It’s been several weeks, and you might have assumed (correctly) that I sucked for King of the Lake, so I didn’t bother posting about the rest of it. And that is largely correct.
But I did want to talk quickly about two things. 1) My incredibly bizarre round at Tahoe Vista. 2) Weird trends with King of the Lake.
My weird round.
I’ve described Vista as my do-or-die course, in that I either crush it or get crushed. It’s kinda rare that I just shoot an okay round there. During 2017’s King incarnation, I managed to do both.
After day 1 I was floundering in the bottom half, probably a handful of strokes off the cash line (Zephyr really killed me).
Hole 6: So I start on hole 6, the EASIEST HOLE on the course, and I probably average a three on (a very rare birdie, a very rare bogey). I’d say pros average 2.2 on that hole. Whatever. I FINALLY throw a good drive right up the gut, fly over the basket, but skip up the hill a bit. No problem, maybe a 20′ putt. Except I’m behind three branches. I have to release my putt near the ground (under the first branch), go OVER the second branch, and come down before the guardian branch. And it’s all down a 30 degree slope. Probably the most convoluted 20′ putt I’ve ever had. And I just missed low. Par.
Hole 7: An easy par four. I throw a pretty bad drive but follow it up with a good up. But NO! I somehow skipped 40′ past (on a course that really doesn’t allow for skips). No matter, I bang the putt. Birdie.
Hole 8: A gimme hole that I rarely seem to get. I got it handily. Two birdies in a row.
Hole 9: A really really tough hole that I four as often as I three. I played a “safe” hyzer shot that was supposed to bail out and hopefully give me a 50′ level putt and also take the OB out of the question. I’m a little short of where I wanted, leaving me about 50 uphill with my foot in a bush. BANG! YES! Extra birdie, and for a turkey!
Hole 10: I didn’t have the right disc in my bag to try to deuce this difficult par 3, so I just played a “safe” flick shot, threw a 70′ up shot, and tapped in a par.
Hole 11: A pretty difficult 370′ hole but, for whatever reason, one I play really well. Threw the perfect drive and found myself 2′ from the pin, just long. ACE RUN! Still a birdie.
Hole 12: So at this point, I’m -4 through 6, which is pretty darn good. I step up to hole 12, the second easiest hole on the course. This is a gimme, and what’s more, it’s my bread-and-butter hole. Except I throw my drive into the one pine right in front of me. No matter, the disc slides down and I have a clear up shot. Which I saw off and leave myself no look for par. Okay, settle down. A little touch forehand upshot will give me a slim chance for par but an easy bogey. But I gack it and it hits the guardian trees and slides 20′ down the hill. Whatever, bogey. BUT – I hit the cage and it rolls back 35′. And I miss that. A six. A TRIPLE BOGEY ON THE SECOND EASIEST HOLE ON THE COURSE. WHEN I WAS HAVING A KILLER ROUND! How… what… how does that even happen?
Hole 13: I par. I was really shaken by that six. How do you go from killing a course to blowing up in one hole?
Hole 14: A really tough 3. I throw a pretty good drive but hit the guardian 200′ down the fairway, leaving me a tough high hyzer window to hit. Which I don’t. At all. Still thinking of that 6. I proceed to kick deep into the woods, leaving me nothing but a total 1 in a million desperation forehand roller. And I HIT MY LINE! Only hit the last possible object before curling around toward the pin. Upshot, putt. Double bogey. WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I go from -4 to +1 in three holes? Holy bejeezus.
Hole 15: A pretty easy birdie hole, but I par it. My drive was okay but I didn’t convert the 45′ putt on an elevated basket.
Hole 16: Another must-get. I actually hit the post. Drop-in birdie.
Hole 17: Scenic downhill tunnel shot unless you thumb the hole. I do, which usually gives me anywhere from a long look to a gimme. I leave it early and have a 70′ blind hyzer putt. And damn near make it, but no, settle for a par.
Hole 18: I grip my drive just a touch and it leaves it wide. Should be okay but no, it actually doesn’t quite stay in the dogleg left fairway. In fact, I’m neck-high in a bush. I only have a pitch out, which I throw too far into the other fringe. I pump a terrific third shot, giving me a 60′ save for par over a tree, which I just barely miss low, giving me a straight up bogey.
Hole 1: Now I’m plus 1. WTF happened? This is a pretty easy hole but one I rarely get. I park it for the bird. Okay, at least I’m back to par.
Hole 2: I throw a decent shot and end up at circle’s edge with an uphill putt. Chain out right, settle for par. Grrr.
Hole 3: MY NEMESIS. I swear, I average 4.8 on this par 3. I throw a decent drive, giving me a pretty easy up and down. Only I saw off my up, leaving me a 30′ downhill putt. Actually make the par. Screw you, hole 3.
Hole 4: A really tough par 3, and I throw the drive of my life and put it about 15′ away. Another rare birdie.
Hole 5: A deceptively tricky par 4, and one I’ve had trouble with in the past. I throw a mediocre drive (flipped up in the wind more than I expected) but threw a great second shot, leaving me a 25′ cleanup putt for birdie, which I make.
I finished the round shaking my head. I had eight birdies, probably the most I’d had on this course in one tournament round (I crushed three great rounds there in 2013, but even then I’m not sure I had 8 birdies in any of those rounds). But I had a bogey, a double bogey, and a triple bogey. I probably average even on those three holes, maybe even below. But let’s say I were to have shot a disappointing +1 on them, my round goes from a mediocre rating (unofficially 963) to one of the best of my life (1012).
Needless to say, between that disappointment and my body which was not doing so hot after three rounds of golf, I tanked my final round at Sierra College. I’ve still yet to play an actual good round of golf there. Sucks because I enjoy the course, I just stink at it.
As I detailed here last year, I tend to suck at King of the Lake during odd-numbered years. And that did not change in 2017. My best odd-year finish was way back in 2009, when I came in T13th out of 29 (45% percentile).
2011: T45th out of 59 (76th percentile)
2013: They didn’t have it, which I suppose is fortunate.
2015: 25th out of 36 (69th percentile)
2017: T31 out of 46 (67th percentile) – bear in mind 5 players didn’t even finish the tournament, so I might have done even worse if they had. Worse yet, I can often fall back on “well, I did crappy in open but would have taken 5th in Masters) – nope, wouldn’t have cashed there either.
Contrast that with even years, where I cashed 3 out of the 4 years (two of which were A-tier events) and the fourth year I got injured in my final round.
Next year, I’m playing in an even year, playing Masters, and hopefully get back to my odd (even) ways.