2012 Flagstick Shootout

For the second year in a row I spent the last weekend of May in Gananoque, ON at Smugglers Glen golf course for the Flagstick Golf Magazine Spring Amateur Shootout.

2012 was the 4th installment of what has become the premier spring amateur golf tournament on the eastern Ontario, western Quebec golf calendar. The field for 2012 would be the strongest field for a tournament I had ever competed in (by far), so strong in fact, that the C flight, where I would be competing, started somewhere around a 4.6 index. Needless to say, my 6.9 index would be in some stiff competition.

As previously posted in this blog I had a chance to see the course a couple weeks prior and was going into the weekend feeling pretty confident. I had been playing great as of late and I knew the course a lot better than I had a year prior when I the first time I saw the course was round 1.

An added bonus to the 2012 event was that my good friend Chris from Toronto would be making the trip up, being a last minute addition to the field. It made for a nice weekend as his wife, new son and himself came up to Ottawa Thursday night. We managed to play some golf in Ottawa on Friday and then head down to the tournament Saturday morning. With a new son Chris hasn’t really been playing much golf, or any golf, so Friday’s round was his first of the season. I won’t say what he shot on Friday, but I could tell he was a little nervous for the tournament after we got off the course.

We arrived at Smugglers around 9am Saturday morning, which gave each of us enough time to check in, hit some balls, hit some putts and get make it to the first tee. Having played in the event last year I knew that the Flagstick Magazine team and the folks at Smugglers put on a great event, but upon check-in I realized that they had stepped it up a notch for 2012. First off, the players package, wow! I had talked to Scott from Flagstick (@flagstick on twitter) a few weeks prior and he assured me I would be impressed with the players package, and impressed I was.

Packages included:

  • Nike duffle bag
  • Nike Flagstick Shootout hat
  • 2 Sleeves of Nike 20XI  balls
  • Nike golf shirt.
  • 2012 Flagstick Shootout Baggage Tag
I am fairly confident that the players package was very close to equal in cost to the entry fee.
In addition to the great players package, everyone in the club house was raving about the course conditions and how much effort had gone into getting the course in great shape for the event. I can attest that they course was in almost perfect condition.
My tee time came quickly and before I knew it I was on the course. My round started decent. I made an easy par on 1, a bogey out of the bunker on 2, a bit of a crappy bogey on 3, a par on 4, and a par on 5. My front 9 went down hill from there. I literally shanked my tee shots on 6 and 7. I got lucky on 6 that it came to rest on the cart path and not in the hazard, but I still made double. On 7 I made a great bogey after putting my 1st ball in the hazard. On 8 I hit it in the bunker and made a 4, on 9 I ended up in the bunker and made a 5 for a front 9 42. I managed to regroup on the back 9 making all pars from 10 – 14. I got into trouble on 15 when I hit my second into the trees, declared it lost, only to find it a few second later. Chalk that up to a mental error, I made a double. I bogey’d 17 after a bad chip and parred the short 17th. Going onto 18 I was 10 over for the day, only 3 over for the  back 9. This was a round I could live with. That all changed when I hit 3 balls (yes 3) into the trees off the 18th tee. I found none of them and was sitting 7 in the middle of the fairway. I hit 8 to the 150 yard marker, 9 onto the green and 2 putted for an 11, it was rather demoralizing.

After day 1 I was surprised that my 88 was more of less middle of the pack in C flight, with 10 scores behind me and 10 scores above me (scorecard here, note we played 10, 11, 12 as 1, 2,3 and then crossed over). 

In better news, Chris redeemed himself from Friday shooting a 77 and was sitting in the top 5 in B flight.
After Saturday’s round we had a  bite to eat at the Glen House Resort (where we were staying), had the usual post game chats with the other players and retired to our patio to kick back, drink some beers and get ready for Sunday.
I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to follow up Saturdays round. It was a weird feeling going to the first tee on Sunday with such a bad score, even though I didn’t feel like I played all that poorly. Luckily I was paired with fellow tweeter and practice round partner in crime Chris Gropp (@gropper76 on twitter) which helped calm any nerves I might have had about Sunday. My round started the same on Sunday as Saturday in that I made an easy Par on 1. I also hit my approach into the bunker on 2, as I had on Saturday, but the round seemed to deviate from that point. I dropped a 10 footer from the fringe for par on 2, made pars on 3 and 4. Then like Saturday some ugliness creeped into my game. I made back to back doubles on 5 and 6, taking 2 chips to get on the green on 5 and hitting a ball into the hazard on 6. I made a bogey on 7 after playing what I thought was a perfect wedge into the green on my approach, but ended up rolling over the back. I made par on 8 hitting to 15 feet off the tee and I made par on 9 after driving to 75 yards and missing another 15 footer for birdie. I went out  2 shots better than on Saturday and was feeling good. I didn’t have the back 9 start I wanted going 2 over through the first 3 holes. I was now even to what I was on Saturday, 7 over after 12 holes. I parred 13 – 16 and was 7 over of the day going  onto 17. I hit driver off the tee on 17, having nothing to lose, and was about 30 yards short of the green. I hit a wedge to 8 feet and drained the put for  my first (and only) birdie of the tournament. All that was left between me and one of my best rounds of the season was the 18th, oh the 18th. I would like to say I was up to the mental test and over came Saturday to birdie 18 and shoot 77, but the truth is I sent ball number 1 into the trees and shanked my provisional 50 yards in front of me. Luckily I found ball number 1 on the cart path and was able to punch out and continue on down the hole, I made a bogey. I have never  been so relieved to get a bogey before. I was 79 on the day, 9 strokes better than Saturday (Scorecard here).
The 18th at Smugglers. I get cold sweats just looking at it.
My 79 had moved my up the leaderboard to 7th in C flight (2 spots out of the prizes) and 47th overall (out of 72). Chris didn’t have as good of day on Sunday as Saturday, but still managed an 81. He finished 23rd overall and in 6th in B flight. 
I had some great playing partners at the event, playing Saturday with Lance Lepage (@lancelepage on twitter), the 2011 B flight Champ, and David Redmond, who was a last minute addition to the field (literally, he received a call an hour before the tee time asking if he could play). On Sunday, in addition to playing with Chris Gropp I played with Chris Coupland. Thanks to these four guys for making it fun out there on the course when my golf game was trying really hard to suck the enjoyment of it for me.

I want to thank Scott and Jeff from Flagstick, Doug from Smugglers Glen, all the rules officials and all the volunteers for making this such a great event. While I won’t be exempt into the Flagstick Shootout next year I am hoping to build enough of a resume this summer to get me back into the field in 2013.

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