So Graham McDowell secures his second European Tour win of the season, with a strong performance at Loch Lomond. What was so impressive about McDowell’s victory, was his display of mental strength. Three consecutive birdies, at the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth, took McDowell away from the pack, at precisely the right time.
It’s at the business end of tournaments, that a players mental strength is tested. Are you ready to win? Some players are uncomfortable with being winners. They have become so used to being second-best, that they cannot cope with, suddenly, experiencing the possibility of winning.
And so, in the home stretch, they lose their natural rhythm, play too fast or too slow, and start to make bad decisions.
Some players prefer not to look at leader boards. They don’t want their focus to become dispersed. But looking at the leaderboard, confirms good news. You are leading the tournament. It’s a recognition that you are doing things well. It’s what you want!
Sometimes, a player can start to get too far ahead of themselves. Rehearsing a victory speech; thinking about how they will spend the big cheque. It’s important to try to keep your mind and emotions in control.
Not so much, that you suppress them, and get uptight. But enough, that you can think clearly about what you are going to do, and how you are going to do it. Recognise, yes, that you are leading the tournament. Then get back to the task in hand.
It’s the quality of your thinking, that will see you home. That’s what was impressive about Graham McDowell at Loch Lomond. He looked like a man, who knew exactly what to do and how to do it. The thought of winning, did not interfere, negatively, with his shot-making.
In fact he appeared to get stronger, the closer he got to the eighteenth. As if he embraced the notion of winning the Scottish Open. He wanted to win. He was ready to win. And he knew how to win. A potent combination.