Posted by: randyhaaggolf | February 21, 2010

1st Day of Match play in the SF City

Harding Park was in much better shape for the start of the 2010 City Championship today. Many of the uncut fairways had a nice trim, making the round a lot more enjoyable than the mud fest of last week’s qualifying rounds. Unfortunately the good weather is about to end as rain is the forecast for many days to come.

My round got off to a solid start with 5 consecutive pars with the lone bogey of the day coming at #6. My worthy opponent was a fine young man from Pleasanton, Justin Shotwell, along with his dad on the bag. I’m sure Justin was disappointed with how he played but I could tell he is a fine player and has a lot of great golf ahead of him.

My putter finally started cooperating on #10 where I made a sliding 12 footer for birdie, followed by an 8 footer at #12 and then 12 feet again for birdie on #13 to close out the match.  During the off days I worked on keeping my body and head still while putting, which haunted me during the qualifying rounds.  The effort seems to be paying off early.

As the day progressed the temperature dropped as the wind picked up, which made me appreciative that I was able to avoid 14-18. My intent was to have many photos of the matches today, but tomorrow I should be able to post some players wearing their rain gear fighting the elements at Harding.

At this time the only results I am aware of are: Scott Hardy def Nick Sako 7&5, Patrick Grimes def Bruce Hanavan 5&4 and Andrew Biggadike def Dwight Eschliman 5&4

I was told by the tournament director that during the match play portion we’d have live scoring.  Perhaps that will begin later, or I may be looking in the wrong place.

It’s remarkable how many young players make match play in this event, as it seems like over half the field is High School or College aged. This was not always the case. Twenty years ago you’d maybe have one or two High School players and a handful of college players. Most of us would know most all of the competitors that would qualify for match. Lately it seems I only recognize less than half the names of the players that advance to match play. This is a testament to how the game has grown over the years. There are now thousands of good scratch tournament players in California alone, which makes all the amateur events extremely competitive.

In years past it was unthinkable that a teenager could possibly win the City Championship, while now…not only have two teenagers won back to back years (Martin Trainer in 08’ and Carlos Briones in 09’) it wouldn’t surprise me if the trend continues. I can assure you whatever intimidation factor the best players may have had in the past…those days are gone!

What I personally love about this great game, especially in match play, is that your ball doesn’t know how old you are OR how young and inexperienced you may be. The key to match play has always to play your own game and play to your strengths.

Thanks to all of you for following this blog, I hope to keep improving the content, photos and soon video to make this a fun and enjoyable site to keep an eye on.

More tomorrow

RH


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