Monday, July 11, 2016

Charlotte Area Golfweek Amateur Tournament - 7/11/2016 - TPC at River Run (Charlotte, NC)

Anytime you go almost three weeks without touching a club... it can be a mixed bag.  This was the case with this round as I didn't actually plan on playing until 2 days before the tournament.  I was a late addition, and I had absolutely NO time to practice before getting to the course that morning.  

It actually turned out okay, and I'm pleasantly surprised by how well I played considering.  This gives me hope heading into the final month of the season that I can actually find my way into the Top 10 by the end of the season and qualify for the Tour Championship at Hilton Head in October.

Hole #14 - Par 4 - 346 Yards

I struggled mightily at Kiawah with my driver.  On Saturday, I was completely unable to hit it.  Sunday morning, a buddy of mine realized that my alignment was way off.  Once he fixed me, things got back to working.  Despite being a fairly tight hole here, I knew there was trouble up by the green, so I wanted to get the ball down the fairway so I had a decent shot at getting to the green.  Unfortunately, I tugged my drive left.  It found the hill and the thick rough killed it.  I had zero chance of getting to the green, so I punched into the fairway with a pitching wedge which left me a sand wedge to the green.  My shot came up just short, but I was able to chip on to within a few inches and tap in for a bogey to start.  

Hole #15 - Par 4 - 378 Yards

Looking at the yardage book, I was looking at the wrong hole.  It didn't matter because I smothered my drive from the tee and it barely, if at all, got beyond the front tees and sat in the rough.  It was an ugly tee shot.  I hit a good 5 iron from there to about 70 yards from the pin.  I hit a really nice lob wedge from the fairway that flew just over the pin.  I made a mess from there as I took 3 putts from 19 feet to card a double bogey on a hole that was fairly simple.

Hole #16 - Par 5 - 454 Yards

The majority of the par 5 holes on this course were very, very reachable.  This was no exception.  I hit a better drive on this hole, but pushed it out right just a bit.  From the rough, I hit a great hybrid that finished 30 yards shy of the green in a perfect spot.  My pitch from there came very close to holing out.  I was left with an extremely simple 2 foot putt for birdie, which I made.

Hole #17 - Par 3 - 108 Yards

This was an extremely short, downhill par 3.  It was 113 yards from the tee to the flag, but way downhill.  I hit my approach wedge a little deep on the green and it stuck where it was.  That left me a very tricky putt from up on the ridge.  From 19 feet, I hit a great putt that finished a foot away.  I was able to tap in for a par.

Hole #18 - Par 5 - 462 Yards

Another drive I smothered.  Luckily, this one took a good kick and stayed out of the water and out of the bunker on the left side.  I hit a 4 iron into the fairway and left myself about 145 yards to the hole.  From that position, the only place I didn't want to miss was left.  I did exactly that.  I pulled my 8 iron and somehow, it hit in the tiniest patch of rough left of the green and stuck.  If it had hopped forward or left even the slightest bit, I would have been in the water.  I hit a poor chip from there but was able to take only 2 putts from 54 feet and took a bogey.  Through my first 4 holes, I was sitting at +3.

Hole #1 - Par 4 - 283 Yards

On the card, this is a very, very short par 4 hole.  It plays uphill, so it's a little longer than the card shows, but... I was hoping for an easy par and possibly a birdie here.  My drive was a little left of the cart path, which left me in the thick rough with about 75 yards to go.  I knew I wasn't going to get my lob wedge onto the green from that rough, so I took 2 clubs up and hit a good shot onto the back of the green.  From 42 feet, I hit a great putt but it didn't drop.  I was left with a simple 2 footer for my par.

Hole #2 - Par 5 - 447 Yards

This hole could have seen the round get away from me.  I hit a bomb of a drive that finished 271 yards away, all uphill.  That left me only about 167 yards to the front flag.  My ball was on a small downslope, which I do not handle well.  The group in front of us was still on the green, and then the second they finished... a member of the grounds crew jumped in front of the green and watered it.  This resulted in me standing over my shot for nearly 10 minutes.  By the time I finally got to play the shot, I made a horrible, ugly swing and I hit the ball extremely fat.  It landed in some thick rough in a little trough about 80 yards short of the green.  My approach wedge caught the bunker.  Then I bladed a shot out of that trap and into another.  I barely escaped that one and then chipped to about 9 feet.  Luckily, I was able to sink that for a double bogey, but... I was reeling after that hole and I wasn't happy about it.

Hole #3 - Par 4 - 365 Yards

I hit a great drive from this tee.  The ball had a little bit of draw on it and found the perfect spot in the fairway.  I was left with 130 yards down the hill and hit a 9 iron that finished only 9 feet from the hole.  My putt from there for birdie was a little aggressive and I missed, leaving a 4 footer coming back for par.  I made that and it kept me at +5 through 8 holes.

Hole #4 - Par 3 - 179 Yards

Lucky.  This hole kind of balanced out the second hole.  I hit a very poor, very ugly 5 iron from this tee.  It went right and towards the OB stakes over there.  I never saw it come down.  I hit a provisional that also went right, but I saw it land near the tree to the right of the green and I knew it was safe.  When we got up there, I went towards where I saw my initial shot go.  One of my playing competitors found my original ball to the right of the tree.  I was worried it was my provisional, but both were up there.  The ball was sitting up in the rough a bit and my only shot was a high, flopping shot that landed in the shady spot on the green.  I executed it perfectly and left myself a quick, downhill 7 footer for par.  Somehow, I made that for one of the best up & downs I've made in recent memory.  So... for my first 9 holes, I finished up at +5. 

Hole #5 - Par 4 - 369 Yards

From this tee, I tugged my tee shot just a bit.  It headed up the left side and I figured it would get a good kick off the hill there and possibly even shoot it into the fairway.  I was way wrong.  The ball hit some tall grass/weeds near a tree and didn't move.  I hit a provisional up the right side just in case.  When we got up to where the initial ball had landed... none of us could find it at all.  I spent the 5 minutes allowed searching and then had to give it up and go to my provisional ball.  My pitching wedge was just right of the green.  From there, I pitched to about 8 feet but could not make that putt for double, so I settled for a triple bogey.  Ouch.

Hole #6 - Par 5 - 470 Yards

There was some weather moving in as we got to this tee.  My tee shot was solid, but just off the left side of the fairway.  Because of the lie, I couldn't get to the green, so I punched a 4 iron up the left side.  It landed in the rough, but it was sitting up nicely.  I was left with about 65 yards from there.  My lob wedge found the green, but left me 21 feet from the hole.  My initial putt was way off and left me 9 feet for a par putt.  Luckily, I made that.

Hole #7 - Par 4 - 340 Yards

I hit what I thought was a really good drive on this hole, but it carried further than I thought it would.  I just barely stayed in bounds.  I had some tree trouble, but I thought I could get over it.  I hit a very solid approach wedge from where I was.  It clipped just enough of the top of the tree to knock it down.  I hit a very poor pitch from there and then took my 2nd three-putt of the day from 35 feet for a double bogey.

Hole #8 - Par 3 - 155 Yards

As we got to this tee, the wind started picking up and the rain started to fall.  There was water left and I wanted to make sure I stayed away from that.  With the wind into our faces, I took an 8 iron and hit a pretty poor shot that went long and right and found the greenside bunker.  At that point, we were called off the course.  I put tees around my ball and we headed in.  We spent about an hour (maybe a little less) in the clubhouse waiting for the storms to move out before we got sent back out to the course.  I had a tough bunker shot with water on the other side of the green, but I executed it nicely and was able to save my par after sinking a 5 footer coming back up the hill.

Hole #9 - Par 4 - 392 Yards

The most difficult hole on the course, according to the handicap listing.  I absolutely obliterated my tee shot here.  It was almost a perfect drive.  The trajectory was perfect and the ball finished in the fairway up the right side 282 yards from where it started.  I had about 130 yards to go.  There was water left and short, so I wanted to make sure I was a little right.  My 9 iron was hammered and landed at the back of the green.  That left me a 72 foot putt.  I lagged it up nicely to about 5 feet and was able to sink that for a par on the #1 handicap hole.

** NOTE - I ended up playing the front side with a triple and 2 doubles.  Still, I finished in 43 (+7).  I knew, at that point, that I was very much in it.  We were using live scoring on our phones, so... with 4 holes to play... I had a very realistic shot at making it into the money spots (top 4).  I just needed to play solid golf and not make any huge mistakes.

Hole #10 - Par 4 - 346 Yards

All the trouble on this hole was left.  Of course, I got up and hit a high, drawing tee shot.  It carried over the tree on the left and settled into some thick rough.  There was a creek short and left, so I wanted to hit something out to the right.  My 6 iron from only 145 was heavy and the ball settled in the rough again.  I hit a good sand wedge just off the right side of the green that settled into a sprinkler head.  I dropped onto the fringe and my putt from there nipped the lip, but didn't drop.  I made the 4 footer coming back for a bogey that COULD have been much worse.

Hole #11 - Par 4 - 376 Yards

I didn't look at my yardage book on this hole and it resulted in what I thought was a great tee shot actually running into the fairway bunker up the right side.  I hit a pretty good 9 iron from that position just to the right of the green.  My chip from there settled to 6 feet.  I thought I had a good shot at making my par, but I missed that and tapped in for a bogey.

Hole #12 - Par 3 - 141 Yards

Another downhill par 3 hole.  It was playing about 142, but was downhill a bit.  I couldn't get my 9 iron there, so I choked down on an 8 iron and hit a great shot.  It went a little deep, though, and left me another tough putt from up on a ridge 40 feet away.  I didn't hit a great putt, but it got to within 5 feet and I was able to make my par from there.

Hole #13 - Par 4 - 414 Yards

Standing on this tee, being my last hole, knowing I was in contention... I just wanted to hit a good shot.  I actually hit a really good shot, but it rolled off the right side of the fairway into a bit of a hanging lie in the rough.  I had about 130 yards, slightly up the hill from the rough.  There was sand trouble short, so I decided to hit an 8 iron and if it went a little long, it was safer than short.  It finished up on the back fringe.  I putted from there, but the ball ran away from the cup and left me 9 feet.  Despite a really good putt from there, it didn't drop and I tapped in for a bogey to finish up my round.

** NOTE - Despite using the live scoring, some groups weren't keeping up with it.  This made for some worry as we headed in.  I knew I was in a good position, I just didn't know where a few people stood.  As it turned out, my 85 (+13) was good enough for 2nd place.  The winner posted a really good 81 (+9).  This bumped him out of C Flight and into B Flight due to his handicap being below the 14.0 threshold for C Flight.  For 2nd place, I earned a $125 Edwin Watts gift card and 275 points in the standings which bumped me up to 3rd place.
There are 6 tournaments remaining on our schedule for the season.  I will be playing in 5 of them.  I should have more than enough points to qualify for Hilton Head already.  It's now just a matter of where I finish in the standings determining which course I play first while down there in October.  Of course, if I play well enough over the next few tournaments, I could be heading into the final major of the season with an opportunity to win the C Flight points title, which would be a nice bonus... so, I'm going to be focusing heavily on maintaining my game over the next 3 months leading up to the National Championship in October.  

Until next time!

Round Stats

  * Score - 85 

  * Course Handicap - 18
  * Net Score - 67
  * Penalty Strokes - 1
  * Putts - 32
  * Fairways - 3 of 14
  * Greens in Regulation - 7 of 18
  * Up and Downs - 2 of 7
  * Sand Saves - 1 of 2

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