The most important news is that I received the keys to my new house on Friday morning and moved in on Saturday, with the help of six of my closest friends. Jacky’s mom also came and was great in helping put everything away. Big thanks to Brandon, Deron, David, Jay B, Jay M and Damon for all their help!
The place was absolutely immaculate – I can’t say enough about the previous owners of the house. They were actually cleaning when we first arrived on Friday afternoon after receiving the keys and Dave, the husband, was actually in the process of cleaning out and refilling our hot tub for us. They gave us a bottle of champagne and their six-year old daughter wrote us a personalized card welcoming us into our new home. Really nice stuff.
I’ll post pictures of our new pad later tonight on the blog.
Sunday saw the third and final leg of the Niagara Cup regionals, with St. Catharines locked in a battle with the Links at Willo-Dell and Port Colborne CC for the rights to advance to the finals against all the other regional winners. Our club had a nice sized lead but the last leg consisted of singles matches, meaning that there were double the amount of points up for grabs. With 8 guys per team, that meant that there were 24 points available to a club that swept the matches so it was still anyone’s ball game.
I got a great matchup: Aaron T. from the Links of Willo-Dell was my opponent. I’ve never played with Aaron before but I actually grew up with him in Niagara Falls and was really good friends with his brother Adam, who was my age. Aaron is quite a bit younger (maybe six years) but he used to always try to play hockey with us when we were younger so I knew him well.
I heard he was a good player so my strategy, as always, would be to try to par him to death and wait for him to make a mistake.
I executed my strategy perfectly but it almost wasn’t enough…
I played almost flawless golf to start, parring the first six holes. However, it wasn’t good enough, as Aaron parred the first two, birdied the third and parred four, five and six to take a 1up lead to the par three 7th. I hit my first bad shot of the day, hooking it into the greenside bunker while he was safely on the putting surface. I hit a good bunker shot to seven feet and made it for the par but Aaron made a five foot comebacker for his par to continue with the 1up advantage.
The next two holes really set the tone for the rest of the match.
We both drove perfectly on the par five eighth. I was about 244 yards away for my second into a decent wind and decided to lay back around 90 yards. Aaron was only about 220 away in definite ‘green light territory’ but his lack of knowledge with the course failed him – he decided to layup as well (which really surprised me considering the fact he hadn’t missed a shot all day) but wasn’t committed to the shot and hit it way right near the trees.
His third shot was a shocker, as he cold shanked it into the trees bordering the third tee. Wow!
He dropped and hit ANOTHER SHANK, this time keeping it in play near the rope tow that helps golfers get out of the valley after putting out on the eighth green.
I calmly knocked my approach on the green and when Aaron didn’t hole out his next shot, his sixth, he conceded the hole to me. I didn’t even attempt my birdie putt after the concession although I probably should have since there was a skins game going. Oh well…the match was more important.
I finally got my chance to hit first on nine and poked another perfect drive down the middle. However, my ball was in a huge divot and I was unable to make a good strike from 184 yards, hitting the ball right of the green. It left me with a very difficult shot to a pin tucked close to the greenside bunker. Aaron hit his approach to 20 feet so I’d need to somehow get up and down to halve the front side and take a half point.
I opened the face of my wedge and hit a really nice shot but still could only get to within 15 feet of the pin. Aaron was up and I was a bit surprised to see him knock the putt about 3 1/2 feet by. Not a big concern though, as his par putt was straight in up the hill.
I had the 15 foot slider for par and I somehow was able to compose myself and knock that sucker in for the par (with fist pump attached)!
Aaron then unbelievably MISSED his three footer to give me the hole and the 1up decision on the front nine.
I finished the front nine with a 36 and nothing but pars on the card. I kept the pressure on…
I finally made my first birdie of the day on the 10th, ramming in an 8 footer to take the 2up lead. We exchanged pars on the short par four 11th but he bogeyed from the back bunker on 12 and my par stood up for a 3up lead. I hit another great drive on the tough 13th and Aaron hit his drive about 40 yards out of bounds, giving me the 4up lead. We both parred the 14th which put him dormie on the 15th tee.
I still was -1 for the day and bogey-free. As Harry and Toast would say, “but of course…it’s the end of the year!”
Well, I guess I subconsciously wanted to make things interesting.
I hit a really big drive on 15 again down the middle (I hit 10 of 13 fairways on Sunday) but ended up completely duffing my second shot with my rescue, leaving me about 185 yards away for my third on the par five. I took a six iron and hit it slightly fat, with the ball coming up just short of the green. I wasn’t able to get up and down, making my first bogey of the day and more importantly, losing the hole to Aaron’s par.
He made the rookie mistake of hitting driver off the 16th tee and almost hit it into the hazard through the fairway. My rescue was in perfect position, 245 yards away. I laid up nicely to about 80 yards while Aaron hit his layup way left.
Cue the drama.
I completely laid the sod over my gap wedge and was stunned when I couldn’t find my ball in the rough in front of the creek. There was NO WAY I should have lost that ball but four guys couldn’t find it in five minutes. Unreal!
Aaron stumbled to a bogey on the hole but it was good enough to beat my double.
My collar was tightening!
It loosened up considerably when Aaron hit his tee shot straight right into the hazard on the par three 17th. I stepped up and promptly duck hooked my iron shot into the bunker but I was at least safe. I hit a beauty to seven feet while Aaron hacked his ball out of the hazard behind the green. He chipped short, then hit his bogey chip well past the hole and ended up conceding the match to me.
I won the match 3&1 and took all three points available in our showdown. Everyone else on the team followed suit, as St. Catharines took an incredible 20 out of 24 available points to easily win the regional and advance to the finals. Every guy from St. Catharines won his match and garnered at least two points, quite the achievement! We will play the finals at the end of September, likely playing at Beechwood G&CC.
Last night I participated in the ‘Trash Talking is a Must’ football pool with Harry and his buddies. It’s pretty intense, especially considering the entry fee of $150.00. I got the unfortunate draft position of 10th out of 12 teams but I did pretty well, all considering. Let’s look at the team:
LEAGUE NOTES –
– $150.00 Entry Fee
– 18 Total Players Drafted
– 9 Starters: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR/TE, 1 FLEX, 1 DEF, 1 K
– 9 Reserves
QB: Tom Brady (NE); Chris Simms (TB)
RB: Ronnie Brown (MIA); Warrick Dunn (ATL); Mike Bell (DEN); Deuce McAllister (NO); Brandon Jacobs (NYG); Jerious Norwood (ATL)
WR/TE: Roy Williams (DET); Joey Galloway (TB); Donte Stallworth (PHI); David Givens (TEN); Heath Miller (PIT); Devery Henderson (NO); Chad Jackson (NE); Marcus Robinson (MIN)
DEF: Tampa Bay
K: Jeff Reed (PIT)
It’s not a quarterback league but I got a real good one in Brady with my fourth round pick. I just wanted a guy who isn’t injury prone and Brady can turn water into wine with pretty much any scrub. Brady is an excellent fantasy player and will do well for me. Simms will suit up for my team for only one week – week six when New England has a bye. I picked Simms because Tampa is at home against a pretty crappy defensive opponent in Cincinnati in week six; the only other alternative was Mark Brunell from Washington as they play lowly Tennessee but I just hate Brunell and he’s having a horrible preseason.
I got Ronnie Brown with my first pick and I’m pretty happy with the choice. This is a running back heavy league so I picked another with my second choice in Warrick Dunn. I’m not so happy with that pick but at least I know what I’m getting with Dunn as opposed to the other guys that were available there like Chester Taylor and Rueben Droughens. I was later able to handcuff Dunn to his backup Jerious Norwood (which is good fantasy strategy) so I’m happy about that. I got good value with the rest of my RB’s. Mike Bell is the opening day starter in Denver and Mike Shanahan just loves using unheralded backs in his system so I should be good to go there. I also picked up Deuce McAllister in the middle rounds – he’s looked great in the preseason and will likely share the load with Reggie Bush to start the year. I also scooped Tiki Barber’s backup in New York, Brandon Jacobs. This is a good pick just because of the fact that Jacobs gets most of the goalline carries in New York and will likely score at least 6 touchdowns this year. I’m really happy overall with my backs.
I’m a bit weak at wideout when it comes to front line talent but I got a lot of depth and phenomenal value in the middle and late rounds. I picked Roy Williams as my first wideout with my third pick. He’s got great size and speed and hopefully will flourish under Mike Martz in Detroit. I got Joey Galloway from Tampa (who may not get as many looks with Michael Clayton healthy) and Philly’s recent pickup Donte Stallworth, who’ll be one of McNabb’s main targets once he grasps the west coast system. Givens was a value selection but I’m not a big fan of his. I like the Heath Miller pick – tight ends aren’t required in this league but Pittsburgh will likely utilize Miller quite a bit this year as they don’t have a lot of options in the passing game with the loss of Randle-El. Henderson from New Orleans gets promoted to the starting lineup with the trade of Stallworth so I love that pick in the 15th round. Chad Jackson from New England is a huge reach, since he’s been injured all preseason but if he’s healthy, he’ll make an impact since Branch is a goner in Patriot land. My last pick of the draft was Marcus Robinson, the number 2 guy in Minnesota. Great value there.
I got Tampa as my defense and they will be a good one – they have a lot of ball hawks and possess a lot of speed on the outside so interceptions and sacks should be plentiful. Jeff Reed will work out well for me at kicker, since I think Pittsburgh’s offense will stutter a bit this year and will open up a lot of field goal opportunities.
All-in-all, I’m pretty happy with the team. Let the trash talking begin!