This afternoon Spyglass Hill played remarkably more difficult than it did on Monday morning. The course played longer and with challenging pin locations, which the scores reflected.
My round again had the roller-coaster going from start to finish. I had a smooth start with pars and a birdie on #2 until I got to the tough 5th hole playing approx 205 yards today. I hoisted a beautiful 4 iron that landed a few feet from the hole and then bounded over the green up against the high grass for my 1st bogey of the day. Same with #6 playing very long and uphill against the wind. A 5 iron to the back fringe resulted in a 3 putt bogey 5 that had me wondering what was in store for me up ahead. After a par at the par 5 seventh hole I hit a great drive on the tough uphill 8th hole and was left with a chip 6 iron uphill 147 yards. That is where I lost my focus with my iron shots temporarily as I hit a push cut into the far right bunker.
I prefer not to be in any bunkers let alone this long uphill bunker shot that I made sure I didn’t skull long over the green. After a poor shot out to 20 feet I drained this slight right to left breaker that kept my momentum going. Again after another nice drive on the 9th hole I again bailed out on my finish and hit a weak carp shot short and right of the green. I couldn’t see the green from down the hill and decided to just hit the shot without looking at the green. That turned out to be a wise decision as I holed the 30 yard shot resulting in a birdie three and even par front nine.
At the turn I noticed that 4 under par was leading the qualifier and I stood 2 under par with nine holes to go. I knew the 66 and the two 68 were playing in the afternoon wave, but felt if I could get it to five under par for the qualifier that maybe that would contend for medalist. Certainly my terrible tee shot on #10 didn’t give me the start I was looking for. After a poor shot from the bunker to the right greens side bunker I had my hands full with a very tough shot. I hit the perfect bunker shot with a one bouncer back out and on to the green about 10 feet from the hole which I was thrilled to make for a par.
After 2 solid shots onto the green at #11 I two putted for a birdie to get to 3 under. For the second day in a row I made a nice birdie putt on #12 for yet another birdie to get to -4. After a solid par on 13 I made yet another 20 foot putt on #14 for birdie and NOW I was at my goal of -5. This unfortunately didn’t last long as I again made bogey on the tough #16th hole after a perfect tee shot. Now back at -4 I knew I needed at least one more birdie to get to -5 and 1 shot of two other players that finished at -4.
After a perfect 3 medal on #17 I faced a 86 yard shot to a back middle pin. The shot was into a slight breeze and played uphill 3-5 yards. I knew my 60 degree wedge would spin hard back towards the front of the green so I chose my trusty 54 degree sand wedge which I nipped to 5 feet from the hole…but above the hole leaving a nasty fast putt that I drained for the much needed bounce back bogey on #16.
I hit perhaps my best tee shot on the 18th hole down the left center leaving only 123 to the hole. I ripped a wedge to the left front of the green and carefully two putted for a very satisfying 69 and a -5 two day total.
I am thrilled to be the 107th NCGA medalist, and I enjoyed every second out on this magnificent course. The course set up each day has been superb, and I am looking forward to my first match tomorrow morning at 8:10.
The interesting thing is I am paired to play my long time friend and best ball partner Darryl Donovan. I’m sure many of you know that Darryl and I won this years NCGA Two man championship on this very course in May, and now here we are playing each other in the first match. Our combined age is 101, while other matched barely reach a combined 40 yrs of age…This game of golf allows the guy 50 to have a chance against a younger player. But tomorrow I’ll have my hands full as Darryl is a great player and has been playing well this year. But I don’t forget when I’ve lost to someone in the past, and Darryl and I played in the 2003 NCGA Amateur in a semi final match that went 5 holes of sudden death with Darryl winning with a par on the 5th hole. This will be my motivation and I’m sure we are going to have a great day out on our favorite course.
For qualifying scores click on the link below. Tomorrow you’ll be able to follow all the matches with live scoring at http://www.ncga.org
Thanks for staying tuned and I’ll be back tomorrow to report round 1 & 2 of match play