Saturday, February 27, 2016

Charlotte Area Golfweek Amateur Tournament - 2/27/2016 - Edgewater Golf Club (Lancaster, SC)

I'm now in my second season with the Golfweek Amateur Tour.  Last season was a learning experience and gave me a solid idea of how things work out, what to expect at each tournament, approximately what winning scores will be and most importantly, that I need to focus on each and every shot because a single shot can be the difference between finishing in the money and finishing at the bottom of the pack.  

Last year, at this same tournament, I had a pretty bad week.  Leading up to the tournament this year, I was feeling pretty good.  I had focused on some different things during practice, and I was ready to get going.  Unfortunately, as confident as I was leading up to my first hole... things fell apart.  I struggled for the second consecutive tournament.  The results are below.

Hole #16 - Par 4 - 370 Yards

Things went south from the first swing.  I teed up... aimed towards the right-center of the fairway... and pulled the ball horribly, sending it into the woods.  I hit a provisional into the center of the fairway, and we never found my first, so I played the provisional ball.  I had about 150 to the pin from the fairway, and I topped my 7 iron.  That left me around 70 yards.  I hit a sand wedge that found the green, but left me about 42 feet from the hole.  I needed 3 putts from there to open with an 8, adjusted to a triple bogey.

Hole #17 - Par 5 - 429 Yards

This is easily one of the shortest par 5 holes I've ever played.  I wanted to make up for a poor start, so I was trying to cut the corner of the dogleg.  I didn't hit the ball well at all and I watched as it flopped into the fairway bunker protecting that corner.  I tried to punch a 5 iron out of there up the fairway, but I sliced across it and it went flying across the fairway towards the woods.  I was able to find the ball, but it wasn't in a good position.  I was able to advance it back towards the fairway with a 4 iron punch out.  I had about 90 yards left, up the hill but my wedge from the rough was right the entire time.  I then proceeded to play ping-pong with the ball sending it over the green, duffing a chip and then finally chipping on to around 18 feet.  2 putts from there for a second consecutive quad adjusted to a triple by club rules.  

Hole #18 - Par 4 - 378 Yards

This should be an easy hole.  It's fairly open and not overly long.  My drive was pushed and stayed out right, finishing up in the woods.  The ball was laying almost against a tree trunk, and my only option was to try and slap it out into play.  I almost whiffed, but it trickled away from the trunk, giving me a shot to at least punch it into the fairway, which I did.  My pitching wedge was thin, which meant it went long, and left me over the green.  I pitched on from there to about 37 feet and needed 2 putts for a triple bogey, which put me at +9 through just 3 holes.  

Hole #1 - Par 4 - 315 Yards

I was finally able to hit a serviceable drive.  It was just off the fairway, but left me about 70 yards to the hole, downhill.  I hit a soft little gap wedge, but it landed in the fringe and stuck there.  I putted from the fringe to about 5 feet, never really scaring the hole.  From there, I was able to make the putt for a par.  Hopefully that would settle me down.

Hole #2 - Par 5 - 509 Yards

Another wide open fairway... another shot I pulled so far right it was unimaginable.  My ball hit a tree about 120 yards up and then kicked back about 50 yards, into the woods.  We were able to find it, but I had no play but to hack it out, which I did with a 7 iron into the rough across the fairway.  From there, I pulled a 4 iron into the rough up the left side.  Unfortunately, it settled into a patch of dirt, leaving me a very bare lie and about 220 to the hole.  I couldn't get there, so I was just trying to advance it into a good spot, and I hit a decent 4 iron that left me in the fairway.  From there, a sand wedge to about 18 feet and 2 putts gave me a double bogey.  Not what I was looking for, but better than a triple!

Hole #3 - Par 4 - 353 Yards

I finally hit a fairway!  This is a very tight hole with trouble on both sides.  Everybody in my group laid back with a hybrid or iron, but I was angry at how I had been playing, so I took my driver and hit probably the best drive of the year for me so far.  It split the fairway and left me 132 yards to the flag.  With the wind in my face, this was going to be a perfect 8 iron.  I had been practicing almost all week with the 8 iron, so I felt very comfortable with that.  I then lifted up, hit the ball thin and watched as it flew over the green into the lake beyond the hole.  I hit a fat pitch from where I dropped... then got the ball on to the green... and somehow managed to sink a 26 foot putt for a double bogey. 

Hole #4 - Par 3 - 173 Yards

This hole was playing into a stiff breeze, and it's slightly uphill.  I think the flag was 166 yards from the tee, but uphill and into the wind, it was playing more like 180 yards.  I elected to hit a 5 iron after watching one of my playing competitors come up short.  I didn't hit the purest shot, but it worked out very well.  I watched it fade into the pin and stop about 5 feet from the hole.  I made the putt for my first competition birdie of 2016.  I also later found out that my shot won the closest-to-the-pin on that hole, earning me a $25 gift card!

Hole #5 - Par 4 - 381 Yards

I hit an extremely poor tee shot on this hole and I got lucky with it.  I was aiming up the right side (playing for my pull) and I hit a low, running shot that was cutting towards the woods.  It hit the fairway bunker and killed all the speed.  When I got up to the bunker, I realized that my ball was just outside the bunker on the front lip.  This left me with no stance, so all I could do was try and advance it forward a bit.  I got it to go about 3 yards, and left it in the rough.  With about 160 yards to go, I hit a 6 iron that stopped on the right side of the green.  My par attempt from 27 feet was low the entire time, but I was able to tap in from 5 feet for a bogey.  Not a horrible result considering it looked like I was headed for another lost ball off the tee.

Hole #6 - Par 5 - 550 Yards

I actually hit a pretty decent shot from the tee here.  It got out there, but finished just off the fairway on the right side.  I was way too far away to even think about anything, so I just wanted to put myself in position.  I hit a 4 iron a bit thin and nervously watched as it skirted the fairway bunker up the left side.  It finished up in the fairway about 135 yards from the hole.  Again, a perfect 8 iron for me... and again, I managed to mess it up.  I hit it solidly, but the ball stayed out right.  I thought I was going to be on the green, but I found out the green was smaller than I had anticipated, so I was over the back-right side.  I pitched to about 15 feet and missed the par attempt by an inch or so and had to settle for another tap in bogey.

Hole #7 - Par 4 - 355 Yards

This hole was ugly from the start.  I tried to play smart and hit an iron off the tee.  It ended up ballooning towards the woods on the right side.  I found the ball in a very muddy lie and tried to hack it to the fairway, but I was only able to advance it a small distance.  My next swing was another punch out attempt, but the ball ran through the fairway into a horrible lie on the left side.  I had about 140 yards to the hole over a pond with the ball above my feet, but on a downhill slope.  I topped the ball into the pond and elected to pick up and take my triple bogey max.  

Hole #8 - Par 3 - 144 Yards

I got exceptionally luck here again.  I pulled an 8 iron WAY left... it hit the trees a good 20 yards into the woods... yet somehow, the ball kicked out just left of the green.  I was left with a good look at the pin.  My chip from the rough there checked up way quicker than I thought it would, leaving me a 9 foot attempt for par.  I ran that putt over the lip and then tapped in from 2 feet for a bogey.

Hole #9 - Par 4 - 281 Yards

I thought I hit a good tee shot here, but it never faded back for me.  Instead, it ran into the fairway bunker up the left side.  I caught the sand first and advanced the ball into the fairway, but still left myself a tough pitch to the hole over a greenside trap.  My pitch was long and settled into the fringe.  I tried to putt through the fringe, but I should have chipped the ball instead.  The ball never got close, leaving me a 13 foot attempt for bogey, which I missed.  I closed out my front side with a tap in double.

** NOTE - Despite having started so poorly, I was able to turn it around (for the most part) on the front nine.  I finished with a 47 (+11) including a triple and 3 doubles.  I had hopes that I could finish the last 6 holes strong and at least post something in the high 90s.  

Hole #10 - Par 4 - 389 Yards

For only the second time all day, I found a fairway.  My drive didn't go far because it was playing into a strong wind, finishing up less than 200 yards from the tee, but it was in the fairway, so I was happy.  It left me a long, uphill shot to the green.  I decided on a hybrid, which turned out to be a good choice.  Although the ball didn't reach the green, I left it in the neck short of the green.  I chipped up with a 9 iron to about 7 feet, but my par putt didn't fall.  I tapped in for a bogey, which was not a horrible score on this hole.

Hole #11 - Par 3 - 178 Yards

Ugh.  I was so concerned about the bunker to the right of the green on this hole that I bailed out WAY left.  I then bladed a pitch that ran over the green into that trap anyway.  I popped the ball out of the trap but it stuck in the fringe.  I putted from there to 8 feet and never really came close, forcing a tap in for a triple bogey.

Hole #12 - Par 4 - 317 Yards

The triple train kept rolling from there.  My drive here was crushed, but pulled.  Luckily, I found it up the left side in the rough.  I had what should have been a fairly easy shot from there, but I sh**ked my sand wedge into the bunker fronting the green.  I then tried to pitch it out of there but managed to double-hit the ball, incurring a penalty and then picked up out of frustration, not realizing that I could have made a double.  Instead, I had to write down a triple on my card again.

Hole #13 - Par 5 - 506 Yards

A weak drive into the woods up the right side was followed by a poor attempt to pitch it out.  It got caught in the rough up the right side.  I then tried to hit a 7 iron up over the trees back to the fairway, but it caught them and dropped into a crappy lie.  My 5 iron advanced the ball into the fairway where I was left with about 35 yards.  My pitch stopped 15 feet shy of the hole and I needed 2 putts from there for a double bogey.

Hole #14 - Par 4 - 348 Yards

I wanted to be done at this point.  It was well on the way to a 6 hour round... I was playing poorly... and I was embarrassing myself again.  This should have been an easy hole, but I made a mess of it.  My drive was right and landed in some trees.  I had no shot at anything but to pitch it out into the fairway, so I did that.  I was left with about a 75 yard shot, which I sh**ked again, into another bunker.  My shot from the trap was long... so I chipped from the rough to about 9 feet.  A horrible attempt from there was well short and I made the 3 footer for a triple bogey.

Hole #15 - Par 3 - 211 Yards

Luckily, this was the last hole and it was overly quickly for me.  I took 2 attempts from the tee with a 4 iron... both of which were yanked dead left into the trees never to be seen again.  I elected to pick up at that point and card a triple to close out my round.  I watched my playing competitors finish up the hole and I played the part of caddie.  I was done and I couldn't have made it back to my car quick enough.

** NOTE - Although I posted a semi-respectable 47 on the front side, I finished with a hideous 60 on the back for a total of 107.  My frustration was becoming evident to my playing competitors as one asked if I had been playing the same in off-schedule rounds.  I laughed and told him that I hadn't been able to play much outside of the club, but it was clear that I was going to need to get some practice in.  

I've now got 2 weeks until our next tournament round.  I'll be looking for a 'key' of some sort to get me back on track and hopefully back into the thick of things with the tour.  If I don't find something quick... I will certainly not qualify for the National Championship in October, which is a very large goal of mine.  

Until next time!

Round Stats

  * Score - 110 (AGT Score of 107)

  * Course Handicap - 20
  * Net Score - 90 (AGT Net Score of 87)
  * Penalty Strokes - 6
  * Putts - 34
  * Fairways - 2 of 14
  * Greens in Regulation - 1 of 18
  * Up and Downs - 1 of 5
  * Sand Saves - 0 of 3

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