Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Golf Match #6 Bill is in Trouble

Friday, February 1 2008

I was supposed to play a match against my friend Mike for a tournament I entered at Phoenix Country Club. Mike called in the morning to cancel because he had friends flying in to town at the last minute for the Super Bowl and he wanted to hang out with them.

I was all geared up to play so I called Bill to see if he could squeeze it in today. To my surprise, Bill had packed his golf gear in his car and was planning on surprising us at the course and playing with us anyway.

So we start match 6 with the score 3.5 to 1.5. I am coming off once of my worst matches, but I had a good feeling about this match. I had picked up a tip on the Golf Channel and had worked on it with my Leadbetter Swing setter the day before. At the top of my backswing I wanted to concentrate on opening my hips first to start the downswing, while keeping my shoulders closed. This would build up tension that I could unleash at the bottom of my swing. Plus it would keep me from coming over the top and hitting a weak slice. I hit some balls on the range before the round and the move felt good and I was making very solid contact.

I started off the first hole by making a 10 footer for par. Bill missed and I had a one stroke lead. On the second hole, I pushed my 8 iron into the right bunker. I had a horrible downhill lie with a green running away from me and water on the other side. Somehow I hit a perfect shot and left myself about 15 feet for par. I made that one too and Bill made an easy par. Already Bill was a little on tilt as he could see it might be one of those days where I make everything I look at on the greens.

I continued to play well and finished the front 9 with a score of 39 to Bill’s 43. Bill made a comment about how I never shoot two consecutive 9’s in the 30’s so I was motivated to prove him wrong.

I guess I was a little too motivated as I started off #10 with a bogey and I made a bad double bogey on #11 to quickly give him 3 shots back.

On the short par 4 12th, I hit a great drive and wedge to the middle of the green. Bill hit two iron off the tee, but airmailed his approach shot over the green and it settled on the cart path behind the hole. Now the rule is that you take the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole. In this case that would have been in a flower bed behind the cart path. I felt like if Bill wanted to take a drop then that’s where he would have to do it. Bill did not think that was right and I encouraged him to call the pro shop for a ruling. He did and they said drop the ball behind the flower bed, not in it. So he got a bit of break and made a great pitch shot that eased 12 feet by the hole. Bill’s putt looked good the whole way but lipped out at the very end. So I got one stroke back but Bill was glad that he did not fare worse.

We both made par on 13 and we both played the 14th horribly and made double bogey. On the par 3 15th, I pulled my iron shot into the left back bunker. I hit a terrible sand shot that stayed in the trap. My next one was much better and it rolled to 6 feet. Bill had an easy two putt par. I needed this putt to make sure I only give up one stroke. Once again, my putter saved me as I jammed it in the back of the cup.

So now I still have a one stroke lead. We both hit the fairway with our tee shots on 16. I pulled my approach again into the deep bunker on the left of the green. Bill was in better shape short and right of the green. I hit an ok bunker shot and left myself a big left to right breaking 15 footer for par. While I was raking the trap, Bill somehow managed to 3 putt from 15 feet and made double bogey. I did not see what he did, but I could see the steam coming out of his ears. That is what made it so great when I managed to coax in my par putt and increase my lead to 3.

I absolutely killed my drive on 17 and only had 105 yards to pin for my second shot. Bill was 40 yards behind me and sent his approach over the green. I hit my worst shot of the day and totally laid the sod over my wedge shot. I left it 10 yards short of the green and then hit a bad pitch 15 feet by the hole leaving an extremely fast downhill putt for par. Just to totally jam the knife in Bill, I made this putt too for another unlikely par save. Bill dropped another shot and I had a safe 4 shot lead to cruise on home with.

The final score was 81 to 85 and I now lead the contest 4.5 to 1.5. If I win the next match it will be all over. The only thing left to decide will be if we should put the plaque on the locker or create a trophy. The locker room will be remodeled this summer and I’m sure they will not want us putting our crap on the nice new oak lockers. I will only get 2-3 months of enjoyment out of it that way. I think I should find a nice small trophy that we can engrave the results on every year and let the winner keep it.

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