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Alex Williams is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Army golf team and will be providing blog entries as the Black Knights compete at the NCAA Arizona Regionals. Williams played for Oregon State for four seasons and was a two-time captain before earning his degree in History and joining the Army staff. Army opens the 54-hole, 14-team regional Thursday morning.
May 20, 2011
I'm not going to blow smoke anywhere, it wasn't a great day. We made too many mistakes and not enough birdies; the scoreboard doesn't lie. Regardless, I think today was one of the best examples of the improvements that this golf team has made over the year. Just the way the team handled themselves after today's round speaks to the strides in the right direct they all have made.
There were times this year where one mistake would lead to another. Where anger or frustration from one golf shot would affect the next shot, but today it was not the case. A great example was Matt Philie
. After playing a decent front nine Matt, aka "Steak," did not take advantage of the par-5 tenth hole, a good birdie chance. Then he made a double bogey on the 11th hole and put himself in a tough spot. This would be a great time to crumble, to pack it up and give in. But Steak stepped to the 12th tee, yes frustrated, but knowing all of his attention had to be on his next shot not the previous holes. He stepped up, hit a beautiful tee shot and made par on a difficult par-3. He followed that up with par on 13 to a difficult pin and then rattled off two consecutive birdies on 14 and 15. It was exactly the way a champion would have handled the situation.Matt Krembel
had a similar situation when he hit his tee shot out of bounds on the 16th hole. There were times this year when Matt would have been ready to explode after this, but he composed himself, made a good save for a double bogey 6 and walked to the next tee. Surprisingly he looked over to me and said, "I guess a 6 is better than a 7," and smiled. He stepped up on the 17th hole and drained a 40-foot birdie putt to the delight of his crowd. A great bounce back, and it was awesome to see!
And although I don't have a story for the other three guys I can tell you this, they know the mistakes they made and know they can repair them tomorrow. Championship golf brings out a fine line between good golf and mediocre golf, the guys certainly found that out today. But the improvement in our guys is that they know they played better than their scores, they evaluated their mistakes and will take those lessons into tomorrow's round. This is truly a great step forward for this golf team, and makes tomorrow an exciting day to watch as a coach.