Siting here in the Chicago Midway airport at 6:10 I thought I get this information down and out to you while it’s fresh in my mind. Yesterday was another one of those travel nightmare days, after shooting a 72 and missing the cut by a wide margin of 5 shots. The round had similar characteristics of day one, with really stupid decisions and poor execution. My front nine was typical with some great holes (4 birdies total and 3 in a row from 7-9) but also a double bogey on the easiest hole on the course, the par 5 4th hole which I had a rescue to and made a sloppy ugly double bogey. It felt like throwing 3 shots away and halted my momentum after a nice birdie on the par 3 third hole.
Bottom line is I played the back nine 9 over par without making a birdie, and the front -2 which still wasn’t great. This course was set up perfect for me as it favored a long hitter off the tee (see driving stats)
I believe I was 7th in the tournament with an average of 288 yards, which basically left me only a 6 iron as the longest club I had into any of the long par four holes. My sand game was great, but my iron game was very poor only hitting about 50% of the greens. With soft conditions and slow greens these experienced pros had a field day out there. The tees were up on 1/3 of the holes, and the course played pretty easy all in all. The cut at +2 was not a surprise to me and Tim Jackson stands as the only amateur to make the cut. As I mentioned in a previous post that I rank Tim the #1 amateur in the world over 50. I finished 4th amongst the 26 amateurs that participated.
Well then what went wrong, I experienced the hang over effect of the low amateur honors at the British Senior, and like the first British Senior I didn’t feel comfortable until late in the 2nd round. If I am fortunate enough to qualify for another Senior Open, my approach will be different and I should be better rested and better prepared. Distractions always play a big part for the amateurs in an event like this. You are signing autographs left and right and you feel like a low level rock star for a few days which is great, but is a distraction from the task at hand.
Are the pros that much better than the top amateurs, the answer is HELL YES. Don’t kid yourself thinking at age 50 you’ll turn pro and play against these guys…go for it but be realistic that these guys could still win on the regular tour (many have). The difference is they’ve done this all their lives and the Senior Open is nice, but it’s not like teeing it in the Ryder Cup, like most the stars have played in before. Now that’s pressure!!
Scorecard for the two majors- British Senior-short game A- driving B- Irons B Putting- B+ overall grade B mental game B (only due to the very sloppy 4th round when I had opportunity) USGA SENIOR OPEN- Short game B+ Driving B Irons C- Putting C+ overall C+ mental game D
I had one clean round – 68 in round 3 at Walton Heath, I had two rounds of 72 that were sloppy with many mental errors and a poor 75 and 77. If I am going to improve next year this is what I’ll need to do. Better mental preparation, better fitness, work on moving the ball more efficiently left to right and right to left. Putt more consistently under pressure.
So with the 2:45 minute rain delay, I missed my 6:00 pm flight to Denver/SFO and went standby on the 7:40 only to be the last person not to get on (I expected that) So Ranier and I spend a wonderful evening at the Detroit Airport waiting for our 6am flight out…
What to expect this weekend Mark Calcavechia will be tough to beat with his length and motivation after he messed up his third round at the British. I of course will be pulling for my pal Michael Allen!!
Up next- 36 hole US Am qualifier at Peninsula CC on Monday, time to rest up and get re-focused!!