Monterey Peninsula Country Clubs Dunes and Shore courses are real gems. These courses require some patience, accuracy and most definitely you better bring your short game. With tricky and fast greens, you’ll need your best touch to navigate these tough green complexes. It’s easy to get mesmerized by the incredible Seaside scenery. The views are spectacular along the 17 Mile Drive, especially when your playing the 10-16th holes on the Dunes course, spectacular!!

Perhaps when I play poorly I first praise the course, facilities, players, officials, the great food provided, and everything else I can think of other than how I played. After a nice victory last week in the NCGA Masters, I thought I was ready to move my game in the right direction, but after no practice from Tuesday- Sunday, I went into Monday rusty, not necessarily confident, and off very early at 7:40.

My starts are always VERY important to how my day usually goes, if I start poorly, usually I struggle, and this was no exception. The first hole of the Shores course is a par 5 hole that I can reach with a driver and 5 iron. But after a chip out from the right trees, I chunked a 6 iron short of the green, chipped on, and three putted for an ugly opening 7. I smoothed things out and went to the 9th hole 2 over par. The ninth hole is a tough 240 yard par three  that looks tough from the tee, with a huge bunker on the right, and a huge 2 tier green. It was playing down wind, and I chose a 4 iron which was plenty of club. A poor over the top swing and I was in the left bunker with a tree in front of me. I am not a great “take your medicine ” type of player. I went for the miracle shot under the tree and paid dearly with a triple bogey 6. In hind site, this was quite foolish as the shots I wasted there were the margin of difference in making match play. In these qualifiers you NEED TO AVOID THE BIG SCORES!!!

Shooting at tight pins, foolish!!! Going for high risk shots, leave em for Mickelson in the US OPEN. Just get into match play which only took 6 over par over two days to make the playoff, so lets call it 5 over par. These two courses have a total of 9 par 5 holes, most reachable in 2 shots. Strategy of how to play these courses was a key to success, and a practice round on both of them would have made the difference. I honestly didn’t remember either course and made many strategic mistakes off the tee and into the greens.

Playing in my group was Don Du Bois 2005 champion, and two time NCGA champion John Catlin. John has a nice game, but in the end, he made the putts and Don and I didn’t. John chipped in, and always saved himself with his short game. YOU GOTTA HAVE A SHORT GAME TO COMPETE AT THIS LEVEL!!!

John won his match today, and heads to the round of 16 tomorrow, I wish him well, and the competition will quickly come down to the last two standing on Saturday for a 36 hole final.

You can follow the results live:




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