Player diary: Mina looking forward to wedding next week ... unless he gets in to Boise
July 11, 2014
SANDY, Utah -- I finished my first Web.com Tour round early in the afternoon Thursday, and I was pretty pleased. I shot a 3-under 68 at Willow Creek Country Club and am tied with 21 other guys for 33rd place. Andres Gonzales shot a 9-under 62 to lead the tournament through 18 holes. That’s some pretty incredible golf, but I’m very satisfied with my position after day one.
On the first tee, my caddie, Alex Ritthamel, asked me if I was nervous. I really wasn’t, but I remembered the most nervous I’ve ever been on a golf course was at the Australian Open last December because I was playing two groups in front of Adam Scott. I soon realized that everybody in the gallery was crowding around that first hole getting ready for Adam’s opening tee shot. Of course they also watched me hit.
READ MORE: Mina's second diary entry
This morning, I teed off so early there really wasn’t anybody there. More than anything it felt like a normal tee shot. The other guys in my group for the first two rounds are Amory Davis and Mike Drake. I played with Amory quite a bit in college when he was playing at Virginia. I met Mike for the first time this morning. He played his college golf at Long Beach State. Amory and Mike had solid rounds, both shooting 1-under 70s. Really, it felt like a casual round of golf in what I consider a very important setting—my first Web.com Tour event.
Even Wednesday night I wasn’t that nervous thinking about my first round. I spent a pretty low-key evening with Alex and my dad, Erwin, who came here from the Bay Area for the event. We’re staying at a hotel pretty close to Willow Creek, and last night wasn’t too exciting. We went out to dinner at a great restaurant not far from the course, a Mexican place called La Cocina. It was so good. I’ll go back for sure before I leave. After we got back to the hotel, I actually fell asleep watching TV, at around 9:30. My dad said I was pretty conked out. He kept working since he’s technically not on vacation. He decided that since this is my first PGA TOUR-affiliated golf tournament in the U.S., he had to see it. It’s great to have him here. He launches global products, so he kept busy Wednesday night working. Meanwhile, I was asleep pretty quickly.
He worked Wednesday night, while I knew my work started Thursday morning.
It was a pretty up-and-down start to my day. I birdied the par 5 first hole at Willow Creek then bogeyed No. 2. I then eagled the third hole, another par-5, when I drained about a 30-footer. I made one more birdie on the front nine then added three birdies and three bogeys on the back for my 68.
I had one bad tee shot that resulted in a bogey, and my other bogeys were all three-putts. I definitely need to minimize those mistakes in my second round. At the same time, I certainly made a lot of birdies, which was good. Before my round began, I figured I needed to make as many birdies as possible, especially with how low guys were going and with the history of this course. We looked at the par 5s, and whether I could reach them or not, I knew they needed to be birdie holes. Willow Creek has five par 5s, and I birdied three of them and had an eagle on the other. I think I accomplished what I set out to do, finishing 5-under on those holes. I also decided I needed to birdie the par 4s that are under 400 yards. I figured I was, at most, going to have wedges into those holes, so making birdies would be a premium.
The ninth hole is 404 yards on the scorecard, and I parred that one. Nos. 13, 14 and 16 are also all under 400 yards, and I played them in 1-over. So that was the one part of my game plan that didn’t work out. Still, I feel good about my golf game and my position after the first round.
All summer I’ve been pointing toward my cousin’s wedding that is next week. We had a bachelor party for him last week when I was playing the eGolf Professional Tour event in Reno, Nevada. He’s getting married next week. The only way I’m not going to attend the ceremony is if I play well enough here to qualify for next week’s event in Boise. I’m really close to my cousin, but qualifying for the Albertsons Boise Open and getting another week on the Web.com Tour would be a very good problem to have.