Teed it up with Charlie A, Joe T and one of our assistants, Ryan H on Saturday morning. It was ridiculously humid but I played extremely well, continuing with my great recent play. I made three birdies, including one on our last hole (the 9th) to shoot a solid 74 (+2) from the tips.
The birdie on nine won a skin and I profited a rockin’ $8.00 on the day.
Sunday I matched up against our defending club champion Bernie in the quarterfinals of the Langley Cup Match Play event. Bernie, as expected, got back down to a scratch after his win last week on the Nevada Bob’s Men’s Tour so he had to give me a solitary shot in this match, with me playing as a one handicap.
Feels so weird just writing that!
I was pretty confident going in due to my recent solid play but Bernie can really light it up when he’s on, especially at St. Catharines. I had a bit of an advantage right off the bat, as Bernie barely made it in time for our tee off and he was scrambling around just to get to the tee.
Here’s how the match went:
HOLE ONE (Par 4): Bernie hits down the middle, goes slightly long with his approach and leaves his chip within gimmie range. My tee shot is down the middle and I hit a PW to about 12 feet and barely miss. Match All Square
HOLE TWO (Par 4): Both of us hit down the middle and hit approaches to about 20 feet. We both two putt for par. Match All Square
HOLE THREE (Par 4): Boring! We again hit good tee shots and good second shots, with Bernie hitting inside me by about a foot. We both miss 18 footers for birdie. Match All Square
HOLE FOUR (Par 3): Bernie barely hits the green and has a 45 footer to the back right pin location. I hit a beauty just left of the pin and have about 15 feet back down the slope. Bernie leaves his first putt well short and misses the next one as well, making bogey. I nestle my birdie putt to gimmie range. Matt 1up
To this point, I’ve hit every single shot right on the button but barely miss every birdie attempt.
HOLE FIVE (Par 4): I hit my first poor shot of the day, hooking my tee shot into the left fairway bunker while Bernie is down the pipe once again. From 205 yards, I hit a perfect 3-iron hybrid that ends up just short of the green. Beauty! Bernie also ends up just short. I chip just past the hole and it runs about five feet past but Bernie then chips in for birdie. Match All Square
Now I start to think we’re in for an epic match after his chip in. Turns out I’d be wrong…
HOLE SIX (Par 5): Bernie hits a poor drive into the right fairway bunker, duffs it out to about 230 yards then hits just short of the green. He’d duff THAT ONE too, into the greenside bunker and blast out to about six feet. I’d make a routine two-putt par. Matt 1up
HOLE SEVEN (Par 3): Another solid iron shot for me, leaving me about 15 feet. We’d both two-putt for par here. Matt 1up
HOLE EIGHT (Par 5): I got my one stroke of the day here and conservative play almost cost me here. I killed my drive into the wind as the rain started to fall really hard at this point (we had been playing most of the front nine in a steady drizzle but it started to really come down here). Bernie hit a big push fade into the trees right. He punched down into decent position but I decided to play safe and laid up from about 245 yards. The rain had let up a bit for that shot but my hands were soaked so I didn’t want to take any chances. However, Bernie stiffed his wedge into about 5 feet and I hit a mediocre shot to about 20 feet. I figured I needed to make to win the hole (birdie/net eagle) but I knocked my putt four feet past. Bernie shockingly missed his putt and I was able to coax my par save in for the net bird. Matt 2up
HOLE NINE (Par 4): All pars to this point for me, by the way and I hit a poor drive well left. Bernie hits another big push near the maintenance path near the driving range. I have over 200 yards left and need to hit it high over the trees so I try to punch a 3-iron hybrid but pull it just left of the greenside bunker. Bernie hits a good one just off the left edge but his chip is very poor, going 8 feet past. He’d miss and make bogey while my pitch rolled up to 6 feet. I hit a good putt but it wouldn’t fall. Disappointing bogey, my first of the day. Matt 2up
Still looking good though but I’m getting a bit impatient with the fact the putts weren’t falling.
HOLE TEN (Par 5): I hit a big drive but slightly mishit my hybrid approach and I’m just short of the greenside bunker. I have a horrible lie, sitting on mud and do well to get it within 12 feet. I’d miss and Bernie would also two-putt for par. Matt 2up
HOLE ELEVEN (Par 4): Bernie continues to struggle off the tee, hitting a poor rescue right of the fairway. We’d both hit the green, however, and two putt for pars. Matt 2up
HOLE TWELVE (Par 3): Tough pin position today in the middle left. I played for the meat of the green and was successful, ending up pin high 25 feet away but right on the ridgeline. Bernie just made the green but had a straight putt up the hill. He’d surprise me by leaving the putt well short then he’d miss the six footer for par. I’d roll my first putt about three feet by and make the comebacker. Matt 3up
That was a big momentum grabber for me, as I could sense Bernie was starting to press a bit.
HOLE THIRTEEN (Par 4): Toughest driving hole on the course, especially from the tips but I stripe my drive right down the middle. Bernie hits a weak fade and has to hit a hybrid to the green, coming up short in the greenside trap. I hit a good six-iron about 25 feet left of the pin and hit a putt to within a couple feet, which Bernie surprisingly concedes. He then skulls his bunker shot over the green and can’t chip the next one in. Matt 4up
I’m actually feeling a bit sorry for Bernie here and I have to talk to myself a bit to keep my focus. I can’t feel bad for him when a match is on the line.
HOLE FOURTEEN (Par 3): Bernie and I both come up just short of the green. Bernie’s chip shot goes about five feet past the hole and I pull a putter out for my birdie attempt from about six feet off the surface. I plan on giving Bernie his putt if I nestle my own putt close, as I HATE winning matches on another person’s miscues. I thwart my own plan when my own putt comes up four feet short. Now, I have to make him putt, since I doubt he’ll take a ‘good/good’ as this point of the match. He calmly rolls his putt in then I step up and do the same. Matt 4up
I ask him if he would have taken a ‘good/good’ offer and he nods yes but our playing partner, also playing a match against another guy, says that there was no way Bernie would have done that considering where he stands in the match and the fact that he needs me to miss a putt or two to get back into things.
Didn’t think so, and that’s why I didn’t offer! 😉
HOLE FIFTEEN (Par 5): I hit a solid shot but it just goes into the left rough. Bernie nails his best of the day down the middle. My ball is in a big divot in the rough and I do well to get it to about 160 yards. Bernie hits driver off the deck and is in good position about 40 yards short of the green. I tell Bernie as we’re walking to the ball that I was hoping to have an 8-iron in my hands for the shot but 160 yards is at the outer range so I grip way down on a 7 and stripe it right at the pin…but it bounces past it and rolls through the green.
“Should have hit the eight”, Bernie laughs. Hehe. Damn.
Bernie hits a flip wedge that just creeps to about 12 feet but he just misses, settling for par. My birdie chip runs about 8 feet past.
I was going to say something clever like “Bosela…to win the Masters” to lighten my mood for the big putt but decided on silence instead. I walked up and rolled in the 8-footer to take down our defending club champ in decisive fashion! Matt Wins 4&3
What a great result for me! I’d end up parring 16 and 17 but three whacked 18 when I got uber-aggressive on my birdie attempt since I hadn’t made one all day. I’d end up shooting yet another 74 on the day and I move on to play my Langley Cup nemesis, Joey B, who won his match against Rick B playing alongside us today. Joe has just an incredible short game and I will likely have to give him a few shots in our upcoming match, something that will be tough for me to overcome.
The mind-boggling ‘Scratch Handicap’ watch continues, as my index drops to a lifetime low of 0.6 after this weekend. I have five high scores in a row coming off my handicap chart so I have five chances to get to scratch knowing the handicap can’t possibly rise during those rounds.
Could it possibly happen?! Perhaps but even if it doesn’t, I’m having a pretty good season so far! Hope to see it last up to club championships, which are coming up in about three weeks.