This series of tournaments marks the halfway point to this year’s tour! It is going by so quickly! I’ve had fun with the friends I made last year and in college and I’ve also enjoyed meeting the rookies and getting to know some of them. It’s a bit easier when we return to the same places and courses, but, it is also exciting to have a few new locations on our schedule.
June 2-4, 2017 Fucillo Kia Classic at Capital Hills in Albany, NY
Once again I got to spend my birthday with the Marois family near Albany, New York while I played in the Fucillo Kia Classic at Capital Hills. Mr. Marois volunteered to be my caddie and Mrs. Marois and Sarah came out to cheer me on.
Symetra sent me a birthday greeting and shot this video during my practice round that day.
There was a concert right on the course by country music star, Frankie Ballard, on Friday night, however, due to my tee times this weekend, I was unable to attend.
Capital Hills has bluegrass greens and fairways and is quite hilly. Prior to this tournament the area received record rains, therefore, the course was still wet and limited the roll on our drives. This is one of those courses when it’s key to stay on the greens because the roughs are thick. I like this course and I played well the first day. The second day I had a hard time getting to the greens and my putting was “off.” It was very cool while we played there.
I was invited to play in the ProAm this week with a lively group of good golfers. The captain of this group owns a tech company, Orion Group Software Engineers, and I wore Orion’s cap while I competed this week.
This week I was paired with a former Wake teammate and recent graduate, Sierra Sims, for the first two rounds. It’s fun having former teammates on tour and I enjoyed having the time to catch up with Sierra.
Blackthorn is one of the longer courses on our schedule, especially the back side. As usual, it was in great shape. Again this week, I had trouble with the tall roughs and with my putts. I felt like I was grinding over every hole.
For the fourth year, the Potawatomi nation tribes.is sponsoring the Potawatomi Cup. A total of $40,000 in bonus money (doesn’t count towards Volvik Race for the Card money list) is available to players based on performance at the four events. The four Potawatomi Cup events are:
1. Four Winds Invitational (June 9-11) in South Bend. Ind.
2. Island Resort Championship (June 23-25) in Harris, Mich.
3. FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship (July 28-30) in Battle Creek, Mich.
4. PHC Classic (August 4-6) in Milwaukee, Wis.
June 16-19, 2017 Decatur-Forsyth Classic at Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur, Illinois
I had a busy, fun week at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic. This event is the longest running tournament on the Symetra (formerly Futures) Tour – thirty-three years!
Monday I played in the Platinum ProAm with Jack and Bill. Bill, the Executive Director for the Decatur Park District, was my partner this day.
Early Tuesday morning I was a guest on the radio show Byers & Co. on Now Decatur. I was invited to the studio along with Bret Lasky of the Symetra Tour. Brian Byers was a entertaining host and I enjoyed talking with him. The interview is online here.
Wednesday, I played in the Symetra ProAm, one of the group is a veterinarian and I enjoyed chatting with him about our family dog, Deacon.
Hickory Point is a fairly flat course and it was set up like last year. Its fairways were rolling out a lot with several par 5s reachable in two. Some of the par 4s played short and I could use my pitching wedges to get on the greens.
I was pleased with my play on Friday and Saturday – the winds were favorable and my short game was working. My drive on the last hole on Saturday went awry, the next shot wasn’t much better, but, then I hit a chip that saved par and put me in second place. I was honored to be in the highlight reel of the day. You can see ALL of Saturday’s Top Five shots here.
Saturday night heavy rain fell and the greens on Sunday were much slower. The afternoon players on Sunday were hitting into the wind and the holes played longer. I played well until the final two holes when I missed a couple of four-feet putts and finished the tournament tied for eighth place.
June 23-25, 2017 Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris, Michigan
Harris is one of my favorite events all year because almost everyone stays at the resort. It is a lot of fun to be able to hang out with other players after the rounds and not have to drive at all to get to the course. I was able to play blackjack a little during the week with the $200 tournament gift that is given to every player. I came out even for the week, so I would say that was pretty successful!
I played well this week and was able to tough it out through the many weather delays. I had a couple birdies coming down the back nine on the second day to make the cut and move into a good position heading into the final day. Unfortunately, the final round was cancelled due to storms in the area.
July 7-9, 2017 Donald Ross Centennial Classic at French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana
I really enjoyed going to French Lick for the first time. In addition to being a Symetra inaugural event, it was also the 100th anniversary of the course and a Seniors LPGA event followed ours.
The course we played was designed by Donald Ross and was extremely hilly. The greens were rolling as a 10.5 which seemed fast because the greens were so undulated. I felt like this course suited my game well, so I was a little disappointed to not finish higher. I was able to play well enough to make the cut and thought the week overall was successful. I have a week at home and then head up to Rochester for the second to last stretch of the year!