Saturday, July 31, 2004

Plateau Member/Guest Tournament day 3

It all comes down to this. Two more rounds to see who wins our flight.

In case you're in a hurry -- we didn't.

Before we started, Kevin and I talked a bit about our game plan. First was to look at putts more carefully. We lost too many strokes on Friday by not looking from both sides and hitting something that went flying by that was obvious with a bit more inspection. Second, we would try to be more cautious if the first person to hit got in trouble. Just make sure we have one ball in play. This was after terrible performance on 18 the day before.

Our first match today (the fourth of the tournament for us) started on the 9th hole at the Plateau and then looped around to 1 to do the front 9. For some reason today, we just couldn't get it going. Consistently bad shots off the tee kept us from getting into scoring position, or wasted shots to penalties or recovery shots. Even when we tried to be more careful off the tee, we were both pushing the ball or hitting uncharacteristically crappy shots. There were a lot of places where we could have won the hole, or at least halved them, but we just didn't get it done.

Today, all of the par 3s had prizes of some sort for hole in ones. On 4, where Rick got his second ace a few weeks ago, the price was a string of pearls worth nearly $30,000. I had been consistently coming up short all morning long so I figured that I was tired and I should take a longer club here to try to get to the hole. Instead of my 6i, which is pretty standard for a 160 yard shot (it was 163 to the hole) I took my 5i. I took a deep breath and looked at my target, then let it fly. Hit that thing pure, a bit left and watched it bounce next to the wall, then roll past the green and across the cart path. It turns out that this is out of bounds. Huh. I didn't know that, guess I've never done that before. I went back to the 6i and hit my second shot (ok, third) and it flew just left, bounced just before the wall, then up over the wall onto the green and rolled just inches past the hole, stopping about 6 feet away. The person watching the hole for aces said "you know, if it went in, it still wouldn't have counted." Yeah. I know.

We ended up with only 2.5 points on this round which is a shame. Our opponents were playing pretty well, and there were at least two holes that they clearly won with a net eagle putt on 1 and a birdie putt on 4 but beyond that, we could have won any of the other holes if we were hitting the ball like we were yesterday.

Our final round was against the team that was leading our flight. Even with our bad first round, if we beat them on 6 holes, we would take the lead. We didn't do this math before hand, perhaps it would have been good if we did. Our tee shots continued to be ass for this round though. I once again pulled my tee shot on 18 (our first hole) into the trees on the left. I topped and pulled my tee shot on 11 into the trees as well. 12 was left in the bunker. 13 was pushed to the right of the fairway. 14 was sliced into the woods and it took me 3 to get out (I should have dropped). Even with all of this badness, we were still halving holes because our opponents were sucking just as bad off the tees. They managed to win a couple of holes outright, though and it felt like we were behind the whole time. We agreed we had halved 14 with 5s when they counted up Kevin's shots and said he had 6. We thought about it and agreed and thought we had lost that hole too. Then, on our way down to the green on 15 I thought about it and realized that they both had 6s as well. They weren't trying to pull a fast one, we were all just spacing it. Kevin and I won 15 by actually hitting the green. We were down 4-3 with two holes to go. We still had a chance at winning the match.

Then on 16, I hit a low pull fade into the junk, dropped and hit my third into there as well. I was pretty much out of it. Kevin sliced his tee shot and then had trouble getting up to the green. We pretty much fell apart and one of our opponents, who received a stroke on this hole, hit a perfect driver / 3 wood combination to be on the green in 2. We had to concede the hole and with it, the match.

On 17, I finally hit a good drive. Straight, high and on the left half of the fairway. Then a perfect 3 wood to about 60 yards. Both Kevin and our opponents lost balls on this hole so I was looking pretty good lying 2 at 60 yards while they were all lying 5 short of the green. I took my lob wedge and hit a perfect lob which hit the front of the green and rolled to 4 feet below the hole. I made the putt for a birdie and the match was over. We had 4 points and they won the match and the flight. We were exhausted, but finishing with a birdie on 17 was nice -- it was the Golf Gods' way of saying "Thanks for playing -- come back again."

As I am writing this, I am racking my brain trying to remember how specific holes went. The tough thing about a tournament like this is that I am looking at everyone's shots, trying to count how many strokes everyone has taken, really focusing on putts and how they will break (both mine and Kevin's). And on days like today, trying to figure out what will work (but not trying to fix anything) and just trying to stay focused and not worry about all of the other games going on. At the end of the day, it all becomes a blur. Where did my tee shot on 13 go? I don't remember, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't good. Or was that yesterday? I think that in general, my iron shots were good today and most of my trouble was off the tee but I could be glossing over a lot of stuff. I also think I made a couple of nice long putts to push some holes -- but that might have been yesterday too :)

We ended up with 25.5 points out of a possible 50. That means that we won more than we lost - but just barely. We were third in our flight. We certainly didn't embarrass ourselves and we had a good time. Better luck next year.

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