This morning was the first day of the two-day Iceberg Open at Rose City here in Portland, OR. It’s the first tournament of the year and a great event to gear up for the coming season.
I’m happy with the result. I shot an 81 with one birdie and 25 putts on the round. The short game was working for me for the most part and it was really making up for some big misses off the tee box.
Speaking of tee shots, I entered not knowing what to do about the driver. I picked up a new TaylorMade R1 with a Devotion shaft this past Thursday during a demo day at CECC (for a pic, see the previous blog entry) and that Thursday I hit it decently. On Friday I couldn’t seem to find a fairway either left or right and at the end of the day I was hitting on the range and was missing huge both directions. Just didn’t feel right at all for some reason. I went home and while sleeping I dreamt about hitting scattered drives. This morning I went to the range at CECC to warm up before the tourney and everything was smooth and buttery, but then when I pulled the driver out I was pulling/pushing/hooking/slicing them. I didn’t know if it was me or what, but I knew that I couldn’t bring that stick to the round so I talked with Jon in the pro shop and he put an RBZ head on the shaft. I took that out and again was all over the place. This was with no pressure and trying to hit half swings, full swings, etc. Simply could not find straight.
Not knowing what to do, I ran home and picked up an old Nike driver that I used last Spring. I never particularly enjoyed this driver, but felt like it was a better option as I knew more about how it reacted on the course.
I arrived at Rose City and had a good 20 minutes to get used to the greens and calm down the mental pace after running around trying to figure out a last minute driver. The round went down something like this:
1. 360 yard par 4. Pulled a driver into the right bunker, but it rolled through leaving me with a 145 yards. Drew an 8-iron around a tree to hit the green and 2-putt from 25 feet. EVEN
2. 400 yard par 4. Pulled the driver way into the right trees. Punched out, but the punch ran too far and ended up on a steep uphill lie with 120 yards left. Hit a PW up the hill but it landed just short of the green. Chipped in for a par. EVEN
3. 480 yard par 5. Decided I was not going to risk going OB with the driver and instead make it a three shot par 5 even though it was short. Hit a 3 hybrid (I don’t have a 3 wood in the bag right now and 3 hybrid is my longest stick besides driver) 220 yards down the middle. With 260 remaining (just 30 yards behind the other three in my group who all hit driver, the ball was not going very far and was plugging in the mud so a long drive was about 260-270) I hit a 4 hybrid to 80 yards then gap wedged it pin high but a foot off the green. Chipped from 7 feet and just missed but tapped it in for par. EVEN
4. 320 yard par 4. This is a super short hole that goes way down hill then sharply back uphill. A decent drives leaves you with a short pitch in. I pulled driver and hit a weak slice down the left side. I had 167 yards uphill with a tree in between me and the green. Tried to hit a 6-iron and pushed it a bit landing pin high but with a trap in between me and the green. Chipped on and two-putted from 15 feet. ONE OVER
5. 170 yard par 3. I made a mental error here. I pulled a 6-iron thinking that I just wanted to land the ball in the middle of the green, but right before teeing off I changed my mind as I felt a slight breeze and decided to hit a 5-iron. Typically, I can hit the 6 just as far as the 5 and with much more consistency, but I switched and think that my mind wasn’t 100 percent committed to the shot. I tried to draw the ball but it faded and landed in the last inch of water on the hole. I had to take a drop in front of the hazard and then hit a fat muddy chip that landed short of the green. My fourth shot was knocking it on the green and then I dropped a 15 foot putt for double. THREE OVER
Here’s what your club looked like after most shots from the fairway:
pretty funny. Nothing like getting muddy
6. 430 yard par 4. Pushed a big drive left into the trees that hit and landed in a little clearing. I had 200 yards remaining and no line on the flag so hit a 7 iron over the trees and out into the fairway. Landed with about 40 yards in. Chipped up to the flag which was on the back of the green and the ball rolled out long dropping just off the back edge of the green. Chipped back on and tapped in the bogey putt. FOUR OVER
7. 350 yard par 4. Took out the driver once again and overcooked it into the right trees landing stymied with 140 yards remaining. Hit a gap wedge over some trees back to the fairway then chipped on and dropped a 12 foot putt for par. FOUR OVER
8. 205 yard par 3. Hit a 3 hybrid pin high but a little right of the green. Chipped on and made the one foot putt. FOUR OVER
9. 430 yard par 4. Pulled the drive hard into the right trees. Punched straight out and had 120 remaining. Hit my PW with too much mud before the ball and it came down a few yards short of the green. chipped on then made a 10 foot putt for bogey. FIVE OVER
I shot a 40 for that side as it’s par 35 with just one par 5. At this point, I looked back at my round and realized that the driver was adding absolutely nothing to the day and I decided to leave it out for the rest of the round. The back is the longer side, but I would rather hit a 210 yard fairway than have to punch out from each tee shot. For the rest of the round I was going to just hit 3 hybrids off of the tees. The first two holes on the back are the scoring holes, especially if you are hitting good drives. Still, I knew that I would be better off for the rest of the day by sitting the big stick out.
10. 488 yard par 5. Hit a 3 hybrid 210 yards then another straight one left me with 50 yards out. Pitched on and drained a 5 foot birdie putt. That’s how you’re supposed to do it! FOUR OVER
11. 470 yard par 5. Something funny happened here. I had been hitting the 3-hybrid so well all day, but after that birdie I started thinking about the hybrid swing. I over thought it on the box for this hole and found myself in some trouble. Pushed a 3-hybrid far left with 270 remaining. Hit another one over a small pond but didn’t catch it well and it hit a tree 180 yards from the green. I hit a 4 hybrid from here that was also a strange and bad swing that landed short of the green. Pitched on from 50 yards and two putted from about 15 feet. FIVE OVER
12. 205 yard par 3. Pulled the 3-hyrbid again and was still getting mental about what happened on the last hole. Felt like the hybrid swing had left the building for a moment. But, swung it smooth and free and the ball landed two feet off the green about pin high but maybe 40 feet from the pin. Chipped up to 5 feet and dropped the par putt. FIVE OVER
13. 377 yard par 4. This hole has a chute to it and either a fairway wood or hybrid is the right stick. I pulled the 3hy and found the swing again, hitting it to 167 yards from the pin. Hit a 6-iron from there but pushed it just like the earlier one and landed pin high left side. Chipped up and the ball caught a little slope and ended up 12 feet below the hole. Hit it straight at the hole but the ball came up a hair short. Tapped in for a bogey. SIX OVER
14. 344 yard par 4. Hit a 3 hybrid down the hill and had 105 uphill remaining. Hit a 50 degree that landed pin high 5 feet away but it was down a steep slope to the pin. Tapped the ball and it wiggled towards then away from the hole just missing. knocked it in for par. SIX OVER
15. 145 yard par 3. Down a big hill and against a small breeze I hit a 9-iron that landed on the green but about 40 feet short of the hole. Putted hard uphill just past the cup and made the 4 foot comeback putt for par. SIX OVER
16. 480 yard par 5. 3-hybrid to 270 then 3-hybrid to 60 yards. Easy little pitch to a hole in the middle of the green, but I chunked it and the ball landed about 30 yards short. I wasn’t nervous and was trying to get aggressive with my swing, just caught it fat and paid the price. Hit the next one on but a little long and two putted from 15 feet. SEVEN OVER
17. 410 yard par 4. This hole plays pretty long as it’s up a big hill. Hit the 3hy to 200 yards and hit another one just short of the green up the hill. Wanted with everything in me to knock this chip in and almost landed it in the hole, but the ball rolled about 5 feet long. Had another downhill quick putt and thought it would break a hair left but it rolled out completely straight missing the cup. Tapped in a bogey. EIGHT OVER
18. 440 yard par 4. Into the wind this hole was long. Hit the 3 hybrid a bit high and the breeze knocked it down. I had 260 yards remaining so had to hit a layup on a par 4. Hit the 3 to 50 yards and then again chunked an easy chip. Not sure if I was getting mentally tired or what, but I really don’t like missing the straight forward shots. hit the next one up towards the hole and made a 3 footer for a final bogey. NINE OVER
That’s about it. Shot an 81, which ties my best tournament round from last year. Tomorrow is a new day and I’m not sure if I’ll try the driver or not. At least the bag is lighter with just 12 clubs. The driver will have to be sorted out soon, but that’s a whole different conversation. For the time being, it’s good to know that I can shoot an 81 without it and that I was just one water ball away from my goal of breaking 80 in a tournament round.