Monday, February 15, 2010

The Golf Challenge Starts for 2010

My friend Bill has been troubled by a bad back for the last few months. He has had a series of shots, x-rays, mri's, and even a bone scan to try and figure out what is wrong. Finally they have settled on a diagnosis of arthritis in his Sacro Iliac Joint. Bottom line is that playing golf will not make it worse, so Bill is going to have to figure out a way to manage the pain.

He started doing his physical therapy exercises every day for the last two weeks and it started to feel better. So good in fact that he was ready to get out on the golf course again.

I have been enrolled in the Club's Match Play Championship. It is a handicapped event and I won my first match a couple of weeks ago. My next match was against Zane who happened to knock me out of this very tournament last year.

I played my match with Zane last Saturday. Bill was ready to come out and play as well. I told Bill that I did not want to start our series at the same time as I was playing Zane because that would be too much to think about on the course. Bill felt pretty good on the range and asked me to reconsider. I tried to be nice and give him a practice round, but I figured I might as well take advantage of his rustiness.

We started on the back nine of Phoenix Country Club which is definitely the harder of the two nines. We all played horrible on our first 9 holes. Zane is an 8 handicap, I am a 9, and Bill is a 7. We shot 46, 45, and 44 respectively. I was hitting the ball decently but making silly mental errors and my putting was atrocious.

Somehow I was still one up on Zane making the turn and only one stroke behind Bill. My bad play continued on holes #1,2, and 3 which I played in 3 over par. Somehow Zane did not make up any ground and Bill double bogeyed #3 which now gave me a one stroke lead.

The momentum of the round changed on #4. I hit a solid drive and had a small dilemna on my second shot. The pin was back right and anything over the green makes bogey or worse for sure. I was in between clubs and decided to go with the shorter one. As is usually the case when you go with the short club, you don't hit it pure and my shot barely made it to the front of the green. Now I have a long 45 foot putt over a hill in the middle of the green. Zane is in birdie range, and Bill is in the middle of the green.

I hit my putt on a good line but too firmly and it rolled past the pin and 10 feet by and just off the green. I was still away. I decided to use the putter again and this time I got lucky and made the putt for a miracle par! Zane missed his birdie putt and made par as did Bill.

For the next 5 holes I played great golf and played them in one under par with two birdies. The last birdie came on #9 when I hit the pin from the fairway and the ball stopped 2 feet from the pin. Bill continued to play badly and played the next 5 holes in 5 over par. I closed Zane out 2 up with one to play after I sank a 30 footer on #8 (our 17th hole) for par.

While Bill and I were playing, we trying to decide on what the bet shouuld be over our 10 round challenge. Last year I lost $500. This year we pretty much decided to play for pride with the added wrinkle that we would keep track of our cumulative scores. For every stroke that I win by, he would owe me $5. Vice versa is also true. So our first round was 83 for me and 90 for Bill so I am up $35.

As for poker, I have been on a hot streak of late. The account is up to $5,200 due to a couple of good runs on Full Tilt's Rush Poker and a 5 for 5 set last night on Pokerstars Double or Nothing Sit and Go's.

Today is President's Day and a holiday for me. My Mom and Dad are coming over to watch Jake and I am going to try my luck at the afternoon tournament at Casino Arizona. We'll see how long I can ride this streak.

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