My goal from yesterday, to be completely honest, was to not have to wake up before 7am. Last year, both 2-day tournaments I played in I had a 6:40am tee time the second day. The way they figure it out is by score with the highest scores from day one teeing off first the second day and the lowest scores going last. Last year I shot a 90 on the first day of both events leaving me with either the second or third spot on the tee sheet. I didn’t want to start the season in that kind of manner so made sure that I was able to sleep until a decent hour today.
The 81 from Saturday was good enough to land me with an 8:40 tee time. Kind of a perfect time and I got to play with guys who shot between 80 and 82 which was nice.
Rose City, though, doesn’t have a range which makes it tough to warm up on a cold day. I got there at 8:15 and chipped some then rolled a few putts and tried to warm up my body before tee time. I wasn’t sure if I should bring the driver at all today too as I had sheathed it after 9 holes yesterday and hadn’t been to a range since then to see what was going on. After a lot of internal debate I decided to use the driver on a few holes but instead of going all out with it to take 80 percent swings and see if fairways could be hit.
I shot an 81 today, but it was by playing much better golf. The course was set up longer and the pins were all tucked in crazy spots. The guys who set it up said Saturday is when people score, Sunday they like to see how tough they can make it. I feel like I played much better today, didn’t have many silly mistakes or mental errors, and shot the same score. 81-81 with 51 putts over the two-day event. I had 25 putts Saturday and 26 today. The flat stick was rolling nicely and I didn’t have a single 3-putt. Knocked in 19 one-putts and chipped one in from the fringe. Needless to say, there were issues with tee shots and approaches, but the wedges and putter were minimizing damage.
Play by play:
1. 375 yard par 4. Pulled the driver despite not having trust in it and hit a bunt down the left side to 150. I pulled a 7-iron and had to fade it around a tree as I was in the left rough and the ball started out nicely, but caught the last limb and fell down in the fairway 30 yards out with bunker between me and a pin tucked four feet off the fringe. Tempo wasn’t there yet and the body was cold and I caught it a little thin so the ball didn’t check up on the green, rather rolled off the back. Chipped back on and made a five footer for bogey. ONE OVER
2. 400 yard par 4. Driver again. Hit it well and left me with 150 up a decent hill to the pin. Hit a 7-iron with a held off not-quite-golf-awake-yet swing that landed in front of the green. Chipped up to 6 feet and hit a good putt but it hit a tuft of grass and ended up hanging half the way over the hole on the right side. Waited for about 30 seconds as I thought it would fall at any moment, but eventually had to tap it in for bogey. TWO OVER
3. 510 yard par 5. the left side of this hole is OB and I didn’t have enough trust to pull driver yet, so grabbed the 3-hybrid and made another awkward morning swing that weakly moved the ball about 140 yards. Hit the same club again to about 220 out then once more caught it with a little slice and had 70 yards with a tree between me and the green. Knocked a 58 degree over the tree but hit it a little long past the hole. Wedged it up and dropped a 5 footer for bogey. THREE OVER
4. 300 yard par 4. Pushed the drive hard left and had 155 yards to the pin with a tree and bunker en route. Hit a 7-iron on the line that I thought I should but from a blind lie down a big hill. It hit the back lip of the green side bunker and my sand wedge caught too much dew-filled sand leaving me with a putt from the fringe about 30 feet away. The putt came up short but I made the 6 footer for bogey. FOUR OVER
At this point I told myself to wake up. Often in morning rounds it takes me until the fifth hole to actually start playing golf and I was approaching the fifth hole so it was time to get my head screwed on. Yesterday I hit a ball in the water on this 170 yard par 3 and I was determined to not repeat that.
5. 175 yard par 3. Despite not liking the 5-iron too much recently and having hit one in the water the day before I knew it was the right stick for this hole and went for it. I hit a high fade to the green and landed the ball about 15 feet behind the hole. Made the putt for a birdie on the hole that I doubled the previous day. THREE OVER
6. 440 yard par 4. Into the wind this hole needed a driver so I pulled it and hit a decent shot leaving me with 200 to the pin. The 3-hybrid came down just short and I chipped up to 3 feet and made the par putt. THREE OVER
7. 360 yard par 4. Another driver and it actually hit the fairway again, albeit it pretty short, but straight. With 150 to the pin I pulled a 7-iron as it was up a little hill and into the wind. The ball got knocked down and landed just short but the pin was tucked at the base of a small hole five feet from the green and there was a bunker in between me and the stick. Chipped a good one that settled 5-6 feet long of the pin and knocked it in for par. THREE OVER
8. 220 yard par 3. With the wind the 3-hybrid landed nicely pin high although to the left side of the green. I made a 10 yard chip that landed 6 feet from the hole and dropped the par putt. THREE OVER
9. 445 yard par 4. Went with driver again as I had been hitting it pretty well and 445 yards into a breeze is a long par 4 without one. Pulled it hard right into some trees and had to punch out to the fairway. Had 170 left and hit it long past the green with a 6-iron. chipped back on but left myself about 8 feet of putt. Made it for a bogey. FOUR OVER
That was a four over 39 (par 35 on the front) for the side. It was one better than yesterday and considering I bogeyed the first four holes I was pretty happy and felt like I was starting to actually play some golf.
10. 490 yard par 5. Hit the 3 hybrid as I knew it would land short of a water hazard and it was too short of a hole to really need driver but it wasn’t one you could hit in two as the pin was tucked way back around some trees. Hit another 3 hybrid to 120 yards and then drew a PW around the trees to land the ball 15 feet from cup. The hole was on a top tier of the green which was about 4 feet above the bottom tier and I made a good paced putt but it broke away at the end. Tapped it in for par. FOUR OVER
11. 470 yard par 5. Super short hole, but water where my driver has a tendency to go so I took a 4-hybrid out of the box to make sure my ball stayed in play. Hit it 190 yards then hit a 3-hybrid 200 yards and hit a 50 degree to about 15 feet of the hole. Missed the birdie putt and tapped it in for par. FOUR OVER
12. 205 yard par 3. Hit that same 3-hybrid but caught it a bit chunky and the ball landed 20 yards short of the green. The pin was in the very front and I hit a chip that rolled out too much (grass or wet club or something, it had no check). Took me two putts to make a bogey from 25 feet. FIVE OVER
13. 380 yard par 4. Hit a solid hybrid shot to 180 yards from the pin. The ball found the longest grass on the course and I knew it would be hairy jumping out of there so gripped up a 4-hybrid and tried to hit a knock down to go under some branches. Pulled it off pretty good, but the ball landed 15 yards short of the green. Made a great chip, but the hole was in a crazy spot and the ball started rolling right at it but made a sharp downhill turn and ended up 6 feet away on a side break. Thought I knocked it perfectly, but the ball just didn’t want to drop and forced me to knock in the bogey. SIX OVER
14. 345 yard par 4. You pretty much have to hit a hybrid or long iron on this hole as anything more will go through the fairway. I hit the 3 to the same spot I was in yesterday, but the pin was tucked in the left side blocked by a tall fir tree. I hit a 50 degree up the hill over the fir and it landed 12 feet past the pin. This was a crazy pin placement and being above the hole was death. I barely touched the ball and it rolled down five feet past the hole. Made the come back for par. SIX OVER
15. 127 yard par 3. the pin was in the very front of this circus green hole that slopes hard from back to front. there was four feet of green in front of the hole and about four feet of rough before a green side bunker. I hit a 9 into the wind that I thought would get knocked down pin high, but it landed in the fringe and spun back into the bunker. Sand wedge got me to three feet from the hole and below it, but I made the first bad putt of the tourney and looked up during the stroke pulling it a hair to the right. The ball almost rolled back into the cup but ended up half a rotation short. Tapped in for bogey. SEVEN OVER
16. 490 yard par 5. Usually a good scoring hole, it was into the wind so a bit longer today. Went with the 3-hy to make sure I was in play and landed the ball on the left side of the fairway. Hit another one from under some branches that gave me 100 to the pin. Knocked a 50 degree to 12 feet and not sure how it didn’t roll in but made a good putt that somehow turned at the last second. knocked it in for par. SEVEN OVER
17. 440 yard par 4. Pulled the driver and connected with it well, sticking in the hill about 195 yards to the pin. Hit the 3-hybrid a hair short and chipped up to 8 feet. Made a side hill slider for par. SEVEN OVER
18. 440 yard par 5. Driver once again, this time I pulled it hard right stymied behind some trees 200 yards to the green. Pitched it out to 170 and hit a rather poor 6-iron that hit some trees on the left side and fell down 30 yards short. Got fast with my tempo and thinned it over the green then chipped back on and made the 5 foot putt for a double bogey finish. NINE OVER
All in all I am very proud and happy with the two day tournament. Only once last year did I shoot an 81 in a tourney and that time it was a shorter course that was set up pretty easy. I left some out there, for sure, but as the kick-off event for the season I am very happy with the 81-81. I don’t know for sure, but when I left I was about 5th place for net. I’m out of it in the gross category, but am happy that I could do well according to handicap. Hopefully soon gross will be the target in site.
Just called Rose City and found out I placed 7th net to win $225. That’s enough to cover the tourney entry fee and have some left to cover the next tournament. It’s the first time I’ve been “in the money” in a solo event and it feels good. I’d love for it to have been 7th gross, but that will come in due time.
Also, I’ve noticed a couple of comments about the amount of time that I waited for the ball to drop on the second hole. Sorry for not being 100 percent literal on that, I made the putt, looked at it with a certain amount of disbelief that you have when one ends up hanging half over the hole then walked up slowly and tapped it in. It was a bit of narrative exaggeration about the 30 seconds. Hard to add color/drama to a hole by hole recap. The rule is pretty clear and I didn’t mind tapping in the bogey. Thank you all for the comments!