Paul Goydos tried not to think about it, but he knew the first six holes would be his best opportunity to score in the final round of the Constellation Senior Players Championship.
That stretch was where he'd made his one eagle through three days at the Caves Valley Golf Club — and also bogeyed four times en route to starting Sunday at 1-under par.
So, the 53-year-old focused on one shot at a time.
With that approach, he emerged from the stretch with five birdies to set the foundation for his best outing of the week. Goydos finished the major at 8-under par.
"You make putts and you kind of get going," Goydos said. "It kind of puts you in a good mood and good things happen."
After breaking even on the par-4 first hole, Goydos made a series of putts, which he said had been his shortcoming in the earlier rounds, to drop his score.
On the third hole, for example, he sank a 12-foot putt. Then, 15-footers on Nos. 4 and 5. He finished the five-birdie stretch with a 10-foot tap on the sixth, matching his round-high five birdies from the opening day.
"It gives you some energy to kind of finish out the round," Goydos said. "That's kind of what I did."
He made three more birdies on the 11th, 12th and 14th holes.
After never dropping his score lower than 3-under during the event, Goydos had reached 9-under. He was especially proud of his performance on the par-4 14th hole, what he considered one of the most difficult on the course.
A bogey on the 18th hole — he missed a short putt just after groupmate Jesper Parnevik made par to remain even — left Goydos wishing his round ended on a more positive note.
Still, he hopes Sunday's overall success will continue in two weeks at the Senior Open Championship in the United Kingdom.
And with the same incremental mindset the four-time PGA Tour Champions winner used to make his early birdies, Goydos wants to use the off week to fix his mistakes before looking ahead.
"It was a nice way to finish," Goydos said. "It wasn't a great week until that stretch of six holes, and hopefully I can build off of it."