Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bill is the best golfer for 2007

Fuck I hate writing this post!

We played our final match on Saturday. I had a lesson with my old instructor at 8:00 AM and then our tee time was at 10:00. It was a little risky going for a lesson, right before playing an important match. But I thought about it and unlike lessons with Adam, I can't think of a time after a lesson with Doug where I was hitting the ball worse when we were done.

The main theme of the round was that Bill made every makeable putt inside 6 feet and I missed a bunch. Here's a run down of the holes.

1. I make par from the greenside bunker and Bill makes an easy par. This would be the only putt of significance I make all day.

2. It looks like Bill is going into the bunker on the right, but it holds on the fringe. He two putts for par. I barely clear the water and miss the 8 foot par putt. Down 1.

3. I hit a great approach to 15 feet and miss the birdie putt by inches. Bill is all over the place but makes bogey. Even.

4. I hit a great drive, lousy pitching wedge. I am 30 yards short with a front pin to an elevated green. I decide to use 8 iron to chip it up the slope. I hit it too hard and it goes 60 feet by the hole. Then I 3 putt for a double bogey. Bill makes bogey. I'm down 1. I suck.

5. I hit another lousy wedge out of deep rough. Bill is on in regulation and two putts for par. I miss the 8 footer for par and make bogey. Down 2.

6. Bill goes right on his approach and lands in the bunker. He fails to get up and down and makes bogey. I hit a great drive and great approach to 15 feet. I hit a good putt and it looks like it's going in. It's a little too firm and lips out and runs 4 feet by. I miss the comebacker and 3 putt for bogey.

7. I narrowly miss another birdie and tap in for par 5. Bill makes bogey from the middle of the fairway with a wedge in his hands and 100 yards away after 2 shots. I'm down 1.

8. I hit a great 6 iron just past the hole. Bill hits the first of many weak flares to the right. I two putt for par and Bill misses his par putt. I pick up one and now we are even again.

9. We both go way right. Bill hits his approach into the left bunker and it lands in a hole. I can't make a full swing due to a tree, so I try to hit a punch shot and run it up. It goes nowhere and I have to hit a wedge to the green. Bill hits his sand shot over the green, chips on, two putts for double. I three putt again for my double. We are both tied with a 43 on the front nine.

10. Bill hits another weak flare to the right and we almost do not find it. He hacks it out and scrapes out a bogey. I make bogey after short siding myself on the left.

11. I yank my drive into the 12th fairway. I hit a bad 5 iron into the trees. I hit a fantastic punched 8 iron chip to 5 feet with a chance for par. I miss the putt again and make bogey. Bill scraped out another bogey.

12. Bill finally hits driver and pulls it left over the fairway bunkers. I hit a great drive but it fades a little too far to the right and I have to hit my approach over the humongous pine tree. Bill gets a lucky break and his ball is sitting up in the rough and he has a clear shot at the pin. He hits the middle of the green and two putts for par. I flare the face of my 60 degree wedge open and hit one of my best shots of the day and have 20 feet for birdie. I barely miss and make my par. We're still tied.

13. This is where my wheels come off and Bill finally starts playing well. Not a good combination. I hit my 5 iron in the water right. Bill plays safely to the collection area left. He putts up the big hill and makes his 2nd putt for par. Great up and down. I hit a great wedge after I take my drop. It almost goes in as it rolls by. Bill is generous and gives me the 3 footer for bogey. I'm down 1.

14. Bill hits a 30 yard slice with his 2 iron. However he was smart about it and aimed 30 yards left before he hit it. I hit a pretty good 3 wood down the middle and we are both in the fairway. Bill hits a great approach shot to 10 feet. I pull my approach to the left side of the green. I have a 60 foot, impossible to get close to the hole, putt. I run it by 10 feet and again miss the comebacker and make bogey. Luckily Bill misses the birdie putt and makes par. I'm down 2.

15. Bill hits another fade. It looks like it might not make it over the water.......shit he cleared it and it's in the front bunker. I pull my 8 iron to the left and put it in the death zone over the green. I try the impossible flop shot and leave it short in the bunker. I hit a good bunker shot and expect the ball to release down the hill to the pin. It stops 15 feet short and I miss the putt. Bill makes bogey and I make double, so now I am down 3.

16. I hit a great drive down the middle and have 50 yards left to the green. Bill goes right again and hits a bad approach that looks like it is going in the impossibly deep bunker on the right. It stops short of the bunker and he's left with an easy pitch. I hit my wedge a little too far and I'm 30 feet from the hole for birdie. If I can make this putt and Bill bogeys, I am right back in this. I proceed to hit my putt way too hard and run it by 10 feet. Bill uses his putter out of the rough and leaves himself 8 feet. Bill makes and I miss, so I lose another stroke.

17 and 18 were uneventful.

The putts were not falling for me and I let myself get frustrated and tried to force the issue. Bill turned it on when he needed it and definitely gutted it out. Bill finished with an 83 and I had an 88. It was about the ugliest 83 I have seen in a long time, but that's Bill's specialty.

Overall the 10 round match was a lot of fun. All the staff in the clubhouse kept asking us who was winning and it was fun telling the story to our friends. I hope we remember to do it again next year. Maybe we won't puss out and actually play for the full $500?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Poker Blahs II and Final Golf Match Saturday

My poker game is horrible right now. My bankroll is approx $800 from a high a year and a half ago of $5500.

I have tried to learn to play No Limit Hold'em by reading books and playing online. I think I have a lot of the basic fundamentals down, but I have some major leaks in my game.

I have a bad habit of winning small pots and losing big ones. When I used to crush the small limit poker games I prided myself on my patience preflop. I was a total nit, because I knew that when I got a good hand, the other players were not paying attention and would pay me off anyways. In 2-4 I used to lose $15-$20 of my initial $100 buy in waiting for the right hand, and then win a monster $50 pot.

In No Limit I am always catching myself trying to "open up" my game by playing suited connectors in late position or defending my blind. It may be a good strategy for the long term, but the players turn over so fast on the 6 player tables that I wonder if I should ever even worry what my image is at the table.

I still have not rid myself of the limit mindset preflop. I still get excited when I draw AA, KK, or AK. After repeated punches in the face, I know in my mind that these hands usually win a small pot with top pair or overpair, or they lose a big one when someone slow plays a set or rivers a flush against me. I try to get excited by JTs or 78s on the button, but I do not seem to flop the monster enough times to keep me from losing money.

I have also been playing bad in the weekly single table tournament games at Greg's. I keep trying to push my opponents off of hands when I have a draw. They keep calling with hands much stronger than I put them on and my draws are not hitting.

Last week I got lucky when Kory, who had 40% of the chips in play with 5 players left, got a call from his wife to go home. We paid him $40 and took his chips out of play. Suddenly after a double up on Kory's last hand when I rivered a straight with my pocket 7's versus his Queens, I was even with the remaining 4 players. I lost some of my stack to Devin, with three players left when my 15 outer did not come in, but then I flopped a set of Jacks against Jason and got all my chips in the middle. Jason had a pair of Aces with a Ten kicker and managed to go runner - runner straight to knock me out on the bubble.

Jeff is running one of his big poker tournaments in a couple of weeks, so maybe I can get my game together and make a big score there.

The final golf match between Bill and I will be this Saturday. Bill owes me $50 from our Masters bet and the renegotiated bet amount on the match is $100. So my worst case is that I lose $50. However in order to add a little more spice, we have agreed that the winner can buy a stick on name plate for our shared locker in the country club. The plate will read "Best Golfer 2007 - Larry Van Quathem" if I win. Since I don't see myself ever winning the Club Championship and getting one of those plates, I'll have to shoot for this one.

I am going to take a chance this weekend by scheduling a golf lesson with my old instructor at Talking Stick at 8:00 AM before our match. My back has felt good so I don't think that will be a problem, I just hope that he makes a minor adjustment and I start hitting the ball really well before the match. In the mean time I plan on practicing my short game today and tomorrow.