2019 CAT Open

After a short trip from Macau to Manilla and then the subsequent transfer up to Tarlac, it was time to reset for another week after a bit of an anti-climactic week in Macau.  This week would be another iteration of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Open (CAT Open) played once again at the Luisita Golf and Country Club just south of Tarlac City.

This is a venue the tour has been fortunate enough to frequent and that we all know quite well.  Once again, it was presented in great shape and was playing firm and fast.
Starting the week, I felt I needed to put some work in on the range which I managed to get done. I felt my prep was good and particularly at a course I have played well at before and was quite comfortable at.
The first three rounds really went by quite fast and I felt really good, shooting rounds of 67, 67, 67 to be in the outright lead by 4 shots.  Leading into Round 4 I was trying to hardest to stay as close to present as I could, knowing that it was going to be an immense challenge for me personally in round 4, still waiting for my first 2019 victory.
My final round got started really well, giving myself birdie opportunities on all of the first 7 holes and seeing myself 3 under par through 7 holes and a ways out in front.  Golf being golf, a clear contender emerged as Clyde Mondilla (a great Philippine talent) started to make a significant run of birdies and my birdies started to become harder to find.
I would make a bogey and and birdie with the rest pars up until the 71st hole.  At this point I was 3 shots ahead with 2 holes to play, simple maths right? I hit the green on the long par 3 over the water but eventually 3 putted from about 50 feet away.  Now we were 2 shots apart with 1 hole to play and to say I was jumping out of my skin was an understatement.  Nothing can prepare you for that moment. I would end up making a double bogey on the 72nd hole, signing for an even par 72 and pushing the event into a playoff.  The challenge continues…
Driving back to the playoff tee, I knew what I had to do.  I had afforded myself some poor thoughts and that in its entirety was the reason the tournament was not yet mine.  It was this anger that I channeled into my focus to hit a perfect tee shot and good approach shot to 8 feet to set up my birdie.  My opponent Clyde would unfortunately not make par and I later two putted for my first victory for 2019 and first on the PGT-Asia Tour.  It was probably more dramatic than others may have forecast, but for me being able to rescue my thoughts and still come out on top was more of a victory personally.  It was the boost I needed for my year and my golfing confidence.
Following this event, I was physically and emotionally drained and ready for some downtime back in Atlanta.

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