Yes, these are the tough ones to report, as yesterday was a very very tough and disappointing day at the Old Del Monte course under bright blue skies. I was surprised when I showed up at the course to find myself in the last group with the leaders Cory McElyes and Grant Rappleye. I started the day 3 behind Cory, and after nine holes was dead even with him after making 4 birdies and one bogey on the front side. The difficulty of the course was only in the pin placements on many of the severe slopes, making any downhill putt very challenging.
I first pulled an iron for the tee shot on #10 and after seeing Cory and Grant with drivers I decided to give the green a go as well (this is a driveable 300 yard par 4 with trouble left and right). I hit a perfect tee shot the ended on the back of the green 20 feet from the hole. Cory left his drive in the left greenside bunker. After a 2 putt and par for Cory I had the outright lead at -8. The 11th hole provided me an opportunity to stretch the lead by one or even two shots as Cory left his bunker shot in the bunker, but got the next one up and in for par. I was unable to convert my 6 foot downhill birdie attempt, but still felt in control with momentum on my side.
THEN it seems I made the same mistake I’ve been making over the past several events, the short par three 12th was downwind and playing 156 yards, with the wind blowing a little stronger I tried to quick hit my 9 iron, which resulted in a missed green to the right, followed by a poor chip and bogey. I then was back tied with Cory going into the par 5 13th hole. This hole was playing short and a must birdie situation to keep the momentum going. Cory blocked his drive and hit a provisional ball, my tee shot was poorly hit down the middle. We found Cory’s tee shot under the right tree, which he followed up with a driver out of the rough under the tree from 250 yards out that rolled onto the green about 15 feet from the hole. He went from maybe being out of bounds to having a short eagle putt. I hit a poor 3 metal left of the green, followed by a poor flop to 10 feet, but I made the tricky sidehill putt to stay even with Cory.
After Cory hit a great shot on the par three 14th hole playing 212 yards with a 4 iron, for some reason I felt I could hit a 5 iron to the front of the green. I hooded the club slightly and over swung hitting a rope hook left in the high rough and almost certain bogey. After my mental mistake on 14 for bogey, I followed it with another one at 15 hitting a 5 iron off the tee to far right in the rough, quick hit a wedge short right resulting in another bogey and a two shot deficit with three to play. After striping drives on 16, 17 and 18 I was only able to birdie 17 which Cory birdied as well and settled for a T2 finish.
So what happened on the holes 12,14 and15…? I’m not sure but each day I had a stretch of holes where I was not mentally sharp. Over 54 holes I made 17 birdies and a whopping 10 bogeys, which is not going to get the job done. I have a lot of work to do between now and the start of the Senior British Open on July 21st. I will need work on some things not under pressure that hopefully will work under extreme pressure.
I plan to slow down the process of making decisions when things are not going well. I find myself speeding up, and compounding the problem. It’s hard to be disappointed as if someone told me that in the State Am, Senior Open Qualifier and Monterey City, I’d have a 1st, T2 and T3 I would take it!!! But as a competitor there is always room for improvement, and I need serious help out of the bunkers, and around the greens. If anyone has any bunker techniques they’d like to share I would like to post it on this golf blog. Even if it’s and article, or teacher that is accomplished in bunker technique, it seems a lot of us suffer from poor bunker play.
During the Monterey City I played with a competitor that I won’t name that would take an average of 2.5 minutes before hitting his tee shots, and 2 minutes before a shot into the green. It’s hard to believe that anyone could take that much time and play well? I believe the time allowed when it’s your turn is 45 seconds, any comments on slow play and the time allocated when it’s your turn would be interesting to me?? And why are the younger players so slow, and with age the players play quicker…is there a reason for this?
UP NEXT COURSE REVIEW OF WALTON HEATH THE SENIOR BRITISH OPEN VENUS
Monterey City scores link below