Sept. 18, 2008
ATLANTA – Continuing a run of success that began with his tie for 13th at last spring’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, David Dragoo posted the best finish of his career last weekend, a tie for seventh place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in Rocky Face, Ga.
The senior from Scottsdale, Ariz., shot rounds of 72-69 the first two days, then closed with a 74 on Sunday. Two shots off the lead to begin the final round, Dragoo played the back nine two shots under par and briefly held the lead alone when he stepped onto the fourth tee (his 13th hole). But the senior from Scottsdale, Ariz., bogeyed four of the final six holes and also finished at 215.
Just getting to The Farm was a challenge for Dragoo, who is playing much larger than his 5-foot-6, 124-pound frame. After six rounds of the team’s qualifying tournament, he was tied for the fifth spot with senior Adam Cohan, then grabbed the spot in a playoff.
Following are Dragoo’s reflections on his performance last weekend.
I had a great time playing the Carpet Capital Collegiate last weekend. My team and I wanted to win the tournament badly after finishing just one stroke back last year. We had two new players on the squad who did not play in last year’s tournament and one player in particular, William Miller, playing in his first collegiate tournament.
We have had several great individual performances over the last several years there, with Troy Matteson, Bryce Molder, and most recently Chesson Hadley winning the individual title. Knowing the course is key, and the team played several practice rounds before the tournament began to get a game plan for every hole.
Overall, I was very excited with my performance as it was the best finish to date in my career at Georgia Tech. The Carpet Capital has a great tournament field, and it gives me confidence knowing that I can compete with the best players in the country. It is only the first event of the season, but it is always nice to start on a positive note.
Anyone who has been to The Farm Golf Club in Dalton knows that it is a special experience. The course is very hilly, and positioning yourself on the undulating greens is the main ingredient for success.
During the week I was able to do just that, and it began with hitting the fairways to have a good chance to position myself for birdies. During the tournament, I hit 36 out of 42 fairways, with several missed fairways in the first cut of rough. The main rough was very long and deep, so being in the short grass was a major advantage.
As I played during the tournament, myself and Coach Newton made an effort to ignore all scoreboards during the week. Nothing changed in our plan during the final round where I made the turn and briefly held the lead for the first time in a collegiate event. Coach Newton walked with me every hole of the tournament, and our formula was pretty simple: We got the yardage, checked the slope of the shot, checked our wind map, and picked out a target. He was a constant reminder of the process and made sure that I remembered where to put the ball on every hole. He was a real help and definitely a large contributing factor to my success. Nothing changed during the last round, and I learned a significant amount about my game that I can build upon.
So I guess it seems pretty simple, and looking back I didn’t do anything special except manage the course and leave myself good chances to score. I did not hit the ball particularly spectacular, or do anything out the ordinary. I just stuck to game plan and did my best to execute on every shot.
I was also very fortunate to get into the tournament: As many people are aware, our team qualifies for almost every tournament, with everyone having to earn their way and their spot on the travel team. I had a one-hole play-off to make the travel squad against my teammate Adam Cohan. After 108 holes of qualifying, it came down to one hole. I think that made me sharper for the tournament because I felt like I had to do extra to earn my spot. It’s always a good feeling to know you earned the right to go, and that makes you want to play well because the guys at home are closely sitting in line. It also makes everyone push everyone else, and even the guys who don’t travel that week play a critical role in the success of the travel squad. Everyone is in it together from the standpoint of pushing each other.
I’m very excited for the season to get underway because I feel as though I no longer need to play great to finish great. I am also learning more and more how to win. Coach Heppler was very excited, and he knows that I am making a lot of progress.
I look forward to getting back out there and competing with my teammates on our quest to win another ACC title and NCAA championship.