On Saturday, I played with Bernie and Gary and shot a horrific 81. Almost nothing went right, as I drove the ball terribly and the short game was erratic, at best.
I went home to do some work around the house and ended up spending almost three and a half hours power washing my patio, cleaning the crevices and whatnot. Mud everywhere! Not fun but necessary, as our new patio furniture was set to arrive a couple days later.
On Sunday, I was scheduled to play my Langley Cup semifinal match against Joe B. If you recall, I played Joe in the quarterfinals of the same event last year and he beat me in twenty holes in an epic duel. He’s also beaten me in the event a few years earlier so I’ve never won against the guy in match play.
Making matters worse, my 81-shooting ass still had to give him three shots, as I was still technically a zero going into the day.
I knew I was in for a rough day right off the bat. I hit a great tee ball on the par four first but my 9-iron from about 140 yards was pushed into the greenside bunker. Upon arriving at the ball, I noticed that I was sitting in a huge rake mark, the ball pretty much embedded. I almost killed Joe, as I skulled the ball over his head and through the green. I’d take three more shots to get down, making a wonderful double out of the gate to go one down.
We’d saw off the second hole with pars, then I’d even up the match on the third hole, making par to Joe’s bogey. We both parred the fourth and fifth but Joe’s par/net birdie on six allowed him to regain the lead.
After sawing off with pars on the 7th, I’m still down one on the par five eighth as I smoke my drive down the pipe. I have only 215 yards left to the green on the par five but my 5-iron is pushed ever so slightly and rolls into the bunker.
No big deal right?
Again, the bunkers weren’t raked and AGAIN, I find my ball plugged in a rake mark. I was MAD, let me tell you. After spewing a few expletives, I once again skulled a shot well over the green and onto the cart path. I stormed across to the other side and pitched onto about 12 feet but it wouldn’t matter, as Joe made a routine two putt par for the net birdie to take yet another stroke hole.
Joe would make a big five footer on nine for par to saw me off there and take a 2up lead to the back nine.
His par/net birdie on the short par five tenth was good enough to win the hole once again, meaning he took advantage of all three stroke holes. He was three up now, with no more stroke holes left.
“Well, I’ve spotted you three, Joe”, I said as I teed up on the short par four 11th.
“Let’s see if I can give you a run!”
Joe was in for his par and I finally did something, rolling in about a six footer for my first birdie of the day to win the hole and get within two.
Keep in mind, after the ugly double on the first, I had parred every other hole to this point and was still three down. Now, with a birdie on 11, I was only +1 on the day and 2 down in the match.
We’d both par the short par three 12th, as it was playing only 123 yards on the day, down from the usual 200+ yards.
I’d make a terrible, anti-right swing on the tough 13th hole, leaving myself about 215 yards into the green. I’d hit a great rescue to the front of the green but with the pin tucked back left, I’d three-whack and lose the hole to Joe’s par.
Three down with five to play.
Joe hit a bad tee shot on the par three 14th into the bunker and knowing how bad the bunkers were on this day, I knew I just had to make par to get a hole back. I hit my best iron of the day, landing five feet short of the pin and stopping right there. I’d inexplicably miss the putt but Joe made bogey, so I was back to two down.
The big opportunity I was looking for came on the par five 15th. I’d hit three excellent shots to get within seven feet for birdie but again, I’d miss the putt and make par, tying Joe on the hole. What a huge letdown.
I couldn’t hole a twenty-plus footer for birdie on the 16th so I was dormie heading to the long par three 17th. Joe hit a beautiful 3-wood to the back of the green, 30 feet away. I knew I needed to make birdie and hit a spectacular shot and for some reason, chose a 6-iron (!). I hit 5-iron over the green the day before so I figured I’d need a six to hold the green.
Unfortunately, I didn’t hit the ball flush and came up woefully short. Needing a chip-in, I give it a good run and come up about a foot and a half short. Joe concedes my par then runs his birdie effort about two and a half feet past.
I contemplate giving him the putt but decide to make him putt it out for the win.
I have my hat off and I’m ready to shake his hand as he inexplicably MISSES the short par putt.
I’m still in it! One down with one to play.
Alas, I hit another awful drive towards the trees on the left and have to punch the ball out just short of the green. Joe has some trouble too and has a 12 footer for par. Figuring I need to chip in, I run my shot well past the hole but my putt means nothing, as Joe calmly steps up and makes his par to win the match one up.
I played pretty poorly but still shot a 74, a pretty solid score. However, my chipping was rock solid all day and made up for the fact I only hit 8 greens in regulation.
Full marks to Joe for the win – he will be tough to beat if he keeps playing this well.
I want to win this event pretty badly but strangely enough, I wasn’t really disappointed after the loss. Just not my year to win it, I guess. No big deal!
I had a quick drink and I was off. Within an hour, I was on the road to Muskoka, as I had an early morning tee off on Monday at the very exclusive Oviinbyrd in Footsbay, Ontario.
I’ll have a writeup on Oviinbyrd before the end of the day tomorrow.