Posted by: randyhaaggolf | June 17, 2014

CALIFORNIA STATE AMATEUR

Hard to write about a tournament that has just ended for me in an early exit. But this is worth writing about. This years event is being held at the beautifully renovated Omni La Costa Champions and Legends courses in Carlsbad. The match play portion of the event starts tomorrow with the featured match going off at 7:30 with medalist Jason Anthony vs. defending champion Cory McElyea in match one number 1 seed vs. #32. It a testament to how deep this field was in quality players, that over two tough tests, 147 +3 was required to move onto match play.

I hate to give you the same old update about my sad game, I drove it poorly, I hit my irons poorly, I chipped it poorly and putted poorly and finished 3 shots out of match play. YES I am 55 and only three players in their 30’s made match play, zero 40 or 50 year olds make the cut. But I had the pleasure to play with 54 yr old John Pate, and past State Am Champ Don DuBois. After a fine 72 yesterday, I thought John Pate would cruise into match play, but today was tough for John. We all have had our moments on the links, and it was a pleasure to play with these guys. So our group was 164 years old, while other groups combined age (pairings of three) were less than 60. The beauty of golf, is the old saying, the ball does not know how old you are. But unfortunately our bodies ache more, we don’t hit it as far, and its frustrating to have been dominant in the amateur ranking and now struggle to be relevant.

So the choice is either give up playing against the kids, or succumb to playing against the older generation. Quite honestly, I am not ready to give up on the dream of playing against the best amateurs in the world. So the plan is to get better, easier said than done!!

I have a lot of respect and gratitude for both the NCGA and the SCGA, I’m sure it is challenging for the SCGA to provide venues equal to what the North provides in its State Am venues. Honestly other than Rancho Sante Fe in 2010, the venues we’ve played in So Cal for this event have been less than adequate for an event that for almost 100 years was held at Pebble Beach, and its early days, was played at Cypress Point and Pebble. For those of us to remember those days, its hard to get fired up to play La Costa, with its resort style course. Quite honestly, its not in the top 25 courses in California, and has many mediocre holes. I am sure some will not enjoy reading this critique, but the deal here is to be honest about the venues we play in this historic event. 

The tong line up of players in this event is impressive, and the match play portion is grueling and intense. I love match play, and I am pulling for my pal and best ball partner Jason Anthony. I played a practice round with Jason on Sunday, and all I can say is his game is ON. After a fresh win in the Fresno City, I think Jason will be tough to beat. But match play never goes as slated, so anyone of these 32 players could be holding the trophy on Friday afternoon.

I did have a pleasant consolation prize in being able to visit my favorite place in Carlsbad, the KINGDOM, where you go to get fitted for the best and latest and greatest Taylor Made equipment that I believe is the best made for both great amateurs and pros. If you aren;t playing Taylor Made clubs, you are at a disadvantage to those that are. Don’t take my word for it, try the new Taylor Made Clubs!!!

Day one I bogeyed all 4 par 3’s, and had 3 three putts from fairly short range. Today I hit a shank into the Lake in #9 and made double. I ended my tournament by firing a 34 on the toughest 9 to finish with 150, not good enough. Now its rest the back and get ready to play the homies on their home course at Green Valley for 2 spots into the USGA Senior Open. 

Stay tuned for my comments on the upcoming events, USGA Senior Open, NCGA Stroke Play, British Senior Open, British Amateur, NCGA Amateur, and many more up and around the world.

AND  finally people seem to be very interested in side saddle putting, soon I will be doing video on a few lessons that will help you with technique, if your putting sucks, you may want to try saddling!!! It works!!

STAY TUNED


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