During recent tournaments Paul Ulibarri has had a feeling of déjà vu time and time again. Strong performances in later rounds were preceded by less than desired results early in the tournament. When we spoke with Ulibarri prior to this past weekend’s Silver Cup on the Disc Golf Pro Tour, he talked about the importance of a hot start. Unfortunately, that hot start wasn’t in the cards.
Despite the slow start Ulibarri battled his way to a tie for 10th on the Pro Tour’s second event. Before he hit the skies for Europe, we reviewed the weekend’s action with Ulibarri.
You finished tied for 10th at the Silver Cup. What are your overall thoughts on the performance?
“I dug myself into the biggest hole ever after the first round and then played really well the rest of the weekend. I was the 67th after the first round, or something like that. That is as bad as you could do, and that was just my pool of players. I played well after the first round though to battle back to 10th. Extremely happy to reach my goal which didn’t seem likely. I have a good feeling about the performance even though it was sub par at best with how bad my first round was.”
You talked about the importance of a strong start and that first round obviously wasn’t what you were looking for. Did you play too conservatively or were things not going your way?
“It wasn’t going my way. Started out on an easy hole, it was around 178 feet. I had a dead center spitout and then a rollaway. It put me in a bad mental state right away and didn’t have it. I tried, but just ran out of holes.”
You’ve also talked about how when time is running out in a a tournament you can put up some low scores. We saw that again this weekend, but especially in round two. Do you think you perform better when the pressure is on, like it was in that second round?
“I think so. It’s tough to explain. The first rounds just haven’t been there. I wasn’t there mentally to be honest. Just didn’t have it. I think part of it is I don’t like playing two rounds in a day and I wasn’t exactly happy with the courses we played. I heard good things, but was not impressed. I just wasn’t excited about parts of it. It was a combination of a lot.”
Did the two rounds, instead of just one, on Friday help or hurt you?
“I just don’t think it’s necessary to have two rounds in one day at any level. It irritated me since we had such a quality and professional course for the last two rounds. There should be a certain level of courses we play on the Pro Tour.”
Beyond the scores, how do you feel about your game right now?
“I feel great. I’m a little shaky since it’s been a while since I’ve started out on a strong foot. I need to get over that hurdle in the next couple tournaments. I have one more tournament before the Major in Stockholm. I’ve never been this confident. I’m healthy. I’m playing good enough to win any weekend, just need to put it together. I feel like when I win, I’ll win by a lot.”
Thanks to Ulibarri for the conversation. We’re appreciative of his time after a frustrating weekend. We’ll continue to follow Ulibarri through the Pro Tour as it resumes in a few weeks in Minnesota.