I played in a 36 hole matchplay final in one of the last major events of the year at my golf club. Some of you will already know this. My friend Matty Boom Boom was live tweeting from the course during the second round of 18. After going 4 holes down with 5 to go, through sheer grit and determination I pulled it back to all square with only 1 hole remaining.
I lost on the 18th hole by a single stroke.
Today I'm deflated, disappointed, reflective but not beaten. I've experienced so many emotions since shaking hands on the 18th green yesterday. First of all it was a sense of shock, I was stunned and emotionless. Perhaps I was putting on a brave face. Disappointment kicked in quickly, sadness ensued. Disbelief and denial linger. It will take some time to accept it, but I will. I think it's important to be disappointed, I don't want to sweep it all under the carpet. I want to learn from this loss.
I've had ample opportunities to learn from defeat. Here's a summary of my notable performances in club majors since I started competing 4 years ago;
- May 2008, Camden Salver, 18 hole stroke play event - 2nd place (1 behind winner)
- June 2008, Hewett Goblets, 36 hole stroke play event - 2nd place (1 behind winner)
- May 2009, Shearline Trophy, 36 hole stroke play event - Joint 3rd place (2 behind winner)
- October 2011, Kilrymont Trophy (a tournament for players who have won a stroke medal during the year) - Lost in a playoff
- July 2012, Captains Day, 18 hole stableford event - Joint 3rd (2 behind winner)
- September 2012, Stanley Cup final - Lost 1 down on 36th hole.
The quest for my first trophy and my name in gold on the club house winners board continues!
As I rested at home yesterday afternoon, completely spent having had no more than 2 hours sleep the night before, I thought about giving up. 'Perhaps I'm just not meant to win a big one', I thought. 'Why do I put so much into my game? Golf needs to be lower in my priority list.'
I was just feeling sorry for myself and I'm entitled to do so for a few days more!
There are MANY positives to take from yesterdays experience. I've come close to winning in the past, but this one is different. I can be proud that I contended so vigourously, with very little sleep. When it seemed all was lost after 31 holes, I dug deep, pulled it back and took it down the last.
I lost by the tiniest of margins, it was a singular mental error that cost me.
I wasn't nervous at all on the last few holes, I truly believed I was going to win. I'll carry this positivity into future events. Now, more than ever I believe I can win big. There is no reason why I cannot keep on putting myself in contention.
The irony of it all is that as I walked the final 5 holes yesterday, clawing back ground shot by shot, I kept saying to myself 'Never give up'. I believed this mantra was willing me over the line.
Little did I know that these words were preparing me for defeat.
Onwards we battle into the unknown, we love our defeats, we embrace our defeats for these teach us how to be victorious in the future!
NEVER GIVE UP.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO WAS ROOTING FOR ME ON TWITTER. I HAVE TRIED TO THANK YOU ALL BUT HONESTLY I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW GREAT IT WAS TO HAVE YOUR SUPPORT! I WANTED TO WIN FOR ME OF COURSE, BUT ALSO FOR YOU!
See you around my friends.