Sunday, April 26, 2015

Major Tournament Review - 4/25/2015 & 4/26/2015 - Stonebridge Golf Club (Monroe, NC)

This past weekend, we completed our first 'major' of the season (The Stonebridge Masters)... a 2 day tournament at a course I'd never been to before.  I'm not going to do a hole-by-hole breakdown because recapping 36 holes is a lot.  Instead, I'm going to post my day-by-day scorecards in the table below, followed by some highlights and lowlights from each day.

Day 1573553755458 (7)65568 (6)58 (6)556 (51)101 (96)
Day 25535555544245659 (8)345344 (43)86 (85)

Round 1 Game Golf Link - Stonebridge Golf Club

Round 1 Scorecard

Day 1 was played in a steady, soaking rain.  Even with rain gloves, the club slipped in my hands a few times, but it didn't really cost me much.  My worst holes were at the beginning of my round (I started on the 15th tee).  

Round 1 Highlights

  - There weren't too many 'highlights' for me on Day 1.  I had some lucky breaks here and there, but nothing really stood out except for my tee shot on the 6th hole.  I hit an 8 iron that played a perfect little fade and settled 3 feet from the cup.  This 'highlight' turned into a 'lowlight' quickly, though.  As I was standing over the putt, the rain was pouring off the bill of my cap directly onto the ball.  I blasted the ball through the break, 4 feet by.  My 3 foot birdie attempt turned into a 4 foot par attempt, which I managed to make.  

Round 1 Lowlights

  - My first hole, the 15th, is a fairly straight forward par 3.  I topped my tee shot with a 6 iron and it rolled into the left rough.  From there, I shanked my 56 degree wedge about 70 degrees to the right and into a pond.  I dropped and then shanked another into the greenside trap.  It took 2 swings to get it out of there and then I two-putted for a snowman on my opening hole.  Luckily, because of club rules, it was 'only' a triple bogey.

  - My third hole, the 17th, was set up in a not-so-fun way.  It was playing 196 to the pin with a carry of about 185 over water.  My hybrid didn't clear the water... so I dropped and hit an 8 iron over the green.  I didn't know it, but the pond ran around that side of the green too, so I had to drop from there and I hit a poor pitch and then a poor chip.  2 putts later and I'd carded ANOTHER snowman on a par 3, which was, again, dropped to a triple bogey.

  - Heading back around the turn after the front side, I got to the 10th and put my tee shot into the pond that runs along the right side of the hole.  My 4 iron after my drop did the same thing.  I then put my 4 iron into the fairway... wedged onto the green and took 2 putts for my third 8 of the day... this one netted down to a 7.  

Round 1 Recap

Through the first round, I wasn't feeling all that great.  The leader had posted an 88, so I was a full 8 shots back.  The weather was supposed to be better on the second day, but I was wiped out from dealing with the rain on the first day.  I managed to lose 7 balls that round, so when I got home on Saturday night, I spent some time with my wife and kids... and then went to bed thinking about what my goals would be for the next day.  

Round 1 Stats

  • Score - 101 (Club Adjusted to 96)
  • Penalty Strokes - 6
  • Putts - 36
  • Fairways - 4 of 14
  • Greens in Regulation - 4 of 18
  • Up and Downs - 1 of 6
  • Sand Saves - 0 of 1

Day 2 was much better, in terms of weather and my game.  It started out overcast, cloudy and chilly, but by about our 7th hole... the sun peeked through and the rest of the day was beautiful.  Just like on Day 1, I started on the 15th tee.  

Round 2 Highlights

  - I hit a poor 5 iron with my first swing and left myself about 30 yards short.  From there, I hit a good pitch to about 2 feet and made my par.  It was nice to get out of the gates with an up and down as opposed to how I had started the day before.  I continued that on the next hole with another up and down from about 20 yards away and right of the green.  

  - After a par-par start, I made a double on the 17th (see lowlights below).  I got both strokes back on the next hole, however!  After a solid drive put me in the right-center side of the fairway, it left me about 205 to the pin and about 215 to the center of the green.  The pin was tucked on the front-right corner of the green, just behind a pond.  I hit a perfect fade with my 18 degree hybrid that hit the front of the green, scooted about 10 feet forward and settled 9 feet from the hole.  It left me with an uphill, slightly left-to-right putt that never left the perfect line and dropped for an eagle!  

       -- Unfortunately, someone else (a Champ Flight player) made an eagle on that hole, so I didn't win a Super Skin... but I did win the B, C, D Flights Skin of $85 for that hole, which just about paid for half of the tournament, so... that was nice.

  - One of my goals for the last several years (view it here) has been to FINALLY have a round with fewer than 30 putts.  The lowest I've had since I started keeping stats in 2004 has been 31 putts, which has happened a few times.  This round... things just clicked for me.  I made several big putts for par and/or bogey, including a stretch between my first hole (#15) and my ninth hole (#5).  That stretch of 9 holes, I played in 39 strokes (+3) which, I cannot confirm, but I'm PRETTY sure is the best for a 9 hole stretch for me.  

Round 2 Lowlights

  - On the 3rd tee for me (#17), the tee was well forward from where it was the previous day.  It was a perfect 6 iron distance for me, but I hit one thin that skipped across the water and ended up about 3 feet short of skipping ALL the way across.  I hit another from the tee and put it about 30 feet from the pin, needing 2 putts from there for a double bogey to erase a par-par start.

  - On my 16th hole of the day (#12), the drive played right into the wind.  My ball got way up in the air and I barely eclipsed 200 yards for the drive.  That left me about 175 to the middle of the green.  I didn't really feel comfortable over the ball, but I still took the swing and I flared it WAY out to the right and short.  It landed in a hazard that crossed the green and, coupled with a poor pitch after my drop, led to a double bogey.

  - On my final hole (#14), I was thinking about trying to crush a drive over the hill and trying to leave myself in position to get as close to the green as possible with my second shot.  Unfortunately, I yanked my tee shot AND my provisional well left.  I was set to just take a triple-bogey max, but we managed to find my provisional in some thick weeds in the woods.  It took me 2 swings to chunk it out into the fairway.  A poor swing from there left me about 140 to the hole but I killed an 8 iron over the green.  I chipped on and sank the putt for a 9, which was adjusted to a triple bogey anyway.  

Round 2 Recap

Clearly, beginning the day, I felt like I had no shot.  I started the day 8 back, and I went in with the goal of putting myself in the Top 6 by the end of the day.  I was 4 strokes behind the guys tied for 5th, so I figured a round somewhere around 88 would give me a shot to sneak in.  What I didn't know is that the lead group faltered pretty badly on Day 2.  Looking back now, standing on my final tee, if I'd made par... I would have won outright.  A bogey would have put me in a three-way playoff.  I obviously didn't know that, and I played that final hole like an idiot... but it's a lesson for the future.  

Overall, I finished in a four-way tie for 3rd place, posting a 2 day total of 181.  The winner and runner-up tied with a 2 day total of 179 (with the runner-up shooting 100 - 79 over the 2 days).  I believe, based on what I was told, on the 1st playoff hole, it was won with a par to a bogey.  I did finish 'out of the money' this time because of my double bogey on the 12th hole (handicap #2)... so I missed the money by a single place.

I can't complain, though.  I had no illusions of placing after my poor start.

Round 2 Stats

  • Score - 86 (Club Adjusted to 85)
  • Penalty Strokes - 3
  • Putts - 29
  • Fairways - 7 of 14
  • Greens in Regulation - 3 of 18
  • Up and Downs - 6 of 12
  • Sand Saves - 0 of 0

Tournament Stats

  • Score - 187 (Club Adjusted to 181)
  • Penalty Strokes - 9
  • Putts - 65
  • Fairways - 11 of 28
  • Greens in Regulation - 7 of 36
  • Up and Downs - 7 of 18
  • Sand Saves - 0 of 1

We're now heading away on a 9 night vacation beginning Thursday.  My next tournament round is scheduled for May 16th, so I'll have just less than a week from the time I return to prepare myself for that one.

Until then...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Round Review - 4/22/2015 - Tega Cay Golf Club - Cove Course (Fort Mill, SC)

Well... other than a quick stop one afternoon to hit a bucket of balls and spend a few minutes on chipping/pitching practice... I haven't really touched my clubs since the last round.  We're going on vacation in just over a week, and work has been keeping me moving... so, golf hasn't been at the forefront of my mind.  Plus, the weather has been pretty crappy down this way, so that hasn't helped matters.

We've got a 2 day tournament coming up this weekend, and the weather isn't looking overly promising for that either... but I wanted to get out and at least swing my clubs a few times before I ran out of time.

I decided to head to my standby course, Tega Cay, and play the Cove course again.  Unfortunately, it was kind of backed up and I've been dealing with a stomach thing the last day or so.  This resulted in me only getting through 6 of the 9 holes I intended to play.  I didn't have any time to warm up as they threw me out between groups (instead of pairing me with someone).

In front of me, I had a walking single with a caddie.  Different... especially for this course.  He was, ummm... thorough, I guess you could say.  There was a group of 2 in front of him, but they were ALWAYS well ahead of him, yet this guy waited until they were on the greens on the par 4 holes before teeing off... and then he 'poked' it about 220 yards off the tee.  It was agonizing.

Anyway... like I said, I played 6 holes before I bailed to head to the clubhouse to use the facilities.  


The recap is below.

Hole #1 - Par 3 - 186 Yards

The wind was in my face, and the tee was up slightly.  Like I mentioned, I didn't have any warm up time... so I probably should have taken the 4 iron instead of the 5 iron, but... it didn't matter because I flared it way right and short of the green.  I was beneath a tree and the pin was directly behind a bunker.  I needed to get under the tree... over the bunker and then stop.  I didn't even execute the first part, lifting it straight into the tree where it dropped down in front of me maybe 5 yards.  I chipped on from there and left the 13 foot putt for bogey short.  I tapped that in for a double bogey start.

That was kinda what I was expecting, so I wasn't feeling awful about it.  I didn't have a specific target in mind for a score... more than anything, I just wanted to get out and swing a little bit.

Hole #2 - Par 5 - 448 Yards

I had gone to Golfsmith to demo the Ping G30 driver and, while I was there, the guy who was helping me pointed out that I needed to swing more at the inside of the ball... so, when I've been in my living room taking smooth swings, that's what I've been working on.  On this tee, I tried that with my 4 iron and, again, I wiped it way right and it sliced into oblivion, out of bounds.  Next swing was much better... my typical fade into the middle of the fairway.  An extremely heavy and pulled 6 iron put me in the 'rough' which was just kind of a muddy/bare area down the left side.  I tried to keep a 5 iron from there low, but it came up well short.  A bad pitch ended up just off the front of the green and I putted on to about 9 feet.  I couldn't make that and settled for a two-putt quadruple bogey.  

Again... just trying to swing the clubs, but that was frustrating.  

Hole #3 - Par 4 - 428 Yards

I got to swing the driver here, but it was into a fairly stiff wind.  I didn't measure it, and I haven't loaded the round into Game Golf because I didn't complete it, so I'd estimate that if it went 215 yards, I was lucky.  Still... it finished just off the right side of the fairway and left me about another 215 to the pin.  My 2 hybrid was pushed right of the green and ended up on a pile of leaves that had been carried out of the woods with all the rain we'd had recently.  I pretty much popped that ball up and moved it about 10 yards.  My pitch over the bunker caught a piece of the green, but then I left a putt from 24 feet about 10 feet short and needed 3 putts for a triple bogey.

Now I was getting agitated.  I can usually get into a groove after a hole or so... but I hadn't really made a good swing yet (except for the 2nd tee shot on the 2nd hole).

Hole #4 - Par 4 - 376 Yards

I hate this hole.  I hate this hole.  I hate this hole.  The shape of the hole doesn't give me much of a shot... and I hadn't really hit my 3 wood well all season, but I decided it was time to start taking some swings with it.  The first ball was hit well, but tugged a little bit.  I never saw it come down and never heard it hit anything, so I hit a provisional.  This one was on a rope... but it didn't turn for me (I usually either pull or hit a small draw with my 3 wood) and ended up in the rough along the right side.  I found my original in the fairway and had about 170 to the pin.  A fat 5 iron came up well short.  My chip hit the front of the green but left me with a 20 foot putt for par which I left short.  I made the 5 footer for bogey.

Not a horrible tee shot... and even though the 5 iron was heavy, it was on line.  I felt slightly better... but my stomach was beginning to feel not-so-well.

Hole #5 - Par 4 - 310 Yards

Another 3 wood that I ripped, but I pulled it way left and lost it.  I had the maintenance crew up off the fairway waiting on me, so I decided to just drop a ball about 115 from the hole in the fairway.  It got uglier than I care to describe from there.  I carded a 10... and that about sums it up.  By this time... my stomach was screaming at me to get off the course, but I was hoping to be able to finish.  Unfortunately, the guy in front of me was slowing me WAY down.

Hole #6 - Par 4 - 312 Yards

I waited on this hole until they reached the greenside bunker and then I took a big swing with the wind at my back.  The ball was tugged JUST a little bit, but once it clears the tree on the left side, if it's down the left, you can't see the ball drop.  I never saw it drop and when I got up to where the ball SHOULD have landed... I didn't see it anywhere.  Once again... I just dropped a ball.  This one was in the rough about 55 yards from the green.  I hit a thin pitch just off the back side of the green.  I putted from there to about 7 feet and missed that before tapping in for another triple bogey.

I made my way to the next tee... but the guy in front of me hadn't even teed off yet... so I pulled my cart around and made a beeline for the clubhouse.  

I had already taken 42 strokes over 6 holes... so I don't even want to speculate on what my final total would have been.  I'll just say that, if I'd have broken 60, it would have been a good thing.  

I have 2 busy work days coming up for the rest of this week, and I'll be keeping a watchful eye on the weather.  I don't typically play any worse than usual in the rain... but I don't enjoy the experience, so I'm hoping it somehow gives us a break each day.  As it is, with it being a 2 day tournament worth double the points and double the winnings, it's going to be a slow go.  The fact that it's very likely to be cart path only will make it even slower.  I'm anticipating 6+ hours each day.

Until then...