I played Tuesday afternoon with Harry and shot an uninspiring 79, hitting only three fairways and nine greens in the process. Harry’s 74 killed me both in medal and match play (4&3).
I was scheduled to play the Cutten Club on Wednesday with Scotty T, one of my supply partners at Kaumeyer. However, the last minute stuff came up, necessitating the postponement of that round and also my Langley Cup match I was due to play on Thursday.
With all of the last minute stuff out of the way, I finally was able to play my Langley Cup match on Friday against Jamie K, an explosive newcomer at St. Catharines.
How explosive you ask? Well, his +1 handicap is just the start – this 20 year old won the club championship at Rockway Glen last year by 41 SHOTS!!! Ha!
The Langley Cup is the 0-7 handicap match play championship at St. Catharines and it’s an event I’ve curiously struggled in the past two years. I lost in the first round both years – last year I lost to Brian B, who ended up winning the competition and in 2005, I lost to Frank P, who made it all the way to the finals.
In 2004, I played in the finals and lost to Joey B. I’ve never won the Langley but I own two overall match play championships at St. Catharines, winning in 2004 and 2005 before ‘retiring’ from that particular competition ‘on top’.
Harris joined us on Friday and I was to get four shots from Jamie during the match – the first time I can ever remember getting shots in a match play competition at St. Catharines.
I’m going to give the encapsulated version of events as opposed to my normal, long-winded recap.
Hole 1 (Par 4): I drive perfectly but hit my approach shot fat. My third ends up 8 feet away and I miss. I concede Jamie’s par putt. Jamie 1up
Hole 2 (Par 4): We both make two-putt pars. Jamie 1up
Hole 3 (Par 4): I three putt for a bogey while Jamie makes a four footer to save par. Jamie 2up
Hole 4 (Par 3): Both of us make two-putt pars. Jamie 2up
I’m not too worried at this point, especially since I get strokes on the next two holes.
Hole 5 (Par 4): Jamie and I both drive perfectly. My 8-iron approach almost goes in the hole, settling about two feet away. Jamie misses his 12 foot birdie putt and concedes mine. Jamie 1up
Hole 6 (Par 5): I make a two-putt par and Jamie bogeys after a poor third shot. All Square
So I’m back in the match and I didn’t even need the strokes.
Hole 7 (Par 3): We both make par. All Square
Hole 8 (Par 5): Interesting hole. We both drive perfectly; I have 235 yards left dead in the center of the fairway while Jamie is about 15 yards closer but sitting up in the rough. My 2-iron rescue is snap hooked into the trees; I drop and hit a provisional onto the green about 15 feet away. Jamie stays aggressive and his rescue shot is blocked way right into the fescue. His provisional sails over the green. Neither of us find our original balls. Jamie gets up and down for bogey and I two-putt for my bogey. All Square
Hole 9 (Par 4): I hit my approach into the greenside bunker and can’t get up and down. Jamie misses the green right and also fails to get up and down. All Square
So we’re even through nine and both of us shot less than stellar 39’s on the front. The first hole on the back is a short par five but due to the club changing the handicap holes last year, I unbelievably get a shot here.
Hole 10 (Par 5): Jamie hits the green in two shots while I hit a poor wedge to 15 feet. Jamie misses his eagle putt and I ram home my birdie to win the hole with the shot and take my first lead in the match. Matt 1up
Hole 11 (Par 4): I hit a four-iron nicely down the middle. Jamie elects to hit driver and blocks it right; it ends up going out of bounds. I hit my second to about ten feet and Jamie concedes. Matt 2up
Hole 12 (Par 3): I hit into the greenside bunker and can’t get up and down. Jamie makes a five footer for par to take the hole. Matt 1up
That was a big make by Jamie, as he has to give me my last shot on the tough par four 13th.
Hole 13 (Par 4): We both drive perfectly and I hit my pitching wedge about 15 feet past the pin. Jamie goes about 35 feet long. He hits a poor lag putt to 10 feet and I snuggle mine to gimmie range to give me the hole. Matt 2up
Hole 14 (Par 3): I hit a nice shot to about 15 feet and Jamie hits a horrible hook and can’t get up and down. I make par. Matt 3up
Hole 15 (Par 5): I hit my first really poor drive of the day when I have the chance to close things out. I have to pitch out of trees twice and end up stumbling to a bogey. Jamie makes a routine par. Matt 2up
Hole 16 (Par 5): Jamie hits a perfect rescue to 235 yards but elects to lay up in a move that surprised me somewhat. He hits wedge to ten feet and misses, making par. I hit four-iron off the tee nicely, a 6-iron down the hill then wedge to 8 feet. I miss my chance to end the match but now I have him dormie. Matt 2up
Hole 17 (Par 3): Jamie hits a gorgeous shot right over the flag but ends up about 25 feet past the pin. My 4-iron comes up short right but my chip shot nestles right beside the hole. Jamie’s birdie attempt flies 6 feet past the hole and he concedes the match. Matt Wins 3&1
I end up bogeying the last hole to shoot a 76 (“Why couldn’t you hit those shots during our match?”, Jamie said hilariously). Jamie was unable to ram home an 8-foot birdie putt, shooting a 77. It just wasn’t his day. He definitely wasn’t at his best but this kid can really play – I expect him to be a major contender at this year’s club championship, that’s for sure.
I really enjoyed the day. Harry played quite well too but fell apart a bit after a 38 on the front. I believe he shot a 78 or so to continue his stretch of good play.
I move on to the quarterfinals, where I will face Joey B, the same man who beat me in the Langley Finals three years ago. I believe Joe is playing to about a five these days so I’ll have to give him a couple shots. I imagine we’ll get the match in sometime before the end of the month.
My solid play continued over the weekend as I shot rounds of 75 and 76 while making only ONE birdie during the two rounds. My driver is on fire lately, as I’ve hit almost 70% of my fairways during my last three rounds – definitely a record for me and my greens in regulation percentage is back up to an even 50%. My putting isn’t necessarily bad but I’m just not making anything right now.
The handicap is at 2.5 and that’s with me losing my 69 from earlier this year. Looking at how the 20 current rounds are dispersed in the computer, if my present solid play continues I’m guessing I might crack the 2.0 barrier for only the second time in my life within the next couple weeks. My lowest index ever was 1.7, back in late 2005 after shooting my career-low 68.
Gives me something to shoot for!
Should be another good weekend coming up – first, Harry, Gary P. and I will be heading to a charity boxing card here in St. Catharines on Friday night. The regular gang will be out at St. Catharines on Saturday then Harry, Toast and Ryan D, an old buddy of mine, will be heading out to East Aurora Country Club just outside of Buffalo.
One of our favourite tracks! Can’t wait!