Now that the week at Royal Porthcawl has flown by, I will treasure the memories of this week for the rest of my life. I will do my best to eliminate the memory of the triple bogey I made on my 10th hole (1st hole) on Sunday, which ultimately cost me a chance to win the silver medal, and an exemption into next years event at THE OLD COURSE, St Andrews. I’ll get back to that in a minute.
But first I want to share with you my opening tee shot on day #1 Thursday, in some weather conditions that we just don’t see in America, and if we did, not many would play in it.
The round one weather was only surpassed by the weather conditions in round two on Friday. I cannot even adequately describe to you how hard it is to hole a 3 foot putt when your whole body is moving, and you cannot get the putter behind the ball. I was literally timing my putts with the motion of my body moving in the wind. Oh by the way, putting side saddle in the wind is VERY DIFFICULT, and one of the serious drawbacks of putting this style.
The close side of the driving range had a 20-30mph wind behind you, so many of us walked to the back of the range, to work on our in to the wind shots. I took the walk back with Corey Pavin, whom was carrying his own carry bag to the back of the range. While back there I decided to take a video of the guy I thought was hitting the most solid shots, can you guess who this player is?
Of course we all have different swings, mine not being anything close to how good these guys swing it. My swing has some unique movements that sometimes work, and OMG sometimes not so well)))
On this course, if you do not drive the ball well, you’ll be in terrible stuff all day long. The fourth hole was my nemesis hole off the tee. The first three rounds I hit a low snap hook into a cross bunker about 10 feet deep, that left me with nothing. Finally in round 4, I hit a 3 metal, and fond the fairway, striped a 7 iron the 6 feet and missed the putt.
My first round of 73, was one of the best rounds of golf I have ever played in my life. It was a battle of survival on every hole, each par was cherished and celebrated by me and my excellent caddie Phil. The 18th hole is a par five up over a hill, and measures about 500 yards, on day one it hit a great drive and then a 9 iron to ten feet, followed by a two putt birdie to cap off my round.
Day two actually got off the an amazing start with three straight pars. And let me tell you, PARS were golden. But then I lost my patience and got on a bogey train, some missed shots and a few 3 putted greens. I did not do a good job staying even keeled as I migrated to the cut line. I thought I put the final exclamation mark on my round with an ugly double bogey on the 17th hole, that I knew probably put me over the cut line. My 82 in round 2 was one of the most disappointing rounds I have ever played.
The wait for 5 hours to see if I had made the cut was excruciating, and left me in limbo with my travel plans. As the weather continued to get worse, it was clear to me that I had a chance at 155 +13 to play two more rounds on this amazing course, and have a chance at the Silver Medal, and an exemption into the 2018 event at THE OLD COURSE.
My best pal and best ball partner Chip Lutz, is not only a fine golfer, but a fine gentleman. He has a golf resume that extends to only a few elite players. He has won the British Senior Amateur 3 times, the Silver Medal in the Senior Open 4 times now, won the USGA Senior Amateur in 2015, and has won just about every event on the calendar. He a guy that you’ll remember if you meet him, he reminds me of everything that is good about the game of golf. He is a fierce competitor, and of course wants to beat me)
I had dinner with Chip after the first round, at a very good Indian place down the road. He was pretty unhappy with his opening 77, which in the bigger picture was not a bad round at all. My short lived 4 shot lead was dashed into pieces after my horrific 82 on day two, followed by his brilliant 74, an 8 shot swing, now leaving me 4 shots back.
Stay tuned in my next post for what happens over the weekend in the chase for the Silver Medal, and more about the amazing people I met while in Wales. Also I’ll tell you who are the friendliest pro’s on the Champions tour, and who are NOT)