I bogeyed the last hole from the middle of the fairway but ended up shooting 72 at St. Catharines from the back tees, where the course rating is 73.1 and the slope 131. It is the second 72 I’ve shot in my life and falls one shot off my career-low 71 from August 2003.
My putting has been a huge problem lately and for that reason, I borrowed a putter from the pro shop before the round. I decided to take the 3-wood out of my bag and play the round with two putters. For whatever reason, on the first green, I decided that it would be stupid to mess around with a new putter during the round. So I pulled my own flatstick out and promptly sunk a sliding 12 footer for birdie right off the bat. I proceeded to bogey the second and fifth holes, birdie the sixth and bogey the ninth to shoot 37 on the front.
I missed a six footer for birdie on the short par five tenth hole but made up for it with a five foot birdie make on #11 to get to even par. Pars on #12 & #13 were followed with my fourth birdie of the day on the par three 14th to get me into red figures. Reaching #18 at -1 for the day, I nailed my best drive of the year on the 409 yard par four 270 yards down the middle. The pressure then got to me as I ‘duff/shanked’ my second with a nine iron right under a tree about 20 yards from the green. I ended up almost making the pitch shot, as it rolled over the cup and finished five feet away but I couldn’t convert the par save to finish at even.
I’m really happy with how I played. I wasn’t wanting to protect the subpar round, instead really looking to press forward and make another birdie to set a new career low. It helped that one of my playing partners, Ben, was tearing up the back nine. At one point, he was -4 through seven holes on the incoming nine! He’s a young guy, probably about 20 years old and just shows NO FEAR on the course. I took quite a bit away from playing with him and it helped on the greens, as I had only 27 putts for the day, a new low for 2005.
My whole goal this year has been to break 70 for the first time and I really think I can do it. I just need to play ‘boring’ golf, hitting greens in regulation and avoiding major mistakes. Then, play aggressively on the greens…get that ball past the hole! You will make 0% of the putts left short of the hole so hit that thing firmly!
I can’t wait to get out there again!