Sunday, June 26, 2016

Charlotte Area Golfweek Amateur Tour Major Tournament Review - 6/25/16 & 6/26/16 - The Club at Irish Creek (Kannapolis, NC)

Scorecard and Game Golf Links Below

Let's see... this is now the 7th multi-day tournament I've played in with the Golfweek Amateur Tour (including the three-day National Championship).  In 5 of the previous 6 events, I've shot myself out of contention on the first day.  I was bound and determined to not let that happen this time around... especially seeing as I was playing with the points leaders because I was in the top 4 heading into this tournament.

Spoiler alert!!!

I shot myself out of contention on the first day again.

I don't know why I continue to play so poorly during these mutli-day events, but it's becoming a habit now... and a habit that is progressively becoming more annoying as it continues.

As with other major reviews... I'm not going to do a hole-by-hole recap.  Instead, I'm going to break it down into highlights and lowlights.  This saves me the trouble of remembering exactly how many times throughout the 2 days I sucked... and saves you the trouble of reading about how many times throughout the 2 days I sucked.

One thing I wanted to make note of is the fact that, at the last minute, our tees were changed.  In the previous rounds played there last year, we had always played from the blue tees (6489 yards).  On Friday afternoon, when pairings were posted, it was switched and we were now playing the white tees (5867 yards).  From a scoring standpoint, this would usually only help me out... but from a competitive standpoint, it hurt because that brought a lot of the 'short but consistent' players into things.  In a 24 player field, having a length advantage was something that I was counting on a little bit... but, with the change, I knew that brought every player from the field into contention.

Anyway... it's all below for you to review as you wish.

Day 1563536555436667547635093
Day 2555475534437568545534891

I arrived on Saturday full of hope.  I was to the course more than 2 hours early.  I spent a good 40 minutes on the range getting things 'worked out' and then spent another 30 minutes on the putting green.  In between, I spent some time relaxing and chatting with some of my fellow competitors.  By the time we were set to tee off... I was ready to go.  I was in group 13A, which meant I opened with back-to-back par 5 holes.  By 1pm... the first tee shot was in the air and we were off.

Round 1 Highlights

- There wasn't a whole lot to pick from as far as highlights are concerned, but there were a few things that stood out.  On #18, I hit a near perfect 7 iron from the tee that settled about 18 feet behind the hole.  Unfortunately, this began a series of putts that I would leave short throughout the tournament, so I wasn't able to convert the birdie, but I did leave myself a tap-in par.

- On #5, which is a downhill par 4, I hit a laser of a drive that finished about 2 yards from the front of the green.  My eagle attempt from off the green ran past the hole, but I was able to make the 7 footer coming back for my first (and only) birdie of the tournament.

- For my final highlight... my tee shot on #7 was an absolute bomb.  After missing a simple 4 footer for par on the previous hole, I was a bit agitated and took it out on the ball.  It took off like a rocket from the tee and ended up 305 yards from where it began.  Unfortunately, I still found a way to bogey the hole with an ugly three-putt, but... the tee shot was by far my best of the weekend.

    Round 1 Lowlights

    - Things started out ugly for me as I pulled my opening tee shot on the 13th hole, failed to execute a hook around a tree and ultimately ended up with an opening double bogey after a series of mistakes.

    - On #16, I hit a pretty poor 4 iron from the tee and then hit an equally poor (fat) 4 iron from the fairway which found a downhill lie in the bunker to the left of the green.  It took 2 swings to get the ball out of that bunker and another from the rough just to find the green.  This all led to a triple bogey on the most difficult hole on the course.

    - I tried to play smart on #2, so I hit a 4 iron from the tee.  It started out perfect and then caught a little bit of a breeze that pushed it slightly to the right.  If I had hit it just 4 feet longer, it would have been fine.  Instead, it caught the bunker.  It took me 2 swings to get it out from there as my 7 iron hit the lip and came back in... so I blasted out with a wedge instead.  All this led to a double bogey on one of the easier holes on the course.

    - Things were pretty good from there until the 10th tee.  I had a few ups and downs, but for the most part... I was happy with how I was playing.  On the final 3 holes (#10, #11 and #12)... I made mistake after mistake after mistake.  A decent tee shot on #10 put me in good position.  I slightly tugged a 5 iron and then pitched on... but a three-putt from 16 feet led to a double.  I pulled my tee shot on #11, hacked out, hit a poor 8 iron and then blasted out of a greenside bunker and couldn't salvage bogey from 16 feet, so I settled for another double.  On #12, which was my final hole, I tugged my tee shot, hit a tree trying to punch out, finally did get the ball out, put it on to 17 feet and took 2 putts from there to close with a third consecutive triple.

      Round 1 Recap

      So... things began poorly for me in the opening stretch of holes as I played the first 5 holes in +8 (including a triple and 2 doubles).  In the middle part of my round, I really started to get things moving in the right direction as I played the next 8 holes in +5 (including a birdie and 2 pars).  The real problem was at the end of my round.  I played holes 8 through 12 in double - bogey - double - double - double to finish +9 over my final 5 holes of my round.

      Going into the round, I pretty much knew that I needed to 'survive' 13 through 17 and I needed to play pretty solid on 18 through 8.  I was up in the air about the last 4 holes (9 through 12) because they're not overly difficult... but there is plenty of trouble to find.  Unfortunately, I made the much more difficult than they actually were and that killed my round.

      I shot a 93 with no penalties... and the leader was at 81.  Going into the round, my goal was to be right around 86.  I was just about on track to do that until my struggles at the end of the round.  I knew that I had no shot going into round 2 but I was still hopeful that I could turn things around and post something really good to move myself up the standings and pick up as many points as possible.  

      Round 1 Stats

      • Score - 93
      • Penalty Strokes - 0
      • Putts - 38
      • Fairways - 6 of 14
      • Greens in Regulation - 4 of 18
      • Up and Downs - 2 of 9
      • Sand Saves - 0 of 2

      As has been the case with these multi-day tournaments, the second day began with much less anticipation.  I still wanted to post a good score so I could pick up as many points as possible, but... it was still going to be a fairly meaningless round.  I began this round on the 16th tee and I was determined to get off to a much better start than the day before.

      Round 2 Highlights

      - As mentioned, I wanted to get off to a better start.  My goal was to play 16, 17 and 18 in +2, if possible.  I ended up doing just that.  After a poor tee shot to start, I salvaged a bogey on the 16th.  I killed my drive on the 17th, but then left my wedge just short.  i was unable to get up & down from just in front of the green, so settled for a bogey there before making par on the 18th.

      - I managed to make par on the 4th and 6th holes... but what really made my front nine nice was closing it out with pars on the 8th and 9th holes.  On #8, I hit a wedge to the front of the green and then just missed a birdie from 27 feet, tapping in for par.  On #9, I hit a decent drive and a fairly poor 8 iron, but still found the green in regulation on one of the more difficult holes we play all year.  From 60 feet, I hit a nice little putt to about 2 feet and tapped in for another par to end the front side with a 43.  

        Round 2 Lowlights

        - The way to play this course is to survive the back and score on the front... especially the first 5 holes of the front.  I failed to do that... miserably.  I made bogey on 1 and 2... double on 3... par on 4... and then an ugly triple on 5.  That meant I played the easiest holes on the course in +7.  There was no way that was going to be a good thing.

        - As with Round 1... things really began to fall apart on the back.  On #10, I decided to bump a driver into the fairway... only to watch it run through the fairway and into the hazard.  I had a play at the ball, but instead of being smart and playing it back out to the right and into the fairway, I tried a hero shot that resulted in the ball going down into the hazard and a penalty stroke.  Ultimately, I made triple there.

        - At #11, I popped up a 3 wood and then decided to be smart and lay up with a 7 iron.  That left me a full 7 iron to the green, which I wiped right and into a greenside trap.  I blasted out from there and sunk a 7 footer for bogey, but... the damage had been done.

        - The next 2 holes pretty much ruined my round.  On the 12th, my drive went right and ended up next to a bush just right of the fairway.  I hacked a 6 iron into the fairway, and then flubbed a wedge before hitting a decent wedge to about 13 feet.  I failed to make the bogey putt and settled for double.  On the 13th, I blew my tee shot way right and never found it.  My provisional was killed, but even from there, I made a mess of the hole and ended up with a triple.

          Round 2 Recap

          Sometimes, I feel like rounds are better than they are.  In this round, I knew from my 4th hole on that it was going to be a rough round.  I never managed to get anything going and struggled, mightily, to keep my mind in it.  Once I made a mess of the 5th hole, I was just hanging on and trying to make it through the round.  It just seemed like one of those rounds that I knew were going to be a problem and I couldn't find a way to stop bad things from happening.

          Round 2 Stats

          • Score - 91
          • Penalty Strokes - 2
          • Putts - 34
          • Fairways - 2 of 14
          • Greens in Regulation - 6 of 18
          • Up and Downs - 1 of 4
          • Sand Saves - 1 of 4

          Tournament Stats

          • Score - 184
          • Penalty Strokes - 2
          • Putts - 72
          • Fairways - 8 of 28
          • Greens in Regulation - 10 of 36
          • Up and Downs - 3 of 13
          • Sand Saves - 1 of 6

          At the end of the 2 days, I finished 19th out of 24 players in C Flight, marking the second major this season in which I've finished 19th.  It wasn't a good tournament for me, and it certainly wasn't what I was expecting heading into it since I had been playing fairly well.  

          After this tournament, I spoke to my wife and we decided to take a weekend trip down to Kiawah Island for the Southern Regional Tournament which will be played on the Osprey Point and Ocean Courses at Kiawah.  Although I'm only eligible for 80% of half of the allowable points (maximum of 360 points)... I'm eligible to win the trophy, money and free entry into the National Championship in October.  I'll be leaving the clubs in the living room for at least 9 days... and then the week before Kiawah, I'll spend some time on my short game.

          I'm excited about the trip to Kiawah and I'm counting down the days.  Definitely looking forward to playing the Ocean Course!

          Until then...

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