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Watching the 2014 US Open I found myself taking a huge interest in the race for 2nd place.
I found myself pushing for Eric Compton.
When I turned Professional I played on the Australian Tour and the Canadian Tour.
In 2004 we were playing a Canadian Tour Event called the E-loan Valley Classic in Stockton, CA
Playing in my 2nd event of the season I was 8 under par playing the final round, 2 shots behind the leader Eric Compton. At one stage he had a 5 shot lead with 9 holes to play and with 4 birdies I was 2 shots back with 5 holes to go and on a roll.
As a typical American he was very self-confidence and as I was closing the gap I was wondering how he would react.
As it turned out he would react well, the last 3 three were surrounded by water and he played some of the bravest shot I have ever seen, especially since he was leading. He was attacking flags and going for shot that had a lot of risk with all the water surrounding the 16th and 17th holes.
It was highlighted by on the 18th ( par 5) he still had a 2 shot lead, I drove it in the rough and couldn’t go for the green in 2 and hit it 40m short of the green. Eric has 225 yards to the hole with water all up the left side of the green and hits this perfect rescue, ( his go-to shot) fade from the left side of the green to 6 feet!! He two putted to finish 15 under and win by 3.
Now here didn’t need to do this and odds on he only needed to par to win, I said to him after he had played that shot and we were walking to the green, I thought you might lay-up the last to the green he replied “I had that shot”.
This assertive mind-set is what we all want especially when you have a chance to win.
It is not just golf you see this, this happens in every sport. How many times do you see a rugby team, basketball team cruising to victory and they start change their game plan because of their big lead, or they switch off for a moment. Then the other team comes back and the game gets way closer than it should.
Watching the 2014 US Open and to see Martin Kaymer stay aggressive and keep his game plan this reminded me of my experience.
It proves how important it is to keep pushing, keep playing your shots that you are good at (go to shots) no matter the situation you find yourself in. Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlory have done this in majors and produced some huge wins. The key for them and they say this after is I try not to focus on the score and stay aggressive. Because they know if they do not do this they will start focusing on staying out of trouble and playing shots to avoid (going long with their approach shot, or hitting away from the bunker). Remember if you are focusing on what to avoid, you can’t be focusing on what you want!!! Next time you are winning a match or playing a tournament with a big lead, keep playing with an assertive mind-set, remember this got you into this position in the first place and you can have an enjoyable stress-free finish to the game. The decision is yours!!
Mind Factor Coach