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Friday, September 29, 2017

The Sam Saunders Mindset

Yesterday Sam Saunders became the first player to shoot 59 in a Tour Finals event. Are you curious how he did it?

He says it was his putting, and it's true that he took only 20 putts.

Sam Saunders

He says he got lucky, and that's true as well. As he said, he made a couple of putts that really had no business going in. (That happens to Jordan Spieth all the time but that's another story.)

And he says that, when a player gets in the zone like that, they really don't think much about what they're doing. They just do it.

But early in the day, long before he teed off, he talked with Chantel McCabe about his mindset these days. And that mindset might help some of you take strokes off your own game.

Sam said that he had finally accepted the fact that he wasn't always going to play well. If you're playing well, you won't do it every day. And if you're playing badly, it probably won't last. He said he liked the general direction his game was going and he was just going to go out and play.

The quotes you heard after the round (and quoted in this article) fit into that mindset very well.
“It was fun. You know, it was a good time out there and it was a real special day. Certainly memorable. I played with my buddy Steve Wheatcroft and we kind of fed off each other,” said Saunders of his fellow Atlantic Beach member. “Honestly, it just felt like a regular day at home playing our little money game and I got into a good rhythm. It was a blast.”
Brandel Chamblee noted after the round that Sam was #20 in birdies on the PGA Tour this season. That's better than Mickelson, Day and Casey, and all of them made it to the Tour Championship. Yet Sam was ranked #24 going into this week's final event, needing something special just to keep his card.

After the first round, he's ranked #1. It's amazing how much difference your attitude makes.

I'm interested to see how Sam follows it up in today's second round. Things will be different -- playing at a different time of day, different tee boxes, different pin positions, different conditions. Expecting to shoot the same kind of score on a different course is where many players get derailed.

But if Sam holds on to the attitude he told Chantel about, he could very well win this final event... and perhaps get to the Tour Championship next year. Never underestimate the power of your mindset.

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