The weather was spectacular except on our first day at Tobiano but even then, the sun made an appearance about halfway through the day and lasted the rest of the trip.
I think I can speak for all of us in saying the golf out there was tremendous and we all had a wicked time. More on the trip in a future post.
We drove back into Niagara early Tuesday morning, arriving around 1:30am or so and there was no rest for yours truly, as I had to play my quarterfinal Langley Cup match against Brian B, a former winner of the event.
I had to give Brian two shots for the match, something that would be quite tough for me to overcome knowing how good a match player he is.
We both parred the first hole then he dropped a short putt on the 2nd hole for birdie to go one up quickly. His lead would expand when I inexplicably three-putted from about 20 feet on the 3rd hole.
We’d both make solid pars on the 4th and 5th holes but I’d find trouble on the par five 6th. I drove left and had to hit a low snap hook under the trees to get the ball into range for my approach. However, my shot ran long and right behind the huge tree that sits in the right center of the fairway about 120 yards out.
I tried to hit over the tree but the ball caught the last branch and ricocheted left into the junk. We looked for a couple minutes and couldn’t find the ball so there was another hole lost. Thankfully, Brian made his birdie putt anyway to make it a no-doubter.
So I’m three-down but Brian makes his first mistake of the day, missing a short par putt on the 7th to give me my first hole of the match. However, he’d get a shot on the 8th hole and I’d concede it to him when my birdie chip rolled about five feet past the hole with him inside me. Again, he’d tap the birdie in anyway so it was yet another no-doubter.
We both hit horrific drives on the 9th hole but Brian hit a great second shot onto the green from the middle of the 10th fairway while I could do no better than get my shot to 15 yards short. I’d make bogey, Brian would par and I was four down through nine and gasping for air. Not much you can do when your opponent throws a two under 34 at you!
Things weren’t looking good, as I’d have to give Brian his last shot on the short par five 10th but I finally put a good hole together, going driver/3-iron hybrid just off the right side of the green and would get up and down for the birdie, halving the hole with Brian when he made par.
Momentum looked like it might be on my side when I hit a nice wedge to about six feet on the 11th and made it for my second consecutive birdie and won the hole, moving to three down.
Pretty funny exchange after that as we were walking off the green. Brian, who occasionally reads this blog, says:
“So, what is the headline?”
I look at him for a second, not knowing what he was asking.
“What do you mean?”, I asked.
“The headline for your blog”, he replied. “Two birdies in a row – is this the ‘cue the comeback’ moment?”
We all started laughing, knowing that’s exactly something that I would write and have written in the past.
But honestly, at that point, I’m still so far back I’m just thinking I need to fire at every bloody pin if I’m to have a chance.
Of course, my momentum would stall immediately after hitting a solid tee shot on the par three 12th, as I’d three-putt again to lose the hole and fall to 4 down again.
I’d win the 13th hole when Brian hit his second shot way long and picked up for double but I’d make another bogey from the bunker on the 14th hole to fall to dormie then got the door slammed in my face when Brian hit a great pitch to about two feet on the 15th. I’d concede the birdie putt to give him the convincing 5&3 victory, one of my worst losses in match play competition.
I’d end up shooting 76 on the day, not a bad result but Brian came in with a scintillating 71 and could have been even lower. He played great.
So I’m out of the Langley and will have to concentrate on the Scratch Cup and this weekend’s Club Championship. I’ve got a favourable draw in the first round, playing with Will, Jamie and Jim, three really solid players.
I’m not sure what to expect – my game has been strong this year but my putting hasn’t been great the last two weeks. I have a really late tee time in the mid-afternoon so I’ll have plenty of time to get some practice in before I head out.
It’s my favourite weekend of the golfing season and hopefully I can put together a personal best finish.