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Ruminations Part 2


billchao

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Day two of the four day tournament. Sunday, April 21, 2024.

As luck would have it, my fellow competitor and cart partner during the qualifier was the 3rd seed, so we would play against each other in the first round. He is a very nice guy and we got along very well. I think that made it easier for both of us to play. It was his first tournament, and he was nervous, but he told me I helped him a lot by explaining rules and keeping the mood light by being the general assclown that I am. And that helped me, too. I didn’t really think about playing golf except for the brief moments I had to, which I devoted my full attention to. He did rake a putt in the qualifier round, but even with that penalty stroke he managed to shoot net 71. I covered our match briefly in the member tournament thread.

My warmup for the day went terribly. I was struggling to hit the ball well on the range at all. It was kind of uncomfortable walking off the range feeling like I didn't know how to swing a golf club. There was nothing I could do about it, so I moved onto the putting green and did my usual thing there.

Trading Blows

I surprised myself with how well I played, especially when I really needed to. He was getting five strokes from me. I hooked my 4i off the first tee and made double, down 1 right from the start. Followed that with a much better 4i off the tee and won #2 with par. On #3 we both missed the green and he pitched it inside of 2', which I gave him. I almost holed my chip and we halved. The 4th was the first par 5 of the day which I won with a 3-putt par. We had matching bogeys on #5 which he won because he got a stroke, then he won #6 with par. The tees were way up and the hole played under 100 yards. I had a little bit of fun on this hole and decided to hit a low runner type of shot which wasn't a bad idea and I actually hit it pretty well, but it just caught the ridge and rolled off the back. I think if I had to do it over I'd still hit the same shot, just more to the right.

Tees were up again on #7 (I think they were having a little bit of fun setting up for the tournament). The pin was front left and I smoked my 4w. One of the other guys in the group asked if we should yell fore for the guys putting on the green. I said no, I'm well right of them. And it turned out I hit the green, but I was also 30 yards right of them so I felt like I was right in not having to yell fore, but maybe that's close enough to warrant it? I still don't know how I feel about it, honestly. I didn't yell fore, nobody got hurt, and nobody seemed mad at me about it, so I think I'm ok. I 2-putted for birdie and won the hole. I pushed my drive on the tough par 4 #8 but found the fairway bunker and hit a great shot out of it just past pin high left of the green. Faced with a hole cut on a hump and everything sloping away from me, I decided to putt my ball out of the rough and I almost holed it. Made par. He made a mental error here as he lagged his 4th shot inside of 2' and I asked him what he was putting for, since he was getting a stroke on the hole. He started to count his strokes, then kind of just haphazardly tried to hole the putt in the middle of counting because he was standing astride someone's line before he gave me an answer and missed it. I felt kind of bad about it because I had asked with the intention of possibly conceding the putt. #9 is the mistake I mentioned in the other topic where I put my second shot in the water trying to go for the green in two, knowing I was giving up a stroke and he had already hit two good shots. He made net birdie anyway and we were AS after trading eight of the first nine holes.

Stick to the Plan

We played Lake for the back 9. It was the course I hadn't played in the two rounds at Neshanic this year so far, so I tried my best to take my game plan and apply it on the fly. We both made par on #10. On #11 I thinned the crap out of my 4i and it didn't clear the ESA. Teed it up again and hit it right where I wanted to hit it the first time (more experience). He didn't hit his tee shot well and then had some trouble hitting out of the rough a couple of times. I realized I wasn't dead on the hole and hit my 110 yard approach inside of 10' and two putted. We halved. On #12, a par 3, I hit a bird. Literally. At least I think I did. I watched the ball come down and disappear behind the mound where it should have hit the green and rolled to the left, instead it took a hard crazy sideways bounce right just as a bird flew off in the opposite direction. There isn't a sprinkler head there or anything. Maybe it didn't hit the bird because I probably would have killed it, but it was a weird bounce all the same. We both made 4. On #13 I smoke my drive and had about 110 left to the pin, accidentally hit the ball out of the sweet spot on my approach and ended up 60' past it. Then I putted that one to tap-in distance. He made net par to halve.

#14 is where his troubles began. I wrote about this hole in the other topic, too. He hooked his drive into the pond and I hit a pretty good drive just left into the rough/fescue. I hit my second into the left fairway bunker and spent some time helping one of the other players in the group look for his ball in the fescue. We found it and he asked me if I knew the yardage from where we were. I looked at my H4 and it had given me the yardage to the next hole, presumably because I had crossed over to it at some point during our search. I switched it back and gave him the number - it was like 150ish. After he hit his shot, I went to my ball farther up and in the bunker. For whatever reason, I didn't use my rangefinder and only briefly glanced at my H4, which gave me a yardage of 150ish. It didn't occur to me at the time that it couldn't have been that number. I don't know if it was the GPS lagging because it was overcast, or it was on the wrong hole, or I simply read it wrong. I pulled a club and hit what I thought was a great shot out of the fairway bunker based on the contact, only to watch it fly the green by a lot. This would not be the last time I pulled the wrong club during this tournament. I almost lost the ball, but fortunately the 4th member of our group found it in the deep stuff. I managed to gather myself and hit a decent shot just onto the green and two putt for bogey to win the hole.

#15 is a simple, short, dogleg right par 4. They removed the pot bunkers hidden behind the hill in the fescue which makes it much more inviting to just hit driver over everything and leave a 50 yard shot into the green. I stuck to the plan and smoked a 6i to the corner in the middle of the fairway. My opponent hit a decent drive past my ball. I pulled my approach shot and hit the green but had about 50' to the hole and he thinned his over the back. He flubbed his chip and was over 30' away and I hit another long putt to tap-in distance and won the hole. #16 is another short dogleg par 4 with water all along the right that was playing up again. I briefly flirted with the idea of going more aggressive but went with 7i off the tee. Neither of us hit good shots and we both ended up in one of the fairway bunkers on the left. I had an 80 yard bunker shot with water to the right and behind the green. I kind of just went with my gut and hit a half swing PW 8' short of the hole. He struggled on the hole, just getting it out of the bunker on his second and I don't remember exactly what he did on his third because as he put it, my bunker shot was "the nail in the coffin." I two-putted to win the match 3&2.

I Can Breathe Again

I breathed a sigh of relief that it was over and then I pulled my tee shot on the par 3 17th into the weeds. The other match was still going on so I told them not to worry about what I was doing, to do their thing and I'll just find my ball and pick it up. I didn't find my ball. We got to #18, Lake #9 which is my favorite hole on the whole course. Not because it is easy, but because it is hard. I hooked it OB off the tee and decided I was done playing golf for the day. Apparently I had reached my limit of focus for golf for the day, or perhaps I really just let it all go once I relaxed, but I knew after hitting two straight misses I hadn't hit all day that I was not capable of playing any more golf. There was another match going on in our group, after all, and I did not want to be a distraction.

My opponent hit what he described as the best hybrid he'd ever hit on #17 to 6' and made par. He followed that up with a well played par net birdie on #18. Apparently the pressure of the match being gone had the opposite effect on him.

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