First round of this year’s match play at one of my clubs… The guy I played against was a very nice chap and putted lights out. He didn’t miss a putt until 17…
1. Par 5: I par, he birdies and I’m one down
2. Par 4: I bogey out of a sanded divot in the fairway, he pars. Two down. Uh oh. But I’m totally calm because I know match play is a marathon, not a sprint.
3. Par 3: I par and he gets up and down for par. Two down.
4. Par 4: I skank my tee shot but stay out of the hazard, he goes in the hazard. I par. One down.
5. Par 5: I skank my drive almost in the hazard and the hack-out 9-iron too. Somehow make the green in reg and barely miss a birdie. Two pars, still one down.
6. Par 3: I miss right and he misses left. I have lots of green to work with and he has none. I get up and down to bring the match to square.
7. Par 4: I par, he bogeys. I’m one up.
8. Par 3: I push my tee shot right and so does he. We both get up and down for par. One up.
9. Par 4: I knock my drive in a hazard, hack out and make a great par. He bogeys from the fairway and I’m two up.
10. I pull my 5-iron into the hazard (in case you haven’t figured it out..this course is hazard on both sides of almost every hole). I bogey and he pars to go to one up.
11. Par 4: Two pars, one up.
12. Par 3: Two pars, one up.
13. Par 5: I knock a 9-iron onto the fringe and get up and down to go two up.
14. Par 4: I almost drive the green but pin high left in a dirt hole. Hack it out to the wrong tier and 3 putt for a bogey. Back to one up.
15. Long par 4: I miss the green and he gets up and down for par to beat my bogey. All square.
16. Par 4: He makes a miracle par from a tree stump and I have a ho-hum par. All square.
17. Par 4: He’s getting tight under the collar but I remain calm. He pulls his tee shot into the left hazard. I it the fairway with a 3-iron and make par with a mud ball to go one up with one to play.
18. Par 3: We both pull our tee shots but I get up and down for par and he doesn’t.
I win the match 2 up on 18.
Strange, strange round. I shoot 73 with a terrible driving and putting performance. The two strengths of my game are putting and driving. I had 33 putts (not good) and missed all but one fairway with the driver. What helped me win this match was solid iron play and getting up and down around the greens. Up and downs are probably my weakest part. So strangely enough my weaknesses were my strengths today. Welcome to golf. I’ll never figure it out. It will all be different tomorrow.