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Champion


bkuehn1952

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I sort of use the blog area as a journal. Much of what I write in these blogs is boring to most of the TST population so I tuck it away here.

As I posted in the Golf Talk Forum, I recently competed in the City of Livonia Golf Championship.  They hold the tournament on a couple city courses over two days. As a “super senior”, we play the forward tees at 5,300 yards or so. Driver-wedge and reachable par 5’s are standard. The hole locations are diabolical, however, perched on edges of steep slopes and tucked in corners. That tends to keep the scoring higher and the frustration level up.

For the third year in a row, I was in the last group with Bill H.  Only this year I was ahead in the Gross competition by 4 shots based on my 1st day 75 and Bill's pedestrian 79.  Our third member, Don M, had shot 77.  No one else had broken 80 and was likely out of the running barring a very good round. I was not looking forward to the Day 2 pairing with Bill H and Don M.

Bill is one of those guys who tries to come across as a relaxed, friendly guy.  Big grin most of the time, humming to himself, lot of little sayings like, “I got an Al Kaline” when he has a “6”. In truth, he is very competitive and has an explosive temper.  On the 2nd hole he tried a stupid shot and paid the price. He tossed his iron 50 yards and went on a rant, dropping “f-bombs” left and right. He went from happy to furious in one swing.

Don is extremely obsessive-compulsive.  At minimum, he takes 45 seconds on every shot as he works through his routine.  If a cart in the background moves or a mosquito farts, he must re-start his routine. It is enervating to have to stand on the course watching him go through his sequence of moves. He asked me to stop walking because the clinking of my clubs bothered him. Mind you, he was not over his ball getting ready to hit. He was maybe 15 seconds into his process, tossing grass in the air.  He wears ear plugs to keep out ambient noise (yes, not permitted by the USGA, Rule 4-3a) yet he still has rabbit ears. He fancies himself Mr. Etiquette.  Because of the ear plugs, however, he almost shouts when he talks and if he does something great, he will scream loudly and carry-on despite the possibility he might disturb someone playing on an adjacent hole.

We all struggled on day 2. The hole locations were tough, the rough had been grown out & watered.  The fairways were longer than normal and well-watered to limit bounce & roll and the greens were rock hard and quick.  Bill alternated between smiling and humming to dropping f-bomb rants. Don kept asking us to move or be quiet and then screamed, “GO, GO …WHOOOO HOOOOO.”

I shot 79.  Since I was keeping score for Bill H, I knew I had edged him out with his 76.  I assumed Don M had won. I dropped shots on the closing holes and he was a par machine.  As it turned out, we tied at 154 (+13), with his second 77.  Playoff.

While the tournament director organized the finish of the tournament, Don headed to the range and then the practice green.  I just sat and chatted with some of the other contestants. I had played marginally and was not full of confidence.  Frankly, I was okay with either 1st or 2nd place.  I had done my best and if that wasn’t enough, so be it. I also was not looking forward to Don’s company for possibly several holes.

We started on #1 and would play until someone won a hole.  The first hole is a Par 5 and at 450 yards, not reachable by most of us old guys.  Don went first and hit a very solid drive down the middle.  The pressure was on and for once I responded, hitting a nice drive down the middle (and 1 yard longer than Don). Don pulled his 3-wood and hit a solid shot, followed by him screaming, “GO, GO, GO!!!” Could he have made the green?  I didn’t care and hit a solid 3-wood near the green. After two shots we were 20-30 yards out.  I hit first and hit a little wedge that released nicely, leaving me a 6-7 foot putt with a 2-3 inch left to right break.  Don M tried a low runner that stopped on the front of the green, 15 feet from the hole.  Don M has a history of making long putts and holing out chips (and screaming WOOO HOOO) so I assumed he would make it. He missed and tapped in for 5.  All I had to do now was make that curving 6-footer. 

I knew the small crowd was pulling for me as most were from our golf club, the MPSGA.  I did not let them down.  Smooth stroke and the ball dove into the center of the cup.  Champion!

Yes, the City of Livonia Golf Championship is small potatoes and the Super Senior Flight is even smaller.  Still, it is a nice feeling to win, especially so in a playoff. One of my better golf experiences.

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