Another incredibly busy weekend for yours truly. Played some early morning golf with Toast, Harris and Gary on Saturday and choked my way to a 78 after being 2 over through 14. I was able to pocket a whole $2.00 based on that effort. Yippee!
Went home, got showered and took Jacky to meet with our wedding cake maker, noted pastry chef Anna Olson. We got to sample some stuff and ended up settling on the details of both the actual bridal cake and a grooms cake, supposedly the ‘hot’ thing these days.
Yeah, it’s certainly a great way to extract more money from my wallet.
From there, we had to go and buy a gift for my Godson’s first birthday over at Toys ‘R Us and then went home to get ready for the barbeque at my friends Jay and Laura’s place. Unfortunately, Ryan and Christina weren’t able to make the festivities to due illness on Christina’s part but we had a fun night with the Bergen’s and their daughter Olivia.
Sunday was the first leg of the preliminary round of the Niagara Cup for 2006. Our opponents are from the Links of Niagara at Willo Dell and Port Colborne CC. I ended up getting paired with our assistant pro Cameron as we faced Willo Dell pro Joey McKenney and Bob, one of his members in a two-man match play scramble competition.
The first hole is a 495 yard par five and Cam and I both nailed our tee shots long down the fairway. From about 210, my 4-iron just went right of the green while Cam stroked his to the back of the green. We barely missed our eagle efforts and settled for a birdie 4, good for a halve.
We got into a bit of trouble on the tough 2nd hole, a 378 yard dogleg left. Cam’s drive was down the left side of the fairway but he had absolutely no shot to the green on this crazy hole that rewards a shot positioned down the right side only. My tee ball was in the rough but safe on the right side. I hit a couple branches on my 9 iron approach and Cam did the same thing so we had a little pitch shot from in front of the green. I was able to coax the chip to about 5 feet and Cam could do no better so we had the toughy for par. The Willo Dell team were about 3 1/2 feet away but above the hole. I went first and missed the putt badly to the left on the sharp breaker. However, Joe was feeling generous and asked ‘good/good’, meaning we just take both putts and walk to the next hole.
No argument from us!
The 534 yard par five third was next. Again, Cam and I both killed great drives down the pipe and left ourselves about 260 yards into the wind. My strongest fairway club is my 2-iron rescue and I was able to get it just short of the green while Cam’s 4-wood sailed into the left hand bunker. We chose my shot and could only pitch to eight feet. Cam was able to knock that putt in for our birdie, while the Willo Dell team parred, giving us the 1-up lead.
Both teams parred the next hole, a 180 yard par three which brings us to the tricky fifth, a short par four measuring 268 yards. There is a large creek that fronts the green, swallowing any mishit tee shot or approach. Cam wanted us to be aggressive all day so we both took out drivers. I nailed another beauty, clearing the water and just going over the back of the green and Cam did the same thing. We had more green to work with using his tee ball and my chip shot to 6 feet was the best we could do. Thankfully, I was able to make the putt for another birdie and the 2up lead.
Cam made a nice up and down par on the 6th hole to make par and halve with Willo Dell and then he absolutely stiffed a wedge from 115 yards on the 7th, giving me the easy tap in for birdie and the three up lead. That guaranteed us the 1 point for the front nine (the Niagara Cup format awards one point for the team who wins the front, one point for the back nine and one point for the overall match).
The Willo Dell team won the eighth hole when Bob made about a 30 footer for birdie after we were already in with par but we would get it right back on the 410 yard par four ninth. I hit a great eight iron from about 155 yards to about 6 feet and Cam made the putt to give us the 3up lead again and a sparkling 31 on the front nine (-5).
Both teams parred the 171 yard par three tenth. On 11, a 535 yard par five, I hit another beauty off the tee that left us about 240 yards out. My three iron rescue got to the front fringe while Cam hit his second shot long and left. We took my shot and were unable to chip in for eagle but I made the four footer for birdie and another win, as the Willo Dell guys both missed their short birdie effort.
Our scorecard was pretty funny – birdie, par, birdie, par, birdie, par, birdie, par, birdie, par, birdie. We wanted to end that streak!
The 12th is a 174 yard par three into the wind. I took out my six-iron and hit hit stiff to about four feet. Cam ended our ‘on and off’ streak by holing the putt for a commanding 5up lead in the match.
That’s when we lost focus for a bit. The Willo Dell guys ordered some liquor from the cart girl and we decided to join them, grabbing a couple beers. It might have cost us, as we were unable to birdie the very easy par five 13th while greenside in two shots, losing the hole in the process.
Joey was pumped and DESTROYED a drive on the 343 yard par four 14th, getting to within about 20 yards of the green. My drive ended up exactly 67 yards away from the flag. We were able to squash their hopes of coming back when I almost holed the eagle shot with my lob wedge, the ball coming to rest about three inches away. Joey hit a great chip to about five feet and made the birdie putt, then conceded our tap-in to keep us four up with four to play.
Both teams were unable to make tough birdie putts on the 15th, settling for pars. That gave us the 4&3 overall victory in the match.
But there was still the one point on the back nine to play for. We were still one up on the side going to the 554 yard par five 16th, which features a crazy 90 degree dogleg to the left. I decided to hit a 2-iron rescue off the tee and crushed it big-time right down the fairway. Cam’s drive snap-hooked into the woods left so we had to take my ball, which was still about 300 yards away from the green. I hit another rescue to about 90 yards and Cam again hooked one into the creek bordering the left side of the fairway. This time he had an excuse, as a moth landed on his ball in his downswing, causing much laughter in the group after the strike.
The moth flew away unharmed.
We both hit our wedges long on the heavily sloped green and both barely missed the 18 footer for birdie. The Willo Dell team made no mistake with their effort and we were now tied on the back nine.
The tough 184 yard par three 17th was next. I hit my shot into the front left bunker and that was unfortunately the best we could do, as Cam missed way left with his tee ball. I hit a poor bunker shot to 20 feet and Cam was able to do a bit better, getting us to 12 feet. The Willo Dell guys were already in with a two-putt par so we HAD to make this putt. I went first and barely lipped out the putt but Cam walked up and nailed it into the back of the cup to keep us square on the back.
The dogleg left finisher is 434 yards and I pounded another beauty to about 180 yards right in the middle of the fairway. We took my drive and after Cam hit a shot way right of the green, I was able to come up with a great swing on my six-iron, hitting it pin high about 20 feet away. The Willo Dell guys picked a drive that was in the trees for some reason (they had a ball that was about 190 yards away but in the fairway) and were only able to get the ball to about 15 feet off the putting surface. They hit their chip to about 7 feet so we had the putt for the win.
I easily hit the best putt of the day for myself, watched it hit the hole and COMPLETELY HORSESHOE OUT. I was walking that sucker in and it takes a peek and spits it out. Bastard!
Cam took the read and hit his on line but just short so we settled for par. Bob was able to make the tough 7 footer for their par and the back nine halve.
So we were able to extract 2.5 points out of 3 for the match but felt disappointed in the result. We shot a pretty solid 64 as a two-man team but we were actually thinking 59 back on the 11th green so it again was a bit disappointing. Oh well, a win is a win.
The club comes away with six total points out of the 18 awarded which places us in second behind Port Colborne CC, who had 8.5. Willo Dell is at 3.5. There are two more events in the preliminaries: first, we head to Willo Dell for the two man best ball event in July and then the last event is at St. Catharines for the singles matches. The team with the most points after that event goes on to the finals, being held this year at Beechwood Golf and CC in Niagara Falls.
I ended the day by going over to my buddy Brandon’s for my godson’s birthday party.
Just so tired…..