I’m excited and happy to report that I’m one of the eight survivors for tomorrows quarter final morning match followed by the semis in the afternoon. This is a very interesting phase of the event for me personally as I was a quarter finalist last year, and a total of 10 times over the last 25 years. Unfortunately all those advancements have left me without the one title I’ve always wanted most, A STATE AMATEUR TITLE. Being runner up in 1988 I got a taste of what the final match can be like over 36 holes (it was at Pebble Beach back then) it’s a grueling grind, and the guy that stays focused and executes best will win.
At this stage of the event fatigue plays a huge role in the outcome, as we play two matches tomorrow, followed by a 36 hole final that I would love to be participating in. I have some idea why I’ve been to the quarter finals of 10 Cal State Am’s and 5 USGA Mid Am’s without one victory. Honestly I’d trade all of those great events for that one illusive win in these great amateur events. Especially on my home course at age 52 where I’m averaging 30 years older than the average player left in the event. The old saying has always been true, the ball has no idea how old or smart you are.
Today was yet another magical day on one of the best courses in the world, in pristine condition. The pin placements were “cute” today with several front pin locations making it next to impossible to get a shot close on those holes. especially number 2 and 8 where the pin was about 7 paces onto the green. The greens are VERY firm, and will not receive poorly struck shots from the rough or the fairway. So many people have been asking about the 2012 US OPEN next year on this amazing Lake course, and what will the pros shoot? The answer is simple, it won’t be 16 under par, it won’t be 6 under par, and quite honestly if Mike Davis is pissed about the trouncing last weekend in US OPEN, he could make the wining score 1-4 over par. I believe the winning score will be under par for these reasons. The players and the equipment are better than ever, and the best players in the world can launch high soft shots that will be required into these small and firm greens. The course will be set up differently everyday and will not be tipped out. And lastly the players are better than ever, and someone is going to find to find their groove and make some birdies like Payne did before his late meltdown.
Okay back to the Cal Amateur- My day again got off to a great start by winning the first three holes, including my annual birdie on the ever tough 3 rd hole (par three 229 downhill to a green with a 10 yard opening in the front of the green). Cameron struck back with birdies on #4 and #5 two of the hardest holes on the course. By the 10th hole I had a narrow lead of 1up, and again made birdie at the tough 11th hole, along with a conceded birdie on #12. I held the 3 up lead until the 14th where a par got me 4 up and in control of the match. All I can say is for me to win more matches I will need to elevate my play a bit and keep putting well. This is going to be a marathon from here out, and fatigue will play a big part both mentally and physically.
My game plan will not change, and because I’m playing the qualifying medalist, I just need to keep doing what I’ve doing up to this point. The one thing I’m sure of is that I am looking forward to another day at the OC, and to see what interesting pins await us!!
For results and a good article by Scott Seward of the NCGA check out the link below