Posted by: randyhaaggolf | October 30, 2017

Photos from the Carr Mara at Oakmont

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | October 30, 2017

CARR MARA

I’m sure most of you will not know what Carr Mara means, so hopefully your curious and will read on.

The objective of this great event is to honor the lives of Joe Carr and Wellington Mara through a friendly competition amongst Irish and United States golfers.

The clubs representing the USA are: Oakmont (2017 host club) Winged Foot Golf Club (where Wellington Mara was a founding member), Pine Valley, The Olympic Club, Bel Air Country Club, Garden City Golf Club and Oak Hill Country Club.

The invited Irish clubs are: Ballybunion Golf Club, Portmarnock Golf Club, Royal Portrush Golf Club, Co. Sligo Golf Club, Lahinch Golf Club, County Louth Golf Club and Sutton Golf Club.

Each club brings 8 players for a Stableford competition which allocates points on each hole (net)  5points for a Double Eagle, 4 for an Eagle, 3 for a birdie, 2 for a par, 1 for a bogey, and 0 for a double bogey or higher.

The team has 3 net players, 3 net senior players, and 2 gross (scratch players). Although there is a low gross award, for the team event, handicaps are used for the Stableford scoring. Thus a 3 handicapper in the gross flight, is getting 8 more strokes than the +5 player (and yes that is a real example of what happened)

For me the event was more about the people, especially the amazing gentlemen from Ireland. They seem to have a different appreciation and love for the game than most Americans. I say this not to slight anyone or their passion, but I can assure you those guys are more apt to be out there in 30 mph winds with driving rain, and perhaps even want to play 36 holes in those conditions.

So when we were greeted with plummeting temperatures, with wind and rain, they were quite at home.

This years winning team was no surprise as the Oakmont team certainly had the advantage on the field with such tough conditions and knowledge of the course. My two previous experiences at Oakmont were as a caddie in the 2016 US Open, and a participant in the 2003 US Amateur. So I knew how tough this course would play.

Unfortunately for me, I experienced the worst pinch nerve in my back and neck, after traveling to the East coast 3 times in 4 weeks. This last flight and hotel pillow finally did me in. If this had not been a team competition I would have withdrew on my 3rd hole after my 3rd consecutive double bogey. My first round 86 was embarrassing to post, but it gave me great pleasure to see my teammates on the OC team do so well.

The next morning I made a quick visit to a Chiropractic office near my hotel, where I found a nice Chiropractor whom was his answering service, front desk assistant, and only other person in his large office. When I walked into his office he looked like he could be no more than 18 years old, and wasn’t even growing facial hair yet. My guess is he weighed about 140 pounds and with that knew he would have a hard time cracking me)

He did however to get a hot rock dig deep into my pinched nerve area, which did some good loosening. All of this effort to see if I could help the Olympic Club win their 3rd team Carr Mara championship.

Day 2 was quite miserable with a 44 degree temperature, with wind and some rains squalls coming through. I was determined to better my score by at least 10 shots and show I had not lost it completely.

Oakmont is relentless, and hits you with so many hard holes, it difficult to ever make many lost strokes back. I battled hard, only to finish bogey, bogey for a +5 75. As a testament to how difficult this course played, my second day 75 was the low gross round by two shots.

Fellow Olympian and good friend Jason Anthony took the gross honors with a playoff par on the very difficult 18th hole where a smashed a drive and 4 iron onto the green, and then negotiated a VERY tough two putt.

Not only is Oakmont long, narrow with bunkers guarding each fairway right and left, BUT then they have the most undulated and difficult greens imaginable. No wonder Cabrerra won the Open at +5 there and played perhaps the best golf of his life.

Oakmont should be on everyones bucket list to play, it is unique, a real test, and the facilities are amazing!

Next up is the California State Senior Championship at Pauma Valley CC which will decide who is Northern California Senior Player of the year. Stay tuned as the season comes to an end, and the focus will switch to off season training.

I’m going to post my Oakmont Photos on my follow on blog.

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | October 14, 2017

Firefighter BEATS Wedding Caterer in USGA Mid-Am finals

Some of the best golf ever played in the USGA Mid-Am was on display yesterday by Matt Parziale, punching his ticket into the 2018 US Open, Masters, USGA Amateur at Pebble Beach and a whole host of other exemptions including a 10 year exemption into the USGA Mid-Am.

Is this a life changing event for an amateur that probably spend $2,000-$3,000 to participate, and in the end received a medal for his efforts?

I would say HELL YES!!!!

I’ve been chasing this dream my whole life, with only 5 quarter final finishes in the USGA Mid-Am, and YES I would trade all 5 quarter final finishes for ONE W!!

This is what’s great about golf, you have two guys that have jobs, one a Firefighter and the other a wedding caterer, battling it out on a very challenging course, and the Firefighter shoots a cool 63 in the morning round. Of course YES, this is match play and concessions are made on some short putts, but 10 birdies over the 30 holes played.

My hat is off to Matt, and I am sure this will be something he will always be most proud of in his golfing life. His 2018 will be a Cinderella story.

But what happened to all the BIG GUNS in this years Mid-Am…..? It’s simple, they got beat. And in match play anything can happen over just 18 holes when its win or go home. To win 6 matches you need luck, skill, endurance, mental toughness and a strong will to win period.

This is not a game for the weak hearted, this game will rip your heart out, will kill you with disappointment and failure. BUT when its your turn, and you do win..OMG its nirvana to the 9’s.

I cannot image a much better feeling than perhaps watching your newborn come into this world. This game can make you or break you. But we always seem to come back thinking we could be the next guy in line to do what a Firefighter and wedding caterer did, which is play in the finals of a National championship, and make everyone that knows them proud as hell!!

MID AM FINAL

STAY TUNED

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | October 11, 2017

AMAZING MATCH AT USGA MID-AM

The PGA Tour has its tag line “These guys are good”. Well these Mid-Ams are good too!!!

I’m telling you first hand, this Crabapple course is LONG and hard, yet there is a match between Michael Muehr and Mark Harrell where through 16 holes neither player has made a bogey. Harrell is currently -7 in the match and dormie 2 against Michael Muehr who is -5 on the day, and will probably need to birdie the last two holes to get the match back to all square.

Michael Muehr is a quality guy, and played on the PGA tour many years back. He has an amazing story of battling a serious illness, defeated it and now enjoys playing as an amateur.

One of the players left will receive an invitation to the Master AND the US Open.

Stay tuned!!

Muehr/Harrell Match

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | October 10, 2017

USGA MID AM ENDS WITH A THUD

What’s hard about writing a golf blog is that after a day like yesterday, I want badly to take a long time off from golf. The fact is that yesterday was perhaps the worst competitive round I played in 2017.

I knew on the driving range I was in trouble as I couldn’t seem to get my full range of motion working. I was slinging shots left and right. The harsh truth is that when your younger you don’t have many days where you can’t get properly loose on the driving range. As I have aged, its always a VERY good indicator of how I will play based on my range of motion on the driving range in my warm up.

I don’t like writing about my putting woes, as they come and go, but yesterday started with 3 straight holes where I yipped (eyes open) a putt from inside 4 feet and started off bogey, bogey, bogey, par , bogey.

On a VERY tough course with very little cushion to make match play, I was pretty much doomed off the poor start I had.

I am not a big fan of writing about my defeats, but in the end I need to learn from them, and make adjustments if I intend to compete at this level. I think the honest truth is that competing against the defending champion, Stewart Hagestad  (who shot 64 on the tough Crabapple Course) has passed me by. I believe that entering a tournament you cannot win, is a mistake, unless its a professional major, where there is a competition for low amateur.

My best ball partner and good friend Jason Anthony just finished off 4 time USGA Mid AM champion Nathan Smith, and is the guy to beat in this tournament. Jason is playing GREAT golf, and has a lot of confidence right now.

Stay tuned for more coverage from the US Mid Am

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | October 9, 2017

US Mid Amateur

These are some photos I took of the beautiful Capital City Crabapple course, which is hosting the 37th US Mid-Amateur Championship.

Play was canceled due to a tropical storm that hit on Sunday, today we resume the second round of qualifying leading to 64 players advancing to match play at days end.

On Saturday I shot 2 over par 73 at Atlanta National leaving me in the hunt for one of these coveted 64 spots.

Real time scoring is available at http://www.USGA.Org

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