This great event in the middle of New Jersey is a 27 hole one day event at a really great 3 nine hole complex. The Invitational is always scheduled the day before the Crump Cup practice round (at Pine Valley about 2 hours away). This years event was threatened by the weather that keeps slamming the east coast, but we got lucky and had a beautiful day with light breezes.
The staff at Metedeconk really goes out of their way to make the players welcomed. A great breakfast awaits the players upon arrival before the 9an shotgun start. With only one group on each hole the pace of play was very enjoyable and makes this event a lot of fun. The three nines at Metedeconk are not for the faint of heart, these are tough nines with ample trouble to keep you focused and aware of the looming trouble throughout the course.
This years event was about my 6th year playing, and always a good warm up before the Crump Cup at Pine Valley and helpful in acclimating to the East Coast time zone. I was pleased with my pairing this year as I drew my good pal Tim Rouillard who now lives about an hour away after moving from Oregon a few years ago. Joining us is another good friend and world class amateur Mike McCoy. With other really great Mid Ams like Gene Elliott, John Moyher and others in the field, this is a very competitive event.
After an opening nine of 33 (-3) I knew that I would be in the hunt until the very end. Unfortunately for me I hit a BIG triple bogey on my 17th hole of the day, giving Mike McCoy a one shot lead over me. After nine holes I was five ahead of Mike, but knew he would rally at some point, and sure enough the birdies started to fly. Things changed for me on the last nine holes where I birdied three holes in a row to pull one ahead of Mike. After we both made par saves on the 26th hole I knew I needed a solid last hole to stay one ahead of Mike, but like the last several years at the Crump Cup where Mike has beaten me the past three years in a row, I thought perhaps this is my chance to come out on top. After a poor tee shot left, I was only able to get my ball on the far left front of the green leaving an 80 foot putt. Mike hit a nice shot in about 25 feet above the hole. What happened next was maximum pain, with Mike rolling in his 25 footer on it’s last roll, followed by me missing the par putt from about 6 feet. I ended up tied for second with two others at even par for the 27 holes.
Mike McCoy is one of the countries best Mid Ams and in my opinion should have made a Walker Cup team. He is a gentleman and good man both on and off the course, BUT I want to beat him, and I think he enjoys seeing me suffer so….it’s what makes this amateur golf so much fun, it’s not like I just missed getting my tour card or something, we are doing this for fun (albeit the bogey on the last, combined with his very timely birdie was not much fun).
We had a great meal at Metedeconk and waited for the awards ceremony, where my traveling companion Mikie Staskus FINALLY got his sidesaddle putter working and shot the low nine of the tournament, a 32 (-4) which won him a crystal bowl. Mike has about 6 months invested in side saddle putting and he is finally getting the feel for the speed and getting the line figured out. I am very proud of him for sticking with the side saddle after struggling with it mightily for the past 6 months. After we got our awards we all headed down to Atlantic City to play some Baccarat, which was a lot of fun.
Now sitting here after round one of the Crump Cup (which will be a separate post) actually praying for rain so that the first round scores will be wiped out, but it’s not looking good as the sun is coming out and the golf I’m sure is being played.
More on the Crump Cup stay tuned!