Lift, Clean, and Place--Club Championship Edition

It's been awhile. My apologies for that. There's certainly been plenty to write about, but I've been too busy either announcing or playing golf. Tough life! That's my excuse anyway. So what compelled me to restart the blog now? My terrible play at the Lancaster CC Club championship last weekend did.

Let me start by saying I did not compete in the Championship flight even though I qualified with a 5.7 index. I knew I had no chance from the back tees against the 8 plus/scratch handicaps at the club, and the other 10 guys who are close to scratch. That point was validated by the winner firing a final round 63 to overcome a four shot deficit to win. Great shooting and congratulations Mike Picillo. I decided to play in the First flight to battle out for some pro shop credit.

The first round I was paired with a cagey veteran and really good play, Paul , and a fellow slightly younger than me that I have played with before. It was going to be a comfortable threesome, but the younger guy withdrew. I'm guessing the 45 minute weather delay we had influenced that decision as it pushed our tee time to 11:40. The entire day gone. It was just Paul and me, which was fine. I wasn't nervous and I had a very good warm up session. Things felt good. Then we began play.

I hit a slight fade, sacrificing distance for accuracy. The ball didn't fade on the first hole and ended up right behind a tree. Pitch out. I played my 3rd show about 18 feet below the hole and my putt for par was headed right in the cup, but popped out. Bogey. The 2nd hole saw a slightly better drive, but short leaving a 6 iron into the green. The second short came up short into the wind and my 3rd was to the back of the green. My 25 foot par putt was headed right for the bottom of the cup, but again popped put of the cup. Another bogey. On the third hole, my drive found a resting place behind a tree --again. Another bogey. Not a great start. And the rest of the round went that way. I shot 83 which was a miracle because I scored nothing higher than a bogey. The problem is I had 11 of them, good for near last in the flight.

I was not feeling great at all about it, but was determined to play better on Sunday. It would take a career round to have any shot of winning (my best at LCC is a 73), but that wasn't my focus. I didn't want to finish last!  My range warm up felt good like the day before, which kind of worried me. I was playing with two older members that had bested me the day before (Side note: Old man golf works well. Hit it straight two times, wedge it tight and make a putt). My opening tee shot was short, but in the fairway. My second shot though from 148 was a SHANK! What the hell. I was right of the green, right of a bunker. I told myself "okay, just hit a good shot here, two putt, and move on". Well, I hit a great 60 degree wedge to 10 feet above the hole. The par putt, you guess it, lipped out. Bogey.  The next hole was different. I flushed a drive, delivered my second shot hole high right to 25 feet and just missed birdie. Tap in par (which you have to finish each hole with the ball in the bottom of the cup.). I then birdied the 3rd hole. Things felt better. Until the 6th hole anyway.

I smashed my drive up the left side, flirting with the tree line. That flirtation turned into a full out macking (that's what the kids call it) as the ball was thrown down and left, behind a tree. Another one, my 4th of the tournament! I punched out. My third shot found a divot, which resulted in disaster of a 4th shot, with the end result a triple bogey! I said oh well. it's over now. I parred 2 of the next three holes to finish my outward nine with a 41. But it was different than the first round 42. I was hitting it much better, knew where the ball was going, and had one terrible hole. I was determined to finish strong.

And I did. A birdie on 10. Near miss for birdie on 11. A bogey on 12 was my only hiccup until the 16th when I missed a tap in (I guess it wasn't a tap in since I missed it). I ended up shooting +2 on the back, which was very close to being E or -1. It was a round of 79, four shots better on the scorecard than the day before but miles better in the feel department. It's funny how the scores could be close, but also miles apart.

I looked at the numbers from the weekend and learned something about my game. I'm not nearly as good of a ball striker as I think I am. I drove it terribly, finding a total of 13 fairways out of 30 chances (only 3 par 3's at LCC). I only hit four on the first day and 9 the second day. Now, there were a few that were okay in the rough, but the 4 tree balls were significant. I'm not as concerned with the driving as I am with ball striking. Greens in regulation a putrid 11 of 36. That's right, I only hit 11 greens in regulation. What the hell did I expect? It's a good thing I'm a decent putter (60 putts) or I would have finished last. I immediately texted Jeff Mietus to set up a lesson. I haven't had one in awhile, but that is not only going to change, but it's going to become a habit if I want to improve those numbers.

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