This past weekend the Ottawa Valley Golf Association hosted its annual City & District Championships in Arnprior, ON at the Sand Point Golf Course. Traditionally, the event has been hosted mid week in August, but they tried to shake things up this year with a June date on a weekend. Additionally, they hosted the A Class, B Class and Ladies all together.
The A Class field was set at 64 of the regions top players. While there were some absent names (which is how I got into the field), most of the notable players from the region were in attendance. For the A Class, the event consisted of two days of stroke play at Sand Point, followed by a cut to the lowest 24 and ties, who would play the final round at Rivermead Golf Club on the Monday.
2016 marked my fourth time playing in the event. I finished 3rd overall in the B Class in 2008 and 5th overall in the B Class in 2009. In 2014 I missed the cut in the A Class (T52 /70). For 2016, my goal was to make the cut, which I knew was going to be hard, given the state of my game and the competition.
I wasn’t thrilled about the golf course selection, given it was over an hour from the east end of Ottawa where I live, the Sand Point isn’t exactly one of the regions top courses. But I made the best of it by bringing Mary and Simon along for the weekend, instead of driving back and forth each day (if you have never spent much time in Arnprior its a pretty little town, but most of it is under construction right now). All in all the course was ok in the end. Conditions were firm, but the greens received shots ok (at least on Day 1). My only big complaint was the lack of sand in the bunkers, which made bunker shots rather risky.
Day 1 started rough for me and didn’t get much better for the front 9. I hit my opening tee shot OB, doubled 1 and 3 and tripled 4, but birdied 2 and 9 for a 7 over 42 (par 35). The back 9, to my surprise, and likely my playing partners, went much better, minus a mental error on 18 that turned a bad tee shot into a bad choice into a double. I came home in 3 over 38 (par 35), for an 80 (par 70) on Day 1, putting me in T37. I have to make up ground on day 2, which I thought I could do.
I didn’t hit my opening tee shot OB on day 2, but I didn’t open with a string of bogeys, followed by a triple on 3 (I played the 185 yard par 3 5 over over 2 days!). No birdies on the front 9 and I was 9 over 44 through 9. The back 9 wasn’t great either, a double on the short par 3 11th and no birdies lead to a 6 over 41, 85 total. 2 Day total of 165 was good enough for T47/64.
The crazy thing is I hit the ball much more consistent on Day 2, but had a few good bounces and the putts dropped on Day 1. Day 1 should have been a 78 or 79, day 2 likely could have been a 80 or 81 had a few shots gone my way. Even those numbers wouldn’t have been good enough to make the cut, as in the end 156 was needed to move onto round 3.
The most interesting aspect of the event for me was that coming off 18 on day 2 my group was notified that we missed our time and were assessed a stroke penalty. Having just shot 85 I didn’t really care, but the guys I was playing with insisted on appealing the decision. The agreed upon facts were that we missed our time by 9 minutes and were 24 minutes behind the group in front of us. Our argument was that we were right behind the group in front of us until 16, where one of our players got into trouble. By the time we putted out on 16, the group in front was finishing 18. The appeal committee took into consideration that it was very hot out (about 40 with humidity), so our ability to hustle was limited. Also, the group in front of us were in carts, while we were walking, so our ability to catch up to them (the 17 was a par 3 and the 18 a short par 4) was also limited. In the end we won the appeal, which I was surprised, yet grateful of. I must say that the OVGA handled the entire situation very professionally, regardless of the outcome. I am going to give a little more thought to the whole notion of slow play penalties in competitions and put a post together.
Despite my play, it was a decent weekend. The OVGA put on a great event. This years championship was probably the best run of the 4 I have played in and I look forward to seeing them continue to raise the bar with the event in the coming years.
My next event will be the OVGA Intersectionals where I will be representing Metcalfe Golf for the 8th time in 9 years at the event (missed last year due to a work commitment). That event happens July 10th at Upper Canada Golf Course.
See you at the turn,