Its that time of year again, club championship season. In the Ottawa area most clubs host their championships during the month of August, with a few waiting until after labour day.
My home club, Metcalfe Golf & Country Club, hosted its championships last weekend. I entered the event as defending champion and looking for my 3rd Championship at the club (also won in 2010).
I have a history of playing inconsistently, in general, but also specifically at our club championships. In 2010 I shot a 78 on day one to open up a huge lead, only to shoot 87 in the pouring rain on day 2 and win by 1. In 2011 fell way back on day 1 with an 86, only to shoot 75 on day 2 (finished 3rd). My play got a bit more consistent in 2012 (78, 76) 2014 (78, 79) and 2015 (79, 80), but overall I am still good for a high round once in a while.
Registration was down for the Club Champs this year, and even though the field in the A flight is always small, it was especially small this year with only 5 players signing up (in reality the club has less than 10 A players in total). Although the field was small, there were some solid guys teeing it up, including a new member who carries a 4.5 index (to my 5.3) and would be the favorite on paper.
As with last year, I wasn’t coming into the tournament with a lot of practice. I had just returned from family vacation in PEI where I did play twice, but would hit my first tee shot without playing a hole of golf in a week. The lack of preparation showed as I sent my opening tee shot into the woods on the right, which is basically jail since the hole is a severe dogleg right. Surprisingly I punched out, hit to the green and made a 20 footer for par.
I doubled 4, but birdied 5 and made it around the front 9 in 3 over 38. All was good until I hit my second on 10, into the woods, an unplayable and poor wedge shot later I leave the green with a triple. I came to 18 at 8 over for the day and really didn’t want to walk off with an 80, given how well I had played, minus one hole. The par 5 18th is not overly long, but requires a good tee shot as a hazard down the left and a blind shot down the right can lead to some big numbers. At 140 yards out from the green there is a creek and beyond the creek the fairway narrows considerably and anything left of right is woods bound. The green slopes fairly severely from back to front, and the front left of the green can be nasty, so of course this is where the pin is on Day 1. I played the hole just about as good as one can, drive down left side, hybrid 30 yards short of green, chip to just below the hole and tap in for birdie. A 79 on day 1 had me feeling pretty good.
To my surprise, I was the overnight leader by 2.
The rain rolled in overnight and it was still raining when I woke up Sunday morning. Day 2 was going to be a grind. I also knew that I was prepared and experienced playing in bad weather, so it would be to my advantage.
When I arrived at the course for Day 2, expecting a 12:30 tee time I was informed that due to the rain the morning tee times had been cancelled and the second round would be a shotgun start at 12:15, when the weather was suppose to be better.
In addition to the rain overnight, the A flight lost one player, meaning only 4 were left and we would play as a foursome on Day 2 (normally we play as threesomes). We started on the par 4 4th. I found it a bit strange they didn’t have the final groups of the men’s and women’s tournament start on 1, but it was what it was.
The second round started fairly quietly, I made pars on 4, 5, 6, 7 and my lead was maintained at 2. The rain started on the 7th green. By the 8th tee it was a downpour that wouldn’t stop until the 14th hole. I bogeyed 8 and my lead was down to 1. Following the 9th, playing poorly and soaking wet, two of the competitors called it quits. On 12 I hit my second well over the green, leading to a bogey and we were all tied. On the par 3 13 I made a good 2 putt par, and my competitor made a bogey after finding the bunker (the very wet bunker) with his tee shot. On 14 we both hit poor approach shots, I chipped to a foot and made par, he made a bogey, 2 shot lead restored. We both hit bad tee shots on 15, I would salvage a bogey, he made a double, 3 up. We both parred 16 and bogeyed 17. I would par 18 and he made a bogey giving me a 4 stroke lead with 3 to play. The last 3 holes we played identical, bogey, bogey, par. With a par on 3 (my 18th), I carded a 78 and won my third Metcalfe Golf & Country Club Championship.
Someone took a photo, if I ever get my hands on it I will post it.
Next up is the Ottawa Valley Golf Association Tournament of Champions on September 26th at Greyhawk.
See you at the turn,