SF City Heads to Final Weekend- 36 holes matches ahead

It again looks like another wet weekend forecast for the semi and finals of the City. This is where it gets tough with two back to back 36 hole matches (no carts). This is where mental and physical fatigue will play a major role in the outcome.

Having made the semi finals 7 times over the past 25 years, my advice to those 4 players is this:

  • Get plenty of rest starting 2 days prior to Sat, don’t over practice and wear yourself down. The game you have now is what you’ll have by Sat, being rested is way more important than the nervous energy that most will burn up with excessive pre-event practice.
  • Make sure you’re hydrated well before Sat tee time, and stay hydrated during the match. This is a HUGE mistake I see made especially by the younger players. They don’t feel thirsty so they don’t drink any water, resulting in late round collapses both mentally and physically. I force myself to drink ample amts of water during the round, if I don’t..I pay the price
  • Stay even keeled during the match whether your up or down. I remember my semi final match against Kent Yamane in 2008, Kent got off to a great start shooting an easy 66 in the morning 18 holes (I shot 69 and was three down) but I stuck to my game plan throughout the match and slowly inched closer as the match moved into the last 9 holes. I didn’t see Kent drinking any water, and it looked like he was losing his focus. Now pars were winning holes, and as I was able to turn the pressure on him when I went up in the match, all the momentum switched in my favor. I can understand that after firing a 66 you’d think you’re going to be victorious, but in a 36 holes match the last 9 holes always seems to matter most. You need to be strong and finish the match.
  • With a 36 hole match, I believe hitting greens and not stressing your short game is a key to success. Going for tight pin positions usually doesn’t payoff in a longer match. Play smart by taking safer targets and don’t give holes away by making foolish bogeys. In my Final match against Martin Trainer (who is 33 years younger than I am) the difference was I let a couple of poor shots change my strategy and focus (leading to losing 5 out of 6 holes after being 3 up on the last 18 holes) the match ended up on the 36 hole with me making back to back bogeys on the 35 & 36th holes. I had let myself get drained physically and emotionally. I had stopped eating small amounts of food….my tank was empty.
  • Eat small amts of food during the day and DON’T eat a big lunch. Maintaining a constant blood sugar level is extremely important to keeping yourself in a consistent physical, mental and emotional state for maximum performance

Winning the San Francisco City is a huge honor and something you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. You may win bigger events in your career, but you will never forget how special winning the San Francisco City will always be!!

I just got this from George Gandranata about his exciting quarter-final match- I thought you’d enjoy reading his insight about his match with Kevin Wentworth who made a hole-in-one on the 8th hole (congrats on that amazing feat Kevin)

As far as the quarterfinal match, Kevin and I played really well on a lot of the holes and we kept trading punches throughout the match. We both hit our drive real well and got up and downs a lot when we missed the greens. But, he made a few mistakes that I was able to take advantage of. 

We parred the first 4 holes and he bogeyed number 5 (1 up for me) and then he had a hole in one on 8 (one bounce and disappeared, I was actually excited for having been able to witness it) and he made birdie on 9 (1 up for Kevin). I won hole 10 with par after Kevin’s errand tee shot and 3rd shot. I also won 11 after getting up and down from the right sandtrap. I birdied 12 to go one up after making a 15 footer (2 up for me). I, then, birdied 14 to go 3 up after making a 10 foot birdie putt. It started getting interesting from there. We both missed the green right on 15 with the pin on the right (He made par) and then he birdied 16 from the right side of the fairway (have to hit under the tree). We both parred 17 and then we both hit bad tee shot on 18 and we both bogeyed the hole (won 1 up). 

I played well for 14 holes but and then I got too aggressive on 15 but in the end I was fortunate that I had big enough lead to hold him until 18.


Randy Haag

One Comment on “SF City Heads to Final Weekend- 36 holes matches ahead

  1. Hey, you used to write excellent, but the last sereavl posts have been kinda boring… I miss your great writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

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