Coming into the 2015 Championships I had a pretty good track record in the event with a win in 2010 (first year I competed in A flight), runner up in 2012 and runner up in 2014. I was 3rd in 2011 and missed 2013 due to work commitments.
Even with my A game sitting on the bench while my golf game takes a backseat to child rearing I knew I had a shot this year for a couple reasons:
- Although I haven’t played well this year I also haven’t played poorly. My decent play has also been surprisingly consistent. Of my 24 rounds 17 of them have been between 78 – 81, with 4 being worse and 3 being better. I knew I could put up two rounds in the high to low 80s, which would be competitive.
- Metcalfe doesn’t have a deep field of A players, nor does it have any A players who have separated themselves from the pack. For 2015 the club only has 11 players that would qualify as A flight (handicap under 9.0). Of those, three are not active, which leaves 8 players, of which 5 signed up to play. The handicaps of the 5 ranged from 5.1 to 8.5.
The tournament was a two day stroke play event August 29 – 30, with both gross and net winners. The club runs all championships except Juniors on the same weekend. So, even though only 5 A players were competing for the overall club championship, there were also B, C, Senior, Super Senior and Women’s divisions playing at the same time. All these players competing for their respective club championships was a recipe for slow play, but both days ran fairly smoothly at about 4.5 hours.
Day 1 went as planned/hoped and I got around the course without any major disasters. I made a double on the par 5 15th which was the only blemish of the day (I make enough bogeys that I don’t really consider them blemishes, but rather just where my game is at). I finished with a 79. With only 2 groups of A players I didn’t have to wait long to see where I landed on the leaderboard. I was surprised to see I was up 2 with a second player 3 back. The 4th and 5th players were way behind, so much that the 5th place layer dropped out, meaning we would play as a single foursome in Day 2.
Round 2 started well as I made par at 1, bogey on 2, par on 3, par on 4, and par on 5. I missed a short par putt on 6, found a bunker that lead to a bogey on 7 and went to the 8th with a 2 stroke lead, same as when the day started.
A bit shaken after back to back bogeys (and watching a 4 stroke lead turn into 2), I hit a really poor tee shot that required a punch out back to the fairway. My third found the green about 20 feet above the hole. The smart play would have been to lag my par putt and tap in for bogey, but I got aggressive and left myself with a 4 footer coming back up the hill which I missed, double bogey, 2 stroke lead gone. I made par on 9 for a front nine 40 (par 35).
Through 27 holes the tournament had turned into a two man race between myself and the 2014 champion. The other two players, including the competitor who started the day only 3 back had fallen off the pace considerably.
I started the back nine with pars on 10 through 15 and went to 16 with a 5 stroke lead. I knew I had more or less closed the tournament out, but give that it was stroke play, I also knew anything could happen, and it almost did.
I made a bogey on the par 4 16th after a poor dive, 4 stroke lead
I made a bogey on the par 3 17th after poor tee shot. 4 stroke lead
I hit a poor drive on the par 5 18th and was a fairway over. The smart play was to lay up in front of a water hazard (a 9 iron away) and take my third from 150. Instead I tried to hit a 5 iron over trees and over the water hazard to the 100 yard stake. I didn’t get the ball up, it hit a tree square on a came back 20 yards. I now had a longer, but somewhat easier shot to get to the 100 and pulled it off the second time. I was now lying 3 at the 100. Lucky for me, the closest competitor also got into trouble and was lying 3 about 50 yards out from the green. I hit my 4th to 20 feet and I knew I had won. I two putted for bogey and shook everyone’s hands. My back nine 40 (par 37) gave me 80 on the day and an overall score of 159.
It looks like I have a title to defend in 2016.
As a side note, my 2014 runner up score was 158, my 2012 runner up score was 154 and my winning score in 2010 was 168 (yikes).
See you at the turn,