in 33 years may have got the best of us today and the odds are almost insurmountable to make the cut but tomorrow is a new day. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Tomorrow we plan on bringing the U-Haul.