Somehow my post from last night ended up in the draft box and didn’t make it out. So we’ll go back to back posts after day one of the 2011 US Amateur.
I tee off at Blue Mound G&CC today under beautiful blue skies and low humidity, the weather was ideal for low scoring conditions, and the players took advantage of the great conditions. At this point I’ve counted over 65 rounds at even par or less, and anything over par today at Blue Mound would be disappointing. So am I disappointed…..hell yes I am, and what an opportunity I had today to shoot a low round on a course that requires you to drive the ball straight, which I did. I hit 11 out 14 fairways, and the 3 I missed the ball was sitting up perfect with no trees or obstacles in my way. My 5 bogeys all came from short shots from fairway grass.
If I’m going to play with the kids, I need to NOT hit the irons like a tired old 52 yr old. I have no excuses, I just short sided myself with three wedge shots, an 8, 7 and 6 iron all resulting in UGLY bogies. My lonely 2 birdies where not enough to offset the poor iron play today. The good news is there is always tomorrow, the bad news is I’ll need to shoot -3 (69) to have a chance at making the match play portion of the event (THE GOAL HERE).
The leaders are fellow Olympian and UCLA star Gregor Main at -5 at Blue Mound, Blake Biddle shot a -5 67 at Erin Hills, and John Hahn a -5 65 at Blue Mound. Many of the other top players including most of the recently selected Walker Cup players are visible at the top of the leader board. Defending champion Peter Uihlein had a solid 68 at Erin Hills. Standing on the driving range, all I could see was a sea of college bags including the two fine gentleman I was paired with today, one from Florida State and the other from Ball State.
My one great memory on the day was the par 5 18th hole at Blue Mound (my 9th hole of the day) this 565 yard par five I reached in two shots and had a 25 foot eagle putt that I two putted for birdie. Unfortunately that was followed on number one with a perfect tee shot and a pulled wedge down the hill into a short sided bunker to erase the birdie I had just made. These top college players take advantage of their opportunities and seldom hit offline iron shots. Certainly fatigue is not a factor at age 18-22 but being mentally tough for a player at any age is absolutely key. Your focus and commitment to each shot cannot waiver, or you’ll pay the price with loose shots and mental errors. The USGA sets up their courses to expose the weak and to identify the best players. Today at Blue Mound of you were off a bit, you paid for it with all the pins tucked in the tiny corners of these big greens.
Tomorrow will require some serious sucking it up and playing one shot at a time, some holed putts and patience all need to be in the mix for the oldest player in the field. Scores below, stay tuned for some good scoring tomorrow!!