On another gorgeous day at the Olympic Lake course the field was cut down from 8 to the final 2, Bhavik Patel and Kevin Wentworth will play 36 holes tomorrow for the championship. Today was the first day of 36 holes with the quarter finals in the am and the semi finals in the afternoon. My quarterfinal match was against qualifying medalist, Philip Chiang. I really enjoyed playing with Philip and I especially liked his brisk pace of play. I got down early against Philip with bogeys on two and three, and followed them up with birdies on 4 & 5. The match teetered back and forth until we got to the 15th hole, the match was even. Philip hit an errant shot right in the bunker, resulting in a bogey and going 1 down for the first time. Philip seemed to get to aggressive on 16 where he three putted for bogey to go two down with 2 to go. After we both made par on 17 I had secured a spot in the 100th Cal amateur at my home course.
What made the biggest impact on me this June 24th actually wasn’t the 100 California State Amateur, it was the loss of a dear friend last Saturday. Her name is Margot Murphy, wife of my dear friend Mike Murphy. Margot at age 28 got cancer and spent the last 8 years fighting for her life up until last Saturday. Today was her memorial service and celebration of her life, which I was sad to have missed. I wanted to mention Margot not only because she was the bravest person I’ve ever known, but also because it is the constant reminder of how lucky we to be healthy alive, and to be lucky enough to enjoy the experience of playing golf at the Olympic Club.
My afternoon Semi Final match against the very talented Bhavik Patel, I knew that I would need to bring my A game to this match to have a chance. I unfortunately got off to a bad start and got three down after 7 holes, making 3 bogeys to Bhavik 3 birdies and one bogey. The ninth hole was a typical hole in this match, both decent drives, shots on the green, Bhavik putts first and drains a 20 footer for birdie, and I miss my shorter attempt. Being 4 down with 9 holes is a deep hole that is very tough to survive against a great player. After a par win on 10 to go 3 down, I needed to make a 8 foot birdie putt on 11 to close the gap, but another missed opportunity slipped by. Bhavik on the 12th again drained a nice 20 footer for a winning birdie to go back four up in the match. I was able to win the 14th and 16th to close it to 2 down with 2 holes to go, but I was unable to convert on the reachable par 5.
Playing 36 holes against players over 30 years younger is quite a challenge, as fresh legs are needed to hit the precise shots required on this very tough championship test. It would have been beyond a dream come true if I was able to get to the finals and find a way to win, but I feel like I have won, I proved I can still play with the State’s best amateurs. After all, golf is a game, a sport that I love dearly. But the importance for me is in the experience, challenge, and people I meet and the places I am able to travel see. Life goes by fast, so don’t let a minute go by where you are not doing something you love to do each and everyday.
I’m back at it on Tuesday at Peach Tree CC for the US Senior Open Qualifier, stay tuned for more on the State Am tomorrow. Sorry about any grammatical errors as I did not proof this post…long day!!
Results link below