After a very tough day of weather and struggles, I needed a day to cool off before posting my thoughts and comments. Yesterday I played the Houstonian Golf and CC at 8:00 am which normally would be a desired time in a USGA event. The difficulty was three fold, I have been traveling a bit much and my body has finally said enough, after a quick three day trip to Ireland and back my body needed some time off from golf. Second there was an early morning wind blowing that made club selection tricky. The biggest disappointment was the Bermuda rough was quite unfair, if you hit a shot literally 1 foot off the fairway, your ball would be sitting inches down in a deep clump of Bermuda grass with NO chance to advance it to the green. I noticed that a more errant shot gave you a better chance to draw a lie (I had a few of those). After ugly bogeys on 8 & 9 I turned with a +3 39 on the front side and was determined to get a few of those shots back. A slightly pulled tee shot on #10 found a lake I didn’t know was there lurking around the corner.
The Houstonian G&CC has water on about 15 holes, and many of the holes look identical with water mainly down the left side. Of the 20+ courses I’ve played in the US Mid AM I must be honest and say this was my least favorite of them all. Too much luck was involved in getting lies in the rough, and the Bermuda grass was very inconsistent. The next issue we faced as a group was a slow play warning after 9 holes (our first warning) this always takes a toll of the groups ability to play at the normal pace you are accustom to playing at. With one slow player in my group, and another that experienced some trouble, we again were hit with a conditional 1 stroke penalty after the 13th hole. Needless to say I was not very happy being a fast player and having NEVER been penalized for slow play before, this only made the day more troublesome for me. Moments after our penalty, the skies opened up and it rained so hard that I was 100% drenched within a minute or two, shirt, shorts, socks, everything was drowning in water. It gained even more intensity as we approached the 14th green where we all tried to hide behind our golf bags to get out of the sideways rain. At that point a USGA official drove up in a cart and tried to yell something at us, we of course couldn’t hear anything he was trying to say. Reluctantly he got out of his cart and got soaked in seconds as he approached us he said to play on and that play was not suspended. With no rain gear or umbrella (a blunder on my part) I tried to putt on 14 through a puddle and down to the hole with no luck…yet another bogey. Followed by a par at 15 and another bogey on the 500 yard par 5 16th hole after what I thought was a good drive was one foot in the rough without a lie to advance it with even a nine iron.
Bottom line was an ugly 78 that puts me in grave jeopardy of missing match play in the US Mid Amateur for the first time in 14 of these that I’ve played in. I do like Shadow Hawk and a 69 or 68 will be required today to advance to the top 64 for match play (currently at about T148th). Remarkably the leader is 60 year old Paul Simson who last year won the British Senior Amateur, Canadian Senior Amateur, and the 2010 US Senior Amateur. A 67 at the Houstonian is an amazing round, and Paul could be very dangerous in match play as his deft short game will drive his opponent a little crazy.
I’ve got photos of Shadow Hawk that I’ll post later this evening, with a link to the 36 hole score. It’s time to suck it up and play golf or an early exit awaits me.