Today was the first round of the great Salt Lake Amateur. It’s a two day tournament at Bonneville GC. They make the course very tough for this event. Bonneville isn’t the longest course in the world, but when they play this tournament the tees are so far back they make new tee boxes and the greens are so slick they putt like they were bikini waxed. If you have a downhill putt say goodbye to it because no matter how lightly you putt it, it’s gone.
I started on the back 9 and I was so nervous I almost had a heart attack on the first tee. That feeling hardly went away all day and I was fighting my anxiety and my hopes of playing well. The last 5 years I’ve started with a double and this year I started with a “good” bogey (whatever that is).
I followed with a decent par and then knocked a 3 wood on the next hole, a par 5, and two putted for an easy birdie. The next hole was a very tough par 4 and I laser beamed a gap wedge in there after a 300+ yard drive uphill. Birdie #2. Hey I’m -1.
The next hole was tough and I was in jail behind some trees and couldn’t hook a 4-iron around from the rough. Ouch, a double. One over. Next I followed the double with a weak bogey on the stretched out 240 yard par 3. The mo isn’t in my favor at that point and I’m at +2.
The next hole is a par 5 and I knock a 3 wood onto the fringe from the left rough and behind some trees. Killer shot. I get up and down for birdie and back to even par. Next hole is a tiny par 3 and I hit the flag stick with my gap wedge and subsequently make my 2 foot birdie putt. Back to even. Par on #9. Even par on the front with 4 birdies.
My back, the front 9, has an easy par 5 first hole. I proceed to 3 putt this very slick downhill green for a bogey. I do not like 3 putts but I’m staying calm. The 2nd hole (my 11th) they put the tees WAY up to entice people to drive this 390 yard par 4. I’m very confident in my driving so what the hell… I drove and put the ball about 20 yards short where I got up and down for birdie. This round is shaping up to be a roller coaster ride.
The next hole, a par 4, they have the pin about 5 feet from the back of the green. I hit PW and spin the damn ball from the middle of the green to 1 inch inside the fringe on the front. I’ve got about a 100 foot putt that breaks 15 feet, is downhill at the end and I can’t put my putter on the ball squarely because of the fringe. The result is another 3 putt. Dammit. I really hate 3 putts.
Two holes later I fly a lob wedge to the par 5 fifth hole (my 14th) and the ball stops about 8 feet from the cup where I drain another birdie putt. Two holes later I birdie my 16th hole and I’m realizing I’m at -1 for the AM and I start to fight the gag mechanism.
A solid par on 17 keeps me at -1 going into the last hole. I knock my tee shot on the green where I have a slick 15 footer for a 70. I’ve never shot 70 before, especially in a big tournament. In the middle of my putt my brain decided to give the putt a little extra and make sure the ball got to the hole. It not only got to the hole it went by 6 feet. Now I have a fast as hell par putt for a 71 which I miss. Another 3 putt.
3 putting the last hole for a 72 is tough but it was really an amazing round for me. 7 birdies in the biggest state AM and even par on day 1? Heck yeah! Oh let’s not forget to mention I won a bunch of cash from my buddies/opponents in my group. And my current 3.2 handicap (yeah it’s gone up one lately) rounded out to a 4 which was the highest handi in champ flight. So I’m sitting very pretty at even par gross and a net 68 in champ flight.
Tomorrow will be very fun and it will certainly be a test of my nerves. I was nervous all day, to the point of shaking. If I can post even a half decent round I’ll be in the money.
The attached image is the “round report” of the new online stats program I’m writing. Soon it will be a FREE component of all members of my other site: The Golf Space.