When I woke to the sound of severe thunder and lightning, I figured I would be playing today at all. But the severe storm passed and we tee off at 5:10 this evening and got our 6 holes in. Despite the rain, wind and lightning, the course was in great shape and was still firm and fast. The wind was still blowing and I figured I needed a fast start after shooting the dreadful +3 at Blue Mound on Monday.
The first hole a 565 yard par 5 can be had, but only after a really good drive and a hooked three wood. I was able to get that part right, but I was left with a short and easy 25 foot chip shot that I dubbed about 7 feet, leaving me a 20 footer for birdie. Fortunately I drained that one and got to +2 for the qualifier. The second hole is another birdie hole as I had 67 yards to the pin, which I hit long to 20 feet and settled for a par. The third hole is a tough 500 yard par 4 that plays uphill. The problem for me here in the humidity is that I carry about 30 gloves in my bag, and none of them felt just right. The one I had on for the 3rd tee shot felt wet and gooey, but instead of stopping and changing gloves, I went ahead and hit a drive dead right as the club slipped in my hand on the take away. Unlike Tiger, I cannot stop my swing once I’ve got the club at the top and loaded. This ended with a bogey and put me back +3 for the qualifier. Three solid pars through 6 holes and we stopped for darkness.
On the board there are 38 scores already at par (142) or better, which means there should be a large playoff tomorrow at that number (142). I have 12 holes to get back to even or -1 for the qualifier, which means I’m going to have to take some risk going for some pins on the short side. I’ll need to make some putts as well. We tee it up again at 7:30 and by 11:00 am my fate should be sealed one way or the other.
Nobody can explain the low scoring, if you’d play these two courses you’d think the typical 4-8 over par would be the cut to the low 64. I believe the reason is that the USGA for the first time ever exempted into the field the top 50 ranked amateurs, which normally only half those guys would make it through the 36 hole initial qualifier. What this does is raise the level of talent and reduce the qualifying score. I’m okay with this change, the PGA tour has been exempting their top players into majors for a long time now, and it’s way overdue here.
Tomorrow my strategy will be to focus on getting those lost strokes back by making putts, and not leaving anything short. I will need to rally hard to get into this years top 64, but I feel confident I can make it happen…we’ll see.
Stay tuned for results and more comments tomorrow