By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM
If, on Friday morning, I threw out the name Charlie Beljan, I am pretty confident that you would not have known who I was talking about. Well, after a birdie blitz on Day 2 — which ended with a 62 — he surged to the upper reaches of the leaderboard and into PGA TOUR prominence.Immelman
By his own own admission, the rookie was merely trying to get a solid day in to see him through the two round cut and into the weekend. Two quick birdies on his first and third holes going him rolling, and he threatened to shoot 59 before finishing par-bogey.
There is, as always, something we can learn from the play on the PGA TOUR. Beljan was over par early on Thursday, but he settled himself down by reminding himself that his game was rounding into form. He had started to play better by posting three sub-70 rounds two weeks ago in the Travelers Championship. He managed to settle down, and he hit a few greens in regulation and made pars on his next eight holes. He was still 2 over after 11 holes, but he had stabilized the ship. He then made a birdie on the reachable par-5 12th, and he birdied his final hole to shoot an unlikely 70. He arrived at the course early on Friday morning for Round 2, and he hit the gas pedal early. Four hours later, he had nearly shot 59 and had put himself in the final group for Saturday’s third round.
So here is what we can learn from the eight-time winner on The Gateway Tour:
If you are playing well, you must make a conscious effort to reinforce that to yourself. Charlie Beljan could have very easily become engrossed with the fact that he was over par early and potentially on the way to another missed cut. That mindset could have undoubtedly affected his performance and manifested itself. Instead, he chose to remain positive and reinforce an optimistic outlook. That approach bore fruit.
The second lesson: Golf is a marathon and you must approach the game as such. Beljan ran a poor first leg of his marathon at The Greenbrier.
He did not, however, make the potentially fatal error of trying to make up for lost time too quickly by making rash decisions and hitting marginal shots. Instead, he patiently bided his time. He put the ball in positions that kept further mistakes at bay, and in so doing, consolidated his situation until his putter got hot and the birdies started to fly.
Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State University (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, visit his web site, markimmelman.com or follow him on Twitter @mark_immelman or “Like” Mark Immelman Golf Instruction on Facebook. He also has a golf instruction e-book called “Consistently Straight Shots – The Simple Solution” available on iTunes/iBooks.