Things couldn’t have started better: two putt par on the first hole from 18 feet and another two putt par on the second.
I hit just left on my approach on three but my improved chipping game was in full effect early, as I left the ball on the edge of the cup for a tap-in par.
I hit a 7-iron over the flag on the par three fourth then drained the downhill 15 footer for birdie to move to one under for the day. I pulled my approach shot on five left of the green but again was able to get up and down to stay in red figures.
The luck started changing on the par five sixth. I hit another poor approach shot with a 9-iron, this time going right and I would miss a four foot par putt to move back to even. Then, on the par three 7th, my birdie putt ran about six feet past and I couldn’t make the comebacker to fall to +1.
We ran into Cal’s group on the par five 8th, as his playing partner lost his ball and had to go back to the tee. With 240 yards left for my second shot to a green perched over a creek, I decided to layup rather than wait ten minutes for the group ahead to clear the green. I ended up making a routine par but in hindsight, I wish I had more patience to have given the shot a go from dead in the middle of the fairway.
I blew up on the long par four 9th – horrible drive then a low, hooking rescue that nestled under the trees. I had no shot at the pin but smartly played to the front of the green, leaving myself with about a 30 footer for par. I once again nailed the putt five feet past and again missed the comebacker, making a crippling double for a 39 (+3) on the front.
I missed yet another six footer on the short par five 10th and had to settle for par and made a routine two-putt par on 11. The par three 12th was playing into a stiff breeze, completely opposite from the prevailing winds on our course and my 5-iron ended up about 18 feet away. I was able to curl that in for my second deuce of the day and move back to +2.
Still in this thing.
I made a nice up and down on the 13th for par but ended up three putting the par three 14th from off the green, my third three-whack of the day to move back to +3.
Barely missed birdie on the par five 15th which takes us to my 2007 nemesis hole at St. Catharines – the dogleg left par five 16th.
I usually get into trouble off the tee here so I hit 4-iron off the tee for position. It worked out nicely and I hit 9-iron down to the valley to leave myself with an easy wedge third. I didn’t hit a good one but still had only about 20 feet or so for birdie. Good time for ANOTHER three-whack? I guess so…
Ugh. I’d bogey the 17th as well when I couldn’t sink a four foot par putt and hit 18 with no bounce in my step.
I hit a decent drive and a fantastic approach with an 8-iron, ending up only six feet away. Of course, I’d miss the sharply-breaking right-to-lefter, settling for par and a 77 (+5) on the day.
Scores, as expected, were all over the place. Bernie, my playing partner (the open flight went off in twosomes today – very cool), is the first round leader after firing a one under 71. There were a bunch of rounds in the 80s and one guy walked off the course after making a TWELVE on the par four ninth. My 77 leaves me on the outside looking in as we move to cut day tomorrow, as the top eight and ties make it into the final round on Monday. I’m tied for 9th out of the 24 guys in the open flight at the moment and will likely need a 75 or 74 to play the last day.
I’m really disappointed in my putting and will need to work on it a bit before the round tomorrow if I’m to have any shot.