Two-time champion Daniel Fox has turned to mental coach Sean Lynch in the hope of rediscovering a winning mindset at the Mitchell and Brown Spalding Park Open in Geraldton this weekend.
Winner in 2019 by one-stroke in what has been a 54-hole event in the past, Fox has this week spent time thinking back to his victory in 2012 and the mental approach he and Lynch adopted before finding success at Spalding Park Golf Club.
Conceding that sporadic tournament play since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen some bad habits resurface with regards to his mental approach to the game, Fox hopes to use the successes of the past to rediscover his mojo.
“I’d been struggling to get some things happening on the course and then the start of that week things started to really click,” Fox recalled of his 2012 triumph.
“I’d been working with Sean Lynch and just started on the medication for ADHD and all of a sudden all of the mental stuff we’d been working on just clicked.
“I’ve slipped back into some really bad habits mentally and I haven’t been disciplined enough and I haven’t been practising because there hasn’t been anything to play in.
“It’s a bad thing for me if I get out of my routine and it feels like we’ve been out of the routine since March of last year.
“I had a chat with Sean again this week. I’ve been having a few issues and asked him if there were any side effects from the medication but he said I’ve got bad habits and always had them which is why it’s important for me to continue to practise that mental stuff, and I’d let that go.”
Drawn to play with South West Open champion Brady Watt in the opening round, Fox will again have to best a strong field to record a third Spalding Park Open victory.
The 44-year-old warned though that not only does the golf course suit him but there are higher powers who may have contributed to his strong results in the past.
“It’s always treated me really well and if things have needed to go my way they have done,” said Fox.
“It feels like I’m gifted a few things here by the golf gods or whoever.
“It’s a golf course where you have to really position your ball, keep your ball below the hole because the greens are usually pretty quick and that stuff feeds into my preferred way of playing the game.
“This is the type of course where you build momentum slowly. You can get on a run here and have five or six birdies in the space of seven or eight holes.
“If you par the rest that’s fine but if you’re making bogeys or slip up and make a double there’s a residual effect of making a mistake that can last a hole or two.
“If you start getting a bit too cavalier with your lines and stuff like that you’ll get caught out.
“If I get hot with the putter – which I tend to do around here – then I can get to 5 or 6-under without taking too many risks.
“The golf course sets up great for me and I’ve known Byron Clarkson the GM and Head Professional since we played State Schoolboys together.
“His whole family is involved and it’s just such a great family atmosphere and event. They do everything they can to make the event enjoyable.
“When you go to events where you feel like you’re relaxed and you can concentrate on what you’re doing, it’s got a lot of things going for it.”