Hey guys!! Here’s the blog post I promised 🙂
In this post I’m gonna highlight each match, and because we had a great match yesterday (hint: our best of the year so far), I will go hole by hole there. On to the matches! Starred dates mean the match was non conference.
3/2*: The first match of the year was a non conference match at Umstead Pines. I shot a solid five-over 40 with a double and three bogeys, and we shot 208 as a team. This was a solid start to the season.
3/7: Won’t go into this one much. We played Indian Valley (par 35, about 3100 yards) in the first conference match, and it was windy. I shot a pitiful 49 and we shot 211 as a team.
3/10: The next conference match was at Croasdaile, so a good chance to gain some ground. I actually birdied my first hole (the short par-4 4th), but then struggled a little bit on the last eight holes and posted a 47. In the conditions we were in, that’s not horrible, but I definitely blew a chance to move past some people. I don’t remember our team score
3/21: Our most recent conference match was at Chapel Hill Country Club, a course I don’t have a great history with. I started triple-double-triple, but then went on a run, making two birdies, two pairs and two bogeys in the last eight holes to shoot 44, my best performance up to that point. I gained a little bit of ground, but not a ton. And I believe we shot 210 as a team. Not bad considering we all had stretches of solid golf.
The weekend following the Chapel Hill match, I learned some pleasantly surprising news: that the top three teams and the next four individuals would be heading to regionals, which I now know is on May 2 at Pinehurst No. 6. My current standing: I’m tied for 5th.
So I haven’t even done anything great so far, and I’m one spot away from regionals. That gave me motivation to play and practice a lot over spring break, and then we had our match yesterday at Umstead Pines. It was non conference, so not a lot of pressure, but I still wanted to play well. Here’s what happened, we all went off the first tee:
No. 1: Nothing horrible happened on this hole until we got to the green. I had a downhill 10-footer for par, then I three-jacked to start with a double. +2
No. 2: A lousy drive and a poor club selection on my approach left me behind a greenside bunker, having to pitch over it with not much green to work with. I caught my pitch a touch thin, but it had some bite and it left me about four feet for par. Dead center. +2
No. 3: With a front pin on this par 3 I decided to go with a 9I. I threw a dart to about the same distance as on the second hole, and this putt was dead center as well. +1
No. 4: Usually a par 5, but we play it as a par 4 from the front tees (making it 345). Although it leaked a tad bit left, my tee shot with a hybrid was smoked and left 110 in. Another dart, this time with a PW. Made the putt for back to back birdies. E
No. 5: I was playing well up to this point, and I did well to stay in the present. After a tee ball that was caught heavy, I had 190 in, all carry. I visualized the shot in my head, and hit it exactly as I saw it. It left me on the front of the green, about 35 feet out. I left my first putt six feet short, so I had some work left to clean up my par. But my solid putting from short range continued, and I knocked it in. E
No. 6: Like the first hole, I won’t go into much detail here, but I cleaned up a lousy hole with a seven-footer to save bogey. That was easily the most critical putt of the day. +1
No. 7: I picked the right club here but left it out right, and from a relatively easy spot I managed to chip it close for an easy par save. +1
It didn’t occur to me until this point, but two fours (par-birdie) on the last two holes would bring me home with even par. And here’s what unfolded:
No. 8: I think some nerves got me here, and I hit another heavy shot that left me a nearly identical yardage as my approach on the fifth hole. I thought back to that shot and hit another good one: 20 feet for birdie. This may have been my best putt of the day: right on line, great speed, but it caught the lip and somehow stayed out. Still, I was thrilled to walk off with a par after the messy tee shot. +1
No. 9: This was a good finishing hole: I was completely aware that a birdie would tie my personal best for nine holes, and I had a great chance here: a short par 5 with minimal danger. I striped my tee shot down the middle and was even with the 200-yard marker. Normally I would hit a 3 hybrid in this scenario: 200 yards uphill, but the adrenaline was pumping so I pulled the 4 hybrid. Thought back again to the fifth and eighth holes and hit yet another good hybrid shot: pured just to the left of the pin, and it trickled on and started turning right.
When I got to the green I saw that I left myself 15 feet for an eagle finish and a one-under 34. I took plenty of time on this one, more than usual, but I didn’t execute, and had about four feet for birdie. With the coaches watching, and knowing they’d say something if I missed, I knocked it in. An even-par 35. Looking back, here’s some stats from the round:
Honestly, going two under in the last eight holes, I even surprised myself. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a zone like that. It was awesome to shoot my second even par nine after a rough start like that, so I’d say that’s the best golf I’ve played in a while. I give a lot of credit to my putter, because I don’t think I missed a putt inside 10 feet all day.
I’m also happy that I managed to stay in the present, and focus on the shot at hand rather than the score. That’s definitely something that I’ve improved on in the past year or so.
As a team, our final number was 186. A team best by more than twenty shots. I think we picked up some shots on the other teams, but we’ve still got a long way to go.
As far as my standing goes, we have one non conference match, three nine-hole conference matches and possibly a conference tournament left. It looks like we might get rained out in our match on Thursday, so I’ve got anywhere from 18 to 45 holes to improve my position.
If we’re rained out I’ll comment on this post, and if we’re not I’ll post again on Thursday. Stay tuned!