Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tournament Review - 5/26/2015 - The Peninsula Club (Cornelius, NC)

My last round was 10 days before this tournament.  I struggled (immensely) with my driver, having suddenly developed a hook after playing a fade for nearly my entire golfing life.  Unfortunately, I didn't have much time between then and this round to get to the range to try and either figure out what I was doing differently, or learn to control the hook and turn it into a playable draw.  I did, however, get to the course early enough that I had some time on the practice range there and, after playing with my stance and my grip a little... I seemed to have it somewhat under control.  

Unfortunately... the range and the course are two different things and, once I got onto the course... the hook returned.  Luckily, for much of the round... I got big-time breaks and the majority of my tee shots at least stayed in play and allowed me to advance the ball.  If you've ever seen the Travelers Insurance commercial with the dog pulling the golf ball out of trouble... it kind of went like that for me for awhile.  But, as we all know... the Golf Gods can give, and the Golf Gods can take.  In the end... it all kind of evened out for me.

As always, the details are all below.

Hole #16 - Par 3 - 198 Yards

As I had mentioned above, I was battling a hook with my driver.  Up until this tee shot, it hadn't appeared with any other club.  This was a long shot, playing into the wind, but downhill.  A gorgeous hole, to be honest... but not the easiest to start a day out on.  My 4 iron off the tee started just left of the flag (where I had aimed it), but instead of fading back like it would usually do... it began to turn left and ended up in the woods to the left of the green.  I hit a provisional that was on line but just short of the green, but it wasn't necessary as my ball was found and I had a decent shot to the green.  I did have to go under some trees and over a bunker, but I managed to get lucky and the ball hit the rough just over the bunker and then fell into the fringe.  I putted on from there to about 6 feet and made that putt to start with a bogey.

16th Hole

Hole #17 - Par 4 - 307 Yards

This was a very short hole with Lake Norman running across the tee and down the entire left side of the hole.  Of course, I wasn't ready to hit my driver, so I decided to just take my 4 iron and try and get it up into the fairway.  I didn't hit it well, and it was a slight draw, so... instead of finding the fairway, I found the rough down the left side.  There was a tree directly in line with my ball and the pin, and there was no way to avoid it... so I hoped to be able to hit it up and over the right side of that tree, but I managed to clip a few branches and my pitching wedge advanced maybe 40 yards, leaving me a shot from about 75 yards to a pin tucked behind a bunker.  I flew it to the pin, but it released and ran to the back of the green.  I needed two putts from about 45 feet for another bogey.

Hole #18 - Par 5 - 442 Yards

I actually couldn't wait to play this hole.  How often do you get to play a par 5 under 450 yards?  As short as the hole is, there was no real 'easy' route to the green.  I decided to use my driver here and, as expected, I turned it over and hooked it into the trees.  We found it, but I didn't have much of a shot at advancing it, so I punched it back out into the fairway and left myself about 150 yards to the middle of the green.  I made a poor swing with a 7 iron from there and, although the ball started at the flag, it ended up well right of the green.  I had what appeared to be a fairly easy up-and-down attempt, but my ball caught the slope on the green and ran completely off and found its way into the water.  I had to drop from there, and then putted on to about 10 feet.  Luckily, I made that to avoid a max score, but I still had to settle for an ugly double bogey.

18th Green

Hole #1 - Par 5 - 549 Yards

By comparison, this par 5 played 107 yards longer than the previous hole.  Once again, I managed to hook my drive, but it stayed in bounds, bordering the driving range.  I didn't have a clear shot, so I tried to punch a 4 iron below a bush.  I didn't quite get through cleanly, but I was able to advance the ball into the fairway about 120 yards, leaving myself about 215 to the pin.  From there, I hit an ugly, low running hybrid that settled about 65 yards short in the left rough.  I had been practicing flop shots at the practice green, so I opened up my 56 degree wedge and tried to fly the ball back to the upper tier.  It came out perfectly and landed just about where I wanted.  I watched as the ball run up to the hole and disappeared for a birdie!  It's been quite awhile since the last time I holed out a shot like that, and I only have a few that I remember.  

One was my only hole-in-one back in 2010.  Another was at an executive course in 2009 (which is the last time I believe I holed out other than my ace).  And the only other one I remember, I still don't quite believe because I didn't see it... but it came back in the summer of 1998.  On the scorecard, it's listed as an eagle... but, to this day, I believe that the group in front of me was messing with me and put it in the hole.

Anyway... it was a nice feeling to watch the ball disappear like that, and it set me in motion for a decent front nine score.

Hole #2 - Par 4 - 419 Yards

On this hole, I thought I hit a really good drive.  I started it down the right side and drew it back towards the center of the fairway.  Unfortunately, the fairway tilted from right to left, so the ball ended up off the fairway in some thick rough.  Still, it was a good looking shot that measured at 263 yards and left me about 140 to the pin.  My 8 iron landed at the front of the green and then just kept running, all the way to the back of the green.  Ultimately, I needed three putts from 75 feet and I posted a not-so-satisfying bogey.

Hole #3 - Par 4 - 364 Yards

I didn't really pay attention to the hole layout, and didn't realize that I didn't need a driver.  Still... I hit the driver and hooked it well into the woods.  My provisional was in the center of the fairway (oddly, my provisional shots almost always seemed to find the fairway), but we found my original in the woods and I was able to punch out, almost sideways, back into the fairway.  From there, I hit a decent pitching wedge to the center of the green.  From 35 feet, I hit a decent putt and left myself about 4 feet, but then I completely choked on that putt, pulling it well left and then tapping in from about 2 feet for a double bogey.

Hole #4 - Par 3 - 152 Yards

Another very nice hole here.  I was the third to tee off on this hole and I had watched the previous shots both get caught by the wind and blown left of the pin.  I aimed at the pin with my 7 iron, figuring that my previous swing with that club resulted in a fade that would hold up against the wind... but at the last second, I chickened out and ended up pulling my shot long and left.  It hit just off the back of the green, but took the slope from there onto the green, leaving me a putt of about 60 feet.  I actually ran that putt by the hole about 9 feet, but made the putt coming back for par.

4th Hole

Hole #5 - Par 4 - 330 Yards

I kind of learned my lesson about playing the holes as they were intended after messing up the 3rd hole, so... I kept my driver in the bag and decided to use a 4 iron.  I figured a semi-decent shot would leave me about 150 to the center of the green... but, then I topped the ball and left it short of the fairway.  From there, my hybrid was way too high and had a draw on it that put it left of the green, behind a tree, with a bunker to carry.  I tried to punch it below the tree and over the bunker, but I ended up getting really lucky and the ball clipped a branch and it took all the speed off of it, knocking it just short of the green, over the bunker.  I putted from the fringe to about 5 feet and made that for an extremely lucky bogey.

Hole #6 - Par 4 - 374 Yards

Finally... a fairway!!!  This dogleg left played well to my current issues, so I aimed up the right side and hooked it around the corner.  It wasn't the longest drive in the world, but it left me a wedge into the green.  The pin was tucked on the right side, behind a bunker... and although I aimed at the pin, I tugged it a little and found the middle of the green.  Two putts from 28 feet for my par.

Hole #7 - Par 3 - 127 Yards

We found our way to the 7th hole which is quite possibly the most beautiful on the course.  With the pin up front, the hole was playing about 115 yards.  I planned to hit a pitching wedge to about 120 and let it come back off the slope.  It didn't quite get to the slope, but I ended up pin high and about 13 feet to the right of the hole.  The putt from there was slightly right-to-left and I drained it for my second birdie on the front side.

7th Hole

Hole #8 - Par 4 - 420 Yards

Having played the previous 4 holes in even par, I was starting to feel pretty good, perhaps foolishly.  My drive on this hole was a BIG hook.  This is a dogleg left hole, and I aimed well down the right, but still managed to hook my tee shot and my provisional.  I was all set to mark myself down for a triple bogey maximum score, but both balls were found and in play.  In fact, my original had a somewhat clear shot to the green from about 180 yards away.  From there, I hooked my 4 iron as well, but again, I got lucky and the ball kicked off the tree and into the rough short-right of the green.  I stuck my pitch from about 35 yards to 5 feet, and then I tugged the putt and it lipped out, so I tapped in for a bogey.  By this point, my playing partners were commenting on the insane amount of luck I was having and it kind of became a theme for the rest of the round, although... as I mentioned earlier, the shots staying in play were evened out by some really poor putting.

Hole #9 - Par 5 - 453 Yards

Just like the 18th hole... this was an extremely short par 5 that played over water.  My luck with trees kind of began to run out a little here.  My drive was dead straight, and because I aimed up the right side... it went out of bounds.  My provisional was smashed and ended up being a 300 yard drive (my furthest of the year to this point) and left me about 145 yards down the hill, over the lake to the green.  A dead pull with an 8 iron went straight through the tree in front of me and came down over the back of the green, in a bunker.  My shot out of there finished up about 20 feet from the hole, and then I three-putted from there for a triple bogey.

I stood on the 9th tee with a shot at posting a 39 for the front side, which would have been a career best.  Instead, I posted a 42, which... is still not horrible... but was quite disappointing.

Hole #10 - Par 5 - 510 Yards

Because of my straight tee shot on the previous hole, I wasn't really sure where to aim off this tee... so I set up just down the right side of the fairway... but I never felt comfortable and I completely topped one that dribbled out about 115 yards and sat down in a crappy lie in the rough.  My 3 wood from there (which I never should have hit) ended up in the left rough, leaving me around 230 to the hole.  Again, I tried a 3 wood from the rough (with a much better lie) and I pull-hooked it into the road.  I dropped, hit another 3 wood to the right side in the rough, pitched on to about 6 feet and made that for a double bogey.  I don't think I could have played the hole any uglier, and my confidence was shot at this point.  To make matters worse, it was about 88 degrees out and the sun didn't let up the entire round... so I was getting to the point where staying in it mentally and physically was getting tough, too.

Hole #11 - Par 4 - 359 Yards

My swing was getting lazy... my mind was wavering... and I just didn't have it anymore.  My tee shot was hooked left on a dogleg right.  My provisional did the same and made a horrible clanging noise.  I thought I hit a house, but it turned out to be a fence.  Both balls were in play... the original about 40 yards further up than the provisional.  I had a decent enough lie and enough room from the fence bordering the hole that I was able to get a pitching wedge on the ball and put it on the green, although it was miles away.  From just under 60 feet, I putted off the front of the green... then I putted back on to about 5 feet, yanked ANOTHER putt and then tapped in from 3 feet for a green-in-regulation double bogey.  

Hole #12 - Par 3 - 169 Yards

As far as par 3 holes go, this was pretty straight forward.  The only trouble was a few bunkers near the green, but the pin was dead-center and it was a 7 iron hole, at most, because it was downhill.  One of my playing partners hit a 7 iron that started just left of the pin, drew in beautifully, landed maybe 3 feet short of the hole, hit the pin halfway up and rode the pin down into the cup for a hole-in-one!  It was awesome and was the first I'd ever witnessed, not including my own.  

Of course, I was next to play and delusions of grandeur were racing in my mind as I tugged my 7 iron left of the green.  I got a good kick, though, and it settled in the rough just left of the green.  I hit a poor chip from there, leaving myself about 13 feet... and from there, I three putted... again.  A double bogey on quite possibly one of the easiest holes on the course.  Ugh...

Hole #13 - Par 4 - 374 Yards

By now, I knew I was out of the running unless I made something special happen on the last 3 holes.  I got off to a good start, trying to make something happen, as I hit only my second fairway of the day.  A pretty draw that found the fairway and left me 130 or so to the pin.  I hit a 9 iron from there that was right of the pin, but I hit a mound at the back of the green and with the spin, it kicked back to about 6 feet.  The birdie putt was downhill and a little left-to-right, but it hit the left side of the cup and spun out.  I tapped in for a par, but I felt defeated by missing that putt.  

Hole #14 - Par 4 - 423 Yards

And then it was all over.  My drive off this tee was blown a good 50 yards out of bounds to the right.  A complete mishit that started right and then sliced further right.  My provisional found the left rough and I had an awkward downhill stance that I barely managed to get my 9 iron on the ball.  I came up well short of the green, pitched on to about 20 feet and after just missing that putt, I lipped out ANOTHER short one and tapped in for a quadruple bogey, which would be netted down to a triple bogey maximum.

Hole #15 - Par 4 - 397 Yards

The final hole of the day... also the number one handicap hole.  A slight dogleg right, which was not going to set up well for me.  I did manage to hit a slight fade, but as I started it down the right side... it missed the fairway and settled into some wood chips between 2 trees.  I had a shot, but there was no way I was going to get to the green.  I punched a 6 iron out of those trees and it came up just shy of the green in the rough.  From there, I thought I actually hit a decent chip, but the ball released all the way to the back of the green.  So I was about 12 feet away, which wasn't horrible.  My putt was dead on line and at the last second, it dove to the right and hit the lip.  Just as I had been doing all day, the 5 foot putt coming back was tugged and missed, so I tapped in for a closing double bogey.

All in all... it wasn't the worst day on the course.  I got a lot of good breaks, but... considering I had posted a 42 on the front, I certainly did not expect to shoot a 94 on the day.  I've now made a birdie-or-better in three consecutive rounds, which is nice considering I hadn't made one up until April 26th.  

I ended up finishing in a tie for 9th place (out of 23 C Flight entrants) and earning an additional 120 points, bringing my total to 1084 points for the season.  That has me in 10th place (out of 41), which is the mark to make it to the year end championship at Hilton Head in October.  

I have 10 days between the date of this tournament and my next one.  During that time, I'll have to work on figuring out my problems off the tee, and hopefully I'll be able to compete next Saturday.  

Until then... 

Round Stats

  • Score - 94 (Club Adjusted to 93)
  • Penalty Strokes - 4
  • Putts - 37
  • Fairways - 2 of 14
  • Greens in Regulation - 6 of 18
  • Up and Downs - 1 of 6
  • Sand Saves - 0 of 1

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