I slept poorly last night. I was too excited about having played well and shooting with a couple of world champions today. All told I probably slept for 6 hours, interrupted halfway by an hour where I couldn’t sleep at all. So when I got up, I didn’t feel bad, per se, but I certainly didn’t have that “I feel great” swagger that I had the first day.
By the time I got to the course to play (I had dropped Skot off at 8am, then drove back home to rest before my 1:14 tee time), the winds had picked up and it was probably 10 mph with 20 mph gusts. Certainly not terrible, but enough to certainly come into play, particularly when it was gusty. This was exactly the kind of wind I was hoping for – I’ve become decent at playing safe, conservative golf in the wind.
I step up with these world class pros and, on the very first throw, throw a shot so terrible, so doomed for failure, it wasn’t even funny. It goes OB quite early. I follow it up with a tremendous up shot, but miss the 40′ putt to save my par. Bogey. Well, that’s no good (I started yesterday with a birdie on the same hole). But the next hole, I throw some great shots and card a par (a hole I bogeyed yesterday).
We’re going to do some skipping. Over the following 8 holes, I just played solid, error-free golf. I parred the next 8. Pars aren’t great (especially when you consider that I was -2 on that loop yesterday) but with the wind, it was good. In fact, I was telling Nate that I was playing my OWN game, not competing with them. They were getting the tough birdies, and I was okay with pars. So after those ten holes, the two world champs had a few strokes on me (Paul probably more than just a few) but I was beating the other guy on the card, who was a 1000 rated player.
Then Skot came to visit and the wheels came off. I’m almost positive he had nothing to do with it, but as a precaution, he won’t follow me tomorrow (nor I him, as I personally witnessed 7 of his 10 OBs in this tournament so far). On hole 11 I had a good roller that unfortunately got windblown in a rough way, had a pretty good up, but then missed the 22′ putt. Oh well, it was the first missed putt of the tourney, so no big deal. Next hole – great drive, good up, missed the 18′ putt. What? My putting had been so solid. What was going on? Next hole? OB on my second throw, I take a bogey 6 (on a hole I birdied yesterday). Worse yet, I can’t even blame the wind – I threw a wide hyzer that flipped flat and never came back into play. Despite a very very good recovery up and an almost 40′ putt, I was stuck with the bogey.
I follow it up with a par on a hole everyone else birdies (things are NOT looking good all the sudden) and on the next hole, despite having the best drive in the group, I card a 5 because of a lousy 2nd shot and a missed 24′ putt (W. T. F?) So in 5 holes, I card four bogeys. This is a shame because the first 10 holes, I had only 1. Hole 16 is a tough birdie and I par it. So here it is, 16 holes in, and I can’t putt and I haven’t thrown a birdie yet (despite throwing 7 yesterday). What a difference a day makes.
Hole 17 was one of my birdies yesterday, and I throw a similar shot that hyzers out a bit early. I’m left with a 25′. Screw this, I’ve missed too many. I hit it. Good, finally got a birdie. Hole 18 was the one that cost me my best round when I took a birdie hole and threw out of bounds, carding a 4. Today? I parked the hole. So at least I finished strong.
Because of the wind (and slight ratings inflation b/c of the caliber of player), my round was rated 980, which I feel is a little high, but I also did play 13 good holes, so maybe it’s not too far off. I’m just playing against myself and the course, not against the other players. That mentality is helping me shoot well and keep cool.
I’m currently tied for 21st, which is considerably better than I thought I’d be after what I thought was only an okay round. Right now I’m above the prospective cash line, but just barely. I’ve still got to play good, keep the mistakes to a minimum (so far, only 5 OBs in two rounds, which isn’t stellar but is pretty good). Gotta take advantage with some good putting, and ignore the wind.
So far, though, this road trip is going exactly as I’d hoped.