Wednesday, January 02, 2008

More Golf Success

Match Number 4 of the Bill vs Larry challenge.

I went into this match with a 2.5 to .5 lead and I'm coming off of a flare up of the herniated disk in my low back.

I made sure to work on my short game while on vacation and it was easier on my back while I was in rehab. It was a good thing I did, because the greens were running really fast at Phoenix Country Club on this day.

I started out fast by making birdie on the first hole. I also birdied the fifth hole to give myself a two stroke lead.

Starting on the 7th hole I had a stretch of 6 holes where I played them in 10 over par. I was still afraid to go full speed because of my back, but I didn't feel like I hit the ball that bad. I just made some small mistakes and because the course was playing so difficult, I was punished every time.

After that stretch of golf I went from being up two strokes to down two strokes. That is when I started to get more comfortable and realized that my back was probably going to hold up and I could swing with a little more freedom. I did not make any more birdies, but I did make more pars and stopped making double bogey.

I picked up strokes on 11 and 12 to get back to even. I missed a short birdie putt on 15 but still picked up a stroke to lead by one with 3 holes to go. We both bogeyed 16 and the lead was still one going into 17. I had to lay up on my approach shot to the par 4 green and hit my wedge to 15 feet but it was a scary down hill putt. Bill had put his approach into the left greenside bunker.

Bill had a tough bunker shot. The pin was tucked close to the lip of the bunker and the green was running away from him. He tried to baby it and play the perfect shot, but he left it short in the bunker. Bill hit again and this time he hit it 15 feet by the hole. He just missed the putt for bogey and made double. I managed to coax my ball in two putts for bogey and once again I had a two stroke lead going into 18.

Normally I would hit 3 wood off the tee to stay short of the fairway bunkers. However I had been hitting the 3 wood like shit all day and I had hit the driver pretty well. I decided to be aggressive and hit the driver. I found the fairway and then laid up with a solid 5 iron. Bill's second shot went left into the trees.

We were both 111 yards away. I asked who was away, because I wanted to see what Bill did before I hit my shot. Bill tried to get me to hit first. Then one of our playing partners mentioned that Bill had tree trouble and not much of a shot. He was trying to keep his situation quiet and keep the pressure on me.

I reminded myself that pressure is self imposed, pulled my pitching wedge out and went through my preshot routine. I hit a great shot to 8 feet for birdie.

After I hit my shot, Bill then turned his club around and had to hit his ball left handed. Needless to say the ball did not go very far and Bill had no chance to catch me.

I finshed with an 85 and Bill shot 89. Now I lead 3.5-.5. My quest to complete this bet without giving Bill a single win, is almost complete.

Bill's swing is so bad right now, it's a miracle if he breaks 85. As long as my back holds up, I should have a really good chance.

The funny thing is, that Bill could solve all his problems by going to range a couple of times with the "Inside Approach" swing aid I have hanging in our locker at PCC. I hope he doesn't figure it out until after the bet is over.

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