Coming From Behind for the Win in Golf

It is a challenge to hunt down the leader of a golf tournament. Chances are, they have played well and earned the top spot on the leader board. However, as a fellow competitor, I always devise a strategy to close the gap and hopefully my ball striking will support this plan. Regardless, I never enter into a tournament without devising away to win. Do you?

Barring a complete collapse of a player (and I have watched this happen), most come from behind wins are earned. It is a rare thing as shown by the results of my poll:

Focusing on a comeback plan is not challenging, but does take some thought and realistic focus on what is possible and what is…..well….fool-hearty. I do know that the chaser has to play well, get a few lucky breaks, and swing sink a few unexpected putts. Regardless of your strategy, I focus on three main areas that have been proven successful to win events.

  • Course Management. If there was ever a time to focus on course management, it is when mounting a comeback. I have won and lost events because of good/poor decisions. The risk/reward scenario is key and pressing at the wrong time will definitely result in extra strokes we can ill-afford to make. However, a player does have to press on some shots to close the gap.
  • Stay Mentally Focused. Forget the score! Forget what your opponent is doing. Stay focused on your game and what you are doing. Most players will start focusing on what is outside their control and as such make inadvertent errors that cost strokes. Stay in the moment of your shot and what it is doing to your game. Staying mentally focused is critical to a comeback win.
  • No Fear. Play your game and the shots you know you can make. Do not second guess what you can do and let fear creep into your mind. Many players start to worry about routine shots and as a result make unforced errors. Stay focused on your shot and let fear take a back seat to confidence!
  • Have patience. Everyone makes mistakes and likely your opponent will as well. So, relax, play your game, and let your opponent worry about how well you are playing. Stay patient and magical things will likely happen.

For those paying attention, I did say three things but threw in patience as a fourth. A little curve ball on a Monday morning is always fun, right?

As you can see, coming from behind to win does take some effort. I made several comebacks in my career and the largest deficient I overcame was 3 strokes. In that case, I closed the gap on the first two holes where my opponent shot bogey, bogey and I shot birdie, par. He did not recover over the next 16 holes and I won by 2. I used the above 4 points to play consistent, focused golf which resulted in success.

Do you have a strategy to come from behind and win a golf tournament?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

4 thoughts on “Coming From Behind for the Win in Golf

  1. Jim,

    I like your strategies. I have come from behind in quite a few match play scenarios, even as much as 5 down thru 7 to eventually win. Patience is definitely the key. If an opponent gets off to a hot start, or you get off to a slow start, we just have to remember that it won’t stay like that the whole round. There will be lots of ups and downs for both players so just stay the course. Great topic.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patience is my downfall. Not so much waiting for opportunities to score, but I still have trouble with staying in my game under slow play conditions. I think I’ve made progress on it, but I still have a ways to go before I would consider that issue resolved. But since I don’t play tournament golf, it’s only my own competitive spirit that keeps me working on it.

    Liked by 1 person

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