My opponent Brett is a 21 handicapper so I had to give him 18 shots in the match play final, one shot on every hole. Prior to Saturday, the most shots I’ve ever had to give up in my two years playing the event was 13. I figured I was in for quite a challenge…
Unfortunately, Brett did not have his game in the early goings. We started on the back nine and the short par 5 tenth hole. Brett’s first five holes: triple, bogey, triple, triple, triple. His bogey/net par on 11 gave him a tie but he lost the other holes to go four down after 5. He doubled 15 to go five down after 6 and his confidence was non-existent.
“It’s still early Brett…you can turn it around!”, I offered with optimism.
Now, I was playing well at this point (even through six) but I never like to win matches because the other guy is playing horribly. I really hoped he could put together some bogeys at the very least.
Well, he did better than that.
He finally made a par on 16, with the net birdie beating my natural par. We both bogeyed the tough par 3 17th so his net par took the hole there as well. I missed a seven foot birdie putt on 18, with my par and his bogey/net par tying. Then, he made another par/net birdie to win #1, pulling himself to 2 down with 8 to go.
“Great comeback Brett!”, I exclaimed, as I wiped the sweat from my brow.
He ended up duffing a chip on #2 and made double bogey to lose and then made another double on #3. I now was 4 up again as we reached the mid-length par 3 fourth hole. We both hit our tee shots onto the heavily sloped green. Brett was first to attempt the birdie putt. From 35 feet, he was a bit too frisky, hitting it 8 feet past the hole, leaving himself with a treacherous downhiller for par.
I really didn’t think he’d make that putt so I just told myself to get it close to the hole for a tap-in par. From 28 feet, I just rolled it a foot and a half past the hole.
Brett now had the 8 foot downhiller. Again, I expected him to miss the putt and I was just ready to give him his bogey and move on having tied this hole.
Well, I’ll be damned if Brett didn’t knock the slick putt right off the green.
I couldn’t obviously give him the 15 footer for bogey and he proceeded to miss that. I quietly conceded his three footer and tapped in my par putt to take the hole. Man…I couldn’t believe how aggressive he was with that par putt…but that’s match play for you.
So I have him dormie on the 5th hole (our 14th of the day). I end up hitting my second shot WAY RIGHT, into fescue grass about 30 yards from the green. I somehow hit it out to about 30 feet. Brett tapped in for bogey/net par, seemingly giving him the hole.
However, it just was my day.
I curled in the breaking 30 footer right into the back of the cup for my par and the 5&4 victory, my second consecutive Newlands Cup win for the overall match play championship at St. Catharines!
It was a great way to end a match!
I ended the day in similar style, birdieing the last two holes to finish at 71, one under par for the day. This was my third subpar score this month.
They’ll be passing out all of the trophies for the year at the Hole in One Party in October. I had my buddy Jay’s wedding last year and wasn’t able to accept the Newlands for 2004 so I’m looking forward to going this year. I know Jacky will enjoy the night and I think my parents are going to go as well. Should be a fun evening!
On Sunday, the good weekend continued with an excursion to Cedar Brae Golf and CC in Toronto. This is one of my favourite golf courses in the country, an old style parkland course with mature trees and rolling terrain. It’s not well known only because it’s a private club but it truly was a pleasure to play again. I ran out of gas near the end of the round (making a triple bogey along the way) and shot 79, still my best ever score there.
I just love that course, no matter my score!
Tonight, a bunch of the guys from the club and a couple of the assistant pros are heading out to Mister B’s Restaurant in Niagara Falls, New York for some pizza and wings. We might hit the poker room at Seneca or Casino Niagara as well. Maybe I’ll try my hand at No Limit tonight…