This past week I played in a Challenge Tour event (KPMG Trophy) in Brussels. I had another strong opening round shooting six under 66. I followed with rounds of 71, 68, 72 for a total of 11 under and I tied for 20th.
I struck the ball well the first two rounds and just about all of my putts dropped the first day. My shotmaking was a little off the third round, but my short game helped a lot as I posted 4 under despite hitting only nine greens in regulation. Today, I still wasn't hitting the ball pure, and six of my putts hit the hole but didn't drop.
I was frustrated not moving up the leaderboard today. I played hard and well for three rounds and I was right there and ready to move to the top, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.
I’m excited about the progress in my short game over last few weeks, especially putting. I’m looking forward to Skyping with my swing coach tomorrow morning to address some of my old full-swing habits that crept in this week.
Overall, it was a good week! I had 22 birdies and I was in contention on Sunday. I finished every round strong with birdies over the final few holes. My game continues to feel good and I’m looking forward to competing in France and then Denmark. My goal is to continue building consistency and also get on rolls as much as I can.
Tomorrow I’ll drive down to Lumbres, France (2 ½ hours from here) for the next event. It’s being played on a quirky course (As Saint Omer GC). The fairways are tight and many of them cant so good drives often find their way into the rough. I tend to do well on narrow and funky courses, though, so I hope to wrap my head around the quirkiness and maybe gain an advantage on the field.
Wishing you all the best from Europe! Enjoy U.S. Open week!
This week at the Challenge Tour event in Lucerne, Switzerland I got off to a really strong start with a seven-under 64 and initially I was tied for the lead. I played well throughout the tournament and I had some birdie streaks. The first day I had seven birdies and no bogeys and over the final four holes today I was three under. I finished 64, 71, 72, 70 and tied 22nd in a field of 156.
The clean air and beauty of Lucerne make it one of my favorite places to compete. There’s something refreshing about this place that helps me focus. I do wonder, however, how people justify living here as it’s so expensive. The small bowl of spaghetti and glass of water I just had for dinner cost $35, which really is kind of nutty.
My short game and putting were on point this week. A lot of putts fell during the first and final rounds. I did get a little tentative during the second round and I’m working on correcting a few approach shots that went left. Last night I sent a couple of video clips to my coach and the suggestion he made helped a lot. When I got it down toward the end of today’s round birdies started coming.
It looks like I’ll get in the next three Challenge Tour events in Belgium, France and Denmark. I’m headed over to Belgium tomorrow.
I wanted to pass along a quick update about my play this week at the match play event on Challenge Tour in Andalucia, Spain. I shot even par – one over the first day and one under the second – to finish tied 52nd in a field of 156 but I missed the top 32 for match play.
I played well this week for 34 holes but I made two bad swings during the first round resulting in lost balls and, consequently, a double and a triple. I made ten birdies and otherwise I executed and competed well. I was happy I came back from the two tough holes, but it wasn’t quite enough.
Andalucia, is a beautiful part of Spain, which reminds me of San Diego. It was the most hilly course I’ve competed on. The slopes are just so long, and there are so many of them. The tees were the only level spots, and just walking the thing was a big cardio workout. But, it also was an incredibly gorgeous venue right on the Mediterranean.
I played well this week and shot 12 under (66, 68, 72, 70) to finish tied 13th at the Challenge Tour event in Oxfordshire, England. The change I made in my ball flight three weeks ago, moving away from the draw I’ve played my entire life to a fade, continues to settle in and feel good. Each week it gets better and I feel more confident executing it and seeing the ball fall to the right. And, a switch to a new putter two weeks ago seems to be paying off as I’ve been rolling it quite well on the greens.
I’m excited about my new technique and the future as my game feels good. The only rough spot this week came after a six-hour rain delay on Saturday when I had two tough holes.
I’m in a cab right now headed down to Heathrow where I’ll catch a quick flight over to Paris. Once I get there, I’ll drive five hours west to Pleneuf, France for the next tournament.
I competed on the Challenge Tour this week in Katrineholm, Sweden (just outside of Stockholm). I was three under (74, 70, 73, 68) finishing tied 42nd (nine shots behind the winner). It was an up and down week but I played well under windy conditions the second day and I also played well today but, really, I could’ve had a special round this morning with seven birdies over twelve holes but three bogeys crept in.
I’ve always hit a draw but in recent weeks I’ve been thinking about changing my swing a bit and going to a fade and, fortuitously, someone I hardly knew came up to me on Wednesday and gave me advice on fading the ball. A swing coach from London (and who also spends a lot of time in Sweden), who I had met just briefly several months ago and who works with a friend of mine, spent several hours with me getting the new shot pattern down. For the first time ever, I hit fades throughout the four days. By today it was working much better than the draw pattern I used previously.
I just landed in Helsinki, Finland for the next event. I’m feeling good and excited about my game and the upcoming week.
I had a good week here in Senica, Slovakia finishing five under (74, 66, 73. 70) tied 44th. I played well the second round to make the cut and then I had a bunch of birdies over the weekend but a few more bogeys than I wanted came along. I’m feeling good about my game but I’m also pushing for more.
I’ve been to some unusual places but I never thought I’d compete in Slovakia. The weather here is crazy. Extremes in wind and rain seem to be a bigger issue in Europe than in America but Slovakia takes it to a different level. It changes quickly, so a player who finishes in the morning wave may compete under dramatically different conditions than the ones that go off in the afternoon. There were three to four-shot changes in average, daily score this week based on when a player teed off. It all evens out over the course of a season, though.
We competed on a great course, which was typical of ones we play in countries where golf isn’t the primary sport. The government and promoters in these kinds of places try to advance our sport and also generate tourism. They found a beautiful piece of property and hired a top course architect (Jack Nicklaus did this one) and made a big investment to create something unusually attractive and difficult. Incredibly, we actually had a par 6 this week, which was kind of cool and which I hadn’t seen before. It played 783 yards, and any shot along the way that landed in the rough made it hard to get to the green in four.
Overall, it was a good week on a great course in strong competition and now I’m at the Vienna Airport headed to La Gomera, Spain in the Canary Islands. We’ll play another great course there that’s built on the side of a volcano and, as a result, has views of the Atlantic Ocean from every hole. It too, of course, can get windy.
I shot three under (70, 71, 71, 69) at the Najeti Hotel event on the Challenge Tour finishing 16th. It was a very tough track out in the rural, rolling hills of France and it had some of the hardest fairways to hit that I’ve seen. A few of them canted significantly so unless a drive was shaped properly and landed in the perfect spot it rolled sideways into deep rough.
I played well and there are a lot of positives to take away from the week. I’ve had good finishes in the past two events and my game feels solid. Right now, though, I’m a little frustrated because I was on a hot steak today - three shots out of the lead with three holes to play - but I didn’t finish things off the way I wanted. Two of my approach shots buried under lips of bunkers on the final few holes and a short putt missed. All in all, however, I’m excited about the future and eager to get going in other events.
I have a flight back to the U.S. tomorrow. I plan to see my short game coach on Tuesday and my swing coach on Wednesday and then I’ll practice at Berkeley Hall the remainder of the week and head back over here on Saturday, June 25 to play a Challenge Tour event next week in Denmark. After that tournament, I hope to play subsequent ones in Slovakia, Spain and France.
I shot ten under (68, 70, 68, 68) in the Challenge Tour event that ended today and I finished tied 28th. The course this week was really the tale of two different nines as the front was scorable while the back had several tough holes. It was a good, tree-lined track and the people in Antwerp were very nice to us.
I'm attaching a picture of a neat old castle that was just behind one of the greens. There's another part of it, which can't be seen, that serves as the clubhouse. Very cool place.
My game feels good. My driving, short game and putting were very solid this week and I'm excited about the progress I've made. Right now, I’m working on tightening up my approach shots by becoming more exact with yardages and optimizing angles. I’m realizing that getting approach shots closer to the hole is the biggest ingredient for scoring out here. Just three feet in difference can be significant since the "putting make rate" on tour from eight feet is 50% but it drops to 30% at eleven feet.
In the morning I'll drive down to Aa Saint Omer, France for the next event.
A quick update to let you know this week in Le Vaudreuil, France I shot four under (72,68,74,67) to finish tied 17th. I played well with my best stuff coming today as I dealt with tough, windy conditions and moved up the leaderboard 32 places.
I’m headed back to the states tomorrow. It has been a long but fun run of tournaments. I’ve been in foreign countries 11 of the past 12 weeks playing in eight events as well as the British Open qualifier. I need a little rest and, as always, I’ll put time into ironing out some things in my game.
I’ll keep you posted on when and where I play next. There are a couple of Challenge Tour events coming up in August. I’ll also compete the first week in September in Moscow. I just heard the European Tour gave me an invitation to play one of their events that week. Excited about the opportunity!
After my round today my caddie, Brett, and I drove a couple hours south to Paris and we were able to see a bit of the final stage of the Tour de France, which was an absolute blast! It has been a great day! Hope you are well. All the best, Brinson
PS: A couple of pictures are attached from the tournament last week in Spain.
I wanted to pass along a quick update. I didn't get in the tournament in
Slovakia last week but I competed the past four days in the Challenge Tour
event in the Canary Islands at La Gomera, Spain. I shot 15 under
(65,70,64,70) and tied for fifth.
I started the last round today playing in the final group five behind the
leader. I was three back thru 13 and on 14 I had a 12-foot birdied putt and
the leader, Rhys Davies, had a ten-footer for par. If I could've made mine
and he missed his I'd have made up two shots and been only one back with
four to play. Mine lipped out and Rhys' dropped, though, and Rhys went on
All aspects of my game felt good this week and I played well. It's
especially heartening since I've worked hard and made some significant
swing and putting changes that now are coming together. It's just so
important out here competing week after week to develop a swing where the
upper and lower body as well as the arms are fully synced up, and of course
gaining competitive experience is also very valuable.
My caddy and I just got off a ferry and tomorrow we'll fly to the next
event in Le Vaudreuil, France.
I and the other players stayed this week at the Jardin Tecina Resort. They
gave us a good rate and really it's a wonderful place with spring-time
temperatures year round, all rooms having views of the Atlantic Ocean and
buffet meals that rival The Homestead. The golf course also is
well-constructed with views of the Ocean on each hole and some really tough
ones (lots of drop offs to hazards and out-of-bounds immediately behind the
greens). Overall, it was a great week with a very good finish.
I hope all is going well with you. All the best, Brinson
I shot four over 71,67,76,74 this week at the Challenge Tour event in Bad Griesbach, Germany finishing 58th. It was a bit up and down. I made enough birdies – 15 – but I had more bogies than I wanted and at the end of each of the final two rounds I made triple-bogey on #18. I guess that hole didn’t fit my eye.
I missed a practice round in Germany because, on Tuesday, I played the final-stage qualifier for the British Open at Woburn (a great course) in Milton Keynes, England. I shot one under for the 36 holes and finished tied for 14th out of 78 players but it was three shots short of making the top three necessary to advance to St. Andrews.
My caddy and I just drove over to Senica, Slovakia for the next Challenge Tour event this week. I’m not in the field yet but, hopefully, my number will qualify me tomorrow or Tuesday. I should definitely get in the following two events in the Canary Islands and LeVaudreuil, France. For the most part, my game feels good but so far it hasn’t translated into scoring low consistently.
Hope you had a good holiday weekend and all is well! All the best, Brinson
I competed in a Challenge Tour event in Godersdorf, Austria two weeks ago and shot 12 under (67,67,67,71) to finish tied 29th. This week I shot three under (71,70,68,72) to finish tied 31st in Luceren, Switzerland. I was happy with the way things went for three rounds in both events but I didn’t have my best stuff on the greens during either of the final rounds.
The courses we played in Austria and Switzerland were cut between the mountains of the Alps, and as is always the case when playing at altitude the clear air felt so good. For most of the time I was competing in Austria I could see snow coming down just a mile away up the hill.
My game is improving but still not quite where I want it. I’ll compete in Les Bons Villers, Belgium this week and then Lumbres, France next week.
Between events in Austria and Switzerland I had a week off, which I spent in Slovenia with my good friend and college teammate, Tim Gornick. He was so kind to my caddy, Brett Lascara, and me and he showed us around his incredible country and treated us so well. Slovenia is the most beautiful place I've been. Attached is a swing from a practice session I had there. It's always neat hitting a shot and then watching the ball fly with the Alps as a background!
I hope the weather is good, you’re enjoying June back in the states and all else is going well. All the best, Brinson
Happy Holiday! I wanted to pass along an update on how I ended 2014 and where I stand for 2015.
I finished the year on the European Tour with four top 25s but it wasn’t enough to maintain my playing status on that Tour for 2015. As a result, I have status on the Challenge Tour, which you’ll remember I played in 2013.
Speaking from a historic standpoint, I guess it’s not unusual for players in my circumstance to return to the Challenge Tour. Only about 15% of the graduates to the European Tour keep their playing privileges, and even fewer rookies keep them.
By way of update, right now I’m a bit incapacitated with my foot in a boot for four weeks. I’ve had a series of torn tendons since the summer, which has made it difficult for me to swing. I suspect this injury and the constant drain of travel caused me difficulty playing over the past few months. As you may have seen from my scores, it has been a struggle since early August. I hit some shots and posted some results I hadn’t seen in a while.
Up until August I had either played well in European Tour events or just missed cuts (over the course of the year I missed nine cuts by just one shot). But really whatever caused things to happen over the past few months or whatever may occur going forward – the good and the bad – is all part of my development process. No matter what, I’m going to keep fighting hard.
I learned a lot about competing and about myself over the past 18 months. It has been a whirlwind without any real break. I went from the Challenge Tour to Q School to the European Tour without stopping. I played 44 events in 28 countries on five continents. Possibly I pushed too hard, but all of us learn from our experiences. And sometimes mistakes are the best teacher.
I’m fortunate to have had so many wonderful opportunities to grow and learn as a player and as a person. Once I get healthy and get a little rest I’ll be ready to go in 2015. I feel like I’m better and stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m looking to parlay what I learned over the past 18 months into something good.
Best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Holiday Season and a wonderful, prosperous New Year! Thanks for supporting me! All the best, Brinson
I hope all is well. I just got back from Australia. It’s a beautiful country and it was a great trip. I was amazed seeing hundreds of kangaroos hopping around the golf course – they were almost as plentiful as people in Hong Kong!
I barely missed cuts in Hong Kong by two shots and in Perth by one. Missing a cut by one isn’t a good feeling and, unfortunately, I’ve done it nine times this year. As I may have mentioned before fewer players make the cut in Europe than on the PGA Tour in the U.S. Europe cuts to 65 and ties (of the normal 156-player field) while cuts in the U.S. occur at 70 and ties.
I hit a lot of good shots in Hong Kong and Australia and overall my game was in good shape. I improved from the events in August and September where I had the most difficulty this year. I feel like I’m back on track and trending well. I’m again able to self-correct on the course.
I’ve had incredible experiences and I’ve learned a lot playing around the world for the past 17 months. I’m a much better player (and, hopefully, a more experienced and mature person) than when I started. I love what I’m doing and I had good finishes (top 25s) in four European Tour events but, of course, I’ll continue to keep pushing for improvement. I’m working hard and focusing on the things within my control. My development is advancing and I’m trying to stay patient until I get to the level I want.
I’ll head back to Q School over the next few weeks.
I wish you all the best!
I didn’t play my best in Denmark, Czech Republic and Italy and I missed the cuts there but I found some things during my final round in Italy. I started with a couple of bogies but finished at two under. I’m going to build on that as I move forward. There are ups and downs in competitive golf, and I’m learning that it takes a good bit of experience to hang consistently with the top players. The only way to get the experience, though, is to keep fighting – and I’m doing that. Anyway, I’m back in the U.S. this week and then next Sunday, September 7 I’m off to Amsterdam and then Wales.
I continue to enjoy the competition and personal experiences. Downtown Turin had a couple of amazing churches and awesome older buildings that were restored and it was hard to believe the number of ice cream (gelato) shops (literally, one in five people walking around downtown Turin is eating ice cream). Prague became my favorite place, though. There’s so much to see there in terms of museums and sights and overall the people and city are so welcoming. It’s one of the few places I’ve been a tourist and didn’t feel like one.
It’s interesting how the European countries embrace golf. The sport is clearly growing throughout the region and people want to learn more about it but really soccer rules in Europe. Many of the countries came to a grinding halt during the World Cup. It feels good, though, to be part of a process making an inroad with another sport.
I hope all is well and you’re getting geared up for football season here in the U.S. All the best, Brinson
I’m leaving for another trip tomorrow, Sunday August 10. It may be my longest one of the year, possibly playing six events consecutively, but I’m not certain I’ll get in each of the last three and even if I do I may take a week off since four to five tournaments in a row usually is my max. The European Tour notifies players three weeks in advance of entry or status on the reserve list so I’ve already been told that I’m in the fields for the first three events. As I said, though, I don’t know about the last three. They offer larger purses so likely they’ll be a little harder to get in.
Anyway, here’s a list of the tournaments for this trip:
August 14 – 17 Denmark Open in Aslborg, Denmark
August 21 – 24 Czech Masters in Prague, Czech Republic
August 28 – 31 Italian Open in Torino, Italy
September 4 – 7 Omega European Masters in Cans Montans, Switzerland
September 11 – 14 KLM Open in Zandvoort, The Netherlands
September 18 – 21 ISPA Handa Wales Open in City of Newport, Wales
If I don’t gain entry into one or more of the last three tournaments or if I find playing all six a little much (causing me to get stale) I’ll head to the states. Coming back here to familiar surroundings allows me to rest a little easier and prepare for the next trip a little better but on this outing I’ll just have to see how things develop. Hopefully I’ll get in all six events and be able to play them.
I enjoyed the past two weeks in Virginia Beach and Bluffton, SC. I was able to get some time with my swing coach, Todd Anderson, and as usual he helped. Fortunately, I didn’t have as many issues as I’ve had after trips in the past so it appears I’m getting better at making adjustments on my own. After visiting with Todd I then put in good work and trained hard at Berkeley Hall.
I’ll miss my friends and family here but I’m very much looking forward to competing over the next several weeks. I hope you’re enjoying the summer and doing well. All the best, Brinson