Unfortunately, we had TWO stopovers on the way down to West Palm Beach, one in Detroit and the other in Atlanta. A lightning storm in Atlanta caused further delays and we didn’t end up in West Palm until after midnight.
Preston handled the arrangements with our Florida transportation, picking up a Jeep Laredo. And we were off on the forty-five minute drive to Port St. Lucie.
Of course, everything was closed for the night when we arrived so we had to go to the security office for our keys to the villa. Comedy ensued when we had to first double back to the office after getting lost trying to find our villa (really, a needle in the proverbial haystack…the place is HUGE) and then upon finally finding our place, the key DIDN’T WORK!
We finally got in around 2:30am after another employee of the resort drove down and let us in. The place was absolutely ENORMOUS.
There were two bedrooms in the villa, each with an ensuite. Harris and Preston took the large room with the massive ensuite (double sink, huge shower, etc) while Vito and I got the other room with the modestly sized ensuite.
There was a THIRD bathroom in the hallway that led to a spacious great room, with a full kitchen, dining room and living room all represented. We also had an enclosed patio.
This place was bigger than my fiance’s house!
Anyway, we quickly went to bed after the tiring day of travel in preparation for our first round of golf the next morning.
We played Fazio’s South Course (EDITOR: now called the Wanamaker Course) first. Now, we decided on a little match play ‘Ryder Cup’ competition to keep things interesting during the vacation. Essentially, we were going to have six rounds of matches – three would be team best-ball and three would be singles match play.
That way, we were able to have every combination of partners and matchups represented. You get one point for winning a match, a half point for a tie and obviously, nothing for a loss.
Match number one would be me and Vito teaming up against Preston and Harris. There was really no scientific way of handicapping the events but we decided that I would be giving Harris and Preston a shot a side (2 per round) and I’d give Vito 5 a side (10 per round). Harris and Preston would give Vito 4 a side (8 per round).
I nailed my first tee ball of the vacation from the back tees right down the pipe and we were off!
I was the only one to par that hole, a 548 yard par five, giving Vito and I a 1up lead. We maintained that until the 222 yard par three fourth, when Preston’s par held up. Things spiraled downhill from there…
I finished the side double bogey/bogey for a less than inspiring 43 while Vito had a rough go of it, shooting a 60. Harris (44) and Preston (41) built a pretty commanding 3up lead after the front side.
Vito won us the 10th with a bogey/net par and my par on 11 got us back to within one but it wasn’t to be this round. Preston made the first birdie of the vacation for our foursome on the 545 yard par five 13th to begin a three hole winning stretch, culminating in a 4&3 victory in match number one.
Preston was low man, shooting an 84. I shot an 85, Harris came in with an 88 and Vito ended up shooting a 111.
For round two that afternoon, I decided that Vito should get another four shots from each of us, meaning 14 from me and 12 from the other two. Everyone agreed, and we were off to the North Course (EDITOR: now called The Ryder Course) for round two.
This time, Harris and I teamed up. It became a running joke that my partners played their worst games when teamed up with me. Haha.
This one wasn’t even close. We were three down after four holes and ended up 2 down through nine. Vito played MUCH better, shooting a 49 and teamed effectively with Preston’s 40. I also shot a 40 while Harris choked his way to a 45.
Since Vito was getting 7 shots a side from me, they were able to pick up at least three holes because of strokes.
We were an ugly FIVE DOWN through 12 and started a furious comeback. I won 13 with a par but after tying 14, we were four down with four to play: dormie is the term for not having a chance to win but needing to take every remaining hole for the split.
Harris took both 15 and 16 with pars to get us to 2 down. On 17, a 549 yard par five, I knocked a wedge stiff for the tap-in birdie but Preston’s putting, which was phenomenal all vacation long, stroked home a ten footer to halve the hole and take the match 2&1.
I was able to garner the best score of the second round, shooting 82 to Preston’s 83. Harry came in at 91 while Vito improved 16 (!) shots, notching a 95.
So after day one, Preston had two points, Harris and Vito had one and yours truly…the big GOOSE-EGG!
We hit the grocery store after the round and cooked some pizzas and some mediocre lasagne back in our kitchen before hitting the sack in preparation for day two.
This would be a day I’d endure the biggest ass-kicking of my match play life…
And to add insult to injury, it was at the hands of Harry, king of Boss (inside joke).
To be continued…