A bit of a delayed post, but a few weekends back was Flagstick Open here in Ottawa. Hosted annually over two days at eQuinelle Golf Club ,the event, previously part of the now defunct BMG Cup Series, attracts most of the top players in the region and 2016 was no exception.
One of the things I like about the event is that they flight it based on the field, not pre set handicap ranges. Which means that depending on the depth of field you could be in different flights each year regardless of whether or not your handicap has changed.
2016 marked my fourth time playing the event. In 2013 I finished 2nd in C flight with scores of 74, 81. In 2014 I finished 2nd in C Flight with scores of 82, 75. In 2015 I struggled in B Flight with scores of 95, 79 and finished 24th. For 2016 I would be playing in B Flight and given that the cut off between A and B was around a 2.5 index, I was going to be in tough with my 6.7.
The previous week I had put together a strong performance at OVGA Intersectionals, posting a 78 at Upper Canada Golf Course (course review to come), so I knew my game was capable of putting up half decent numbers. Round 1 started better than most as I was -1 standing on the 9th tee. A bogey on 9 (a great bogey when you consider I hit my tee shot into a hazard) brought me back to even par. I made some good pars on the back along with 2 bogeys and came to 18th tee at 2 over for the day. Two solid shots on the par 5 set me up with a short pitch and a 5 footer for birdie. The putt dropped and I was home with a 73. As we were only the second group of B Flight on the course I had to wait a while to see where my score would put me on the leaderboard. I sat on top for a while, but in the last few groups there was a 72 and a 68, putting me in third. Still, I would play in the final group on Sunday.
I have come into final rounds before with a lead, or a chance to win and played really conservatively or nervously and it didn’t end well. But on Sunday I felt really comfortable and I think it had a bit to do with the fact that the guys in my group were, without a doubt, much better all around players than I was. By freeing myself from thinking I could beat them, it helped me play better, and it gave me a chance.
My Sunday didn’t start as good as my Saturday. I made a crappy bogey on 1, needed a long par save on 2, another long par save on 4, before another bogey on 5. I made a great birdie from a bunker on 6 and came to 9 at 1 over. A bogey on 9 for the second day in a row gave me a 38 on the front. The guy who 72 on day 1 was also 38 on the front, so I was only one behind him. The guy who shot 68 on day one, was 34 on the front, no one was catching him (in B Flight at least).
My back 9 started with a poor bogey on 10, but then I holed out a bunker shot for eagle on the par 5 11th. I gave those strokes back with a double on the long par 3 13th. Pars on 14, 15, 16 had me at 3 over for the day. I poor drive and failed up and down on 17 cost me another strokes, but I bounced back with another birdie on 18 for a 75.
Rounds of 73, 75 for a 148 is my best two day total in competitive play ever, but it still wasn’t enough. I was a mile behind the leader (he would shoot 67 for a 135 total), but only 1 behind second on the 18th tee. On the 18th green, I had a 2 footer for birdie, but he drained a 15 footer for birdie to secure 2nd place. Overall I was T11, while the winner of B Flight was 2nd overall, he lost the overall title by 2 strokes (winner shot 68, 65).
Adidas Golf Canada and Taylormade Golf Canada really stepped up with some great prizing. For 3rd in B Flight I walked away with a pair of Adidas Tour 360 Boost shoes. First place was a Taylormade M1 fairwaywood and 2nd was a Taylormade M1 hybrid.
As always, the crew at Flagstick Golf Magazine did an amazing job putting on the event. The value of this event is really unmatched by any competitive golf I have previously played. Also, the staff at eQuinelle did a great job having the course in top form and providing a great meal on the Saturday night.
Three 2nd place finishes in four years ain’t bad. Pretty sure I am keeping my calendar open for this event next year.
See you at the turn,