I won’t be writing as long of a post with hole by hole accounts as I did after day one. In fact, I was so mentally and physically drained after the tournament that it has taken me almost two days to get to posting this.
Going into round two I had a number in my head. That number, 70, was what I thought I’d have to shoot in order to break into the prize money. As it sits I don’t know if my estimate was right and I didn’t hit that number, or even close. I shot 78 with seven bogeys and one birdie.
Challenge #1: The pairing
There’s this guy in my league at my club who is, shall I say, loud. When you have 100 guys in the room, his voice is the one everyone hears. He’s in your face, obnoxious and one of those “personal space invaders.” He’s also very hot tempered on the course. He’s a club thrower, flag stick thrower and has been known to pull a Woody Austin and break his clubs over his head.
I was paired with this guy.
I dealt with him fine and I don’t feel that his behavior had any bearing on my game, good or bad, except on one hole. On one par-3 I had a 6-iron in my hands. He flew over the green, threw his club and announced to the group that he couldn’t believe he’d flown an 8-iron over the green. That stuck in my mind and I gagged on my 6-iron, thinking I had too much club. Bogey.
Challenge #2: The conditions
The course, Bonneville, was in absolutely spectacular condition. This course has some of the best greens in the state year after year, and these greens this weekend may have been the best I’ve putted, ever. I really don’t think I missed a putt in two days under five feet. If you started it online and with proper pace, it was going in. No doubts. No bouncing or drifting off line.
My speed on my lag putts was a bit on the aggressive side though and I kept giving myself those five footers. Unfortunately many of those five footers, which I never missed, were for bogey.
The rough had been grown in for a good couple of weeks. The grass was so long that it was seeding. I must have missed about eight fairways by no more than one foot. The ball goes in that stuff and nestles down and you have NO idea how it will come out of those lies, or in fact IF it will come out at all. As I missed greens in regulation, the ball would go into that deep grass too. Chipping from grass like that is hell. You subconsciously know if you don’t swing hard enough the ball isn’t going to move. So you hit the chip too hard and leave yourself a 20 footer for par. That was the story all day for me. 20 foot par putts and 5 foot bogey putts, which I never missed.
On the 16th hole (my 7th since I started on the back first) I was sitting at +3 on the round and feeling pretty good. I had a 4-iron to this par five which normally requires fairway wood to reach. I pushed my shot slightly. I knew I’d missed the green by just a few feet. When I got up there the two players in my group and I could not find my ball. I was getting ready to go back and replay, but then we found it. The ball was three inches from the fringe of the green, in a slight depression in the ground. The grass was long to begin with, and it was obvious that the mower missed this spot. I’m three inches from putting, yet my ball is in 10 inch deep grass.
All I could do was open up my lob wedge and swing out of my shoes. I almost broke both my wrists and let out a loud grunt when I hit the ball. The ball did come out, went across the green and to the opposite fringe. From there I putted twice and made par. Despite that being a “good” par, being so close to a par-5 green in two should be a guaranteed birdie. This was the story most of the day.
The good – What I can store in my memory banks for next year
My history in this tournament is one of shooting 72-73 in day one and being right in the hunt. Then on day two I melt down, throw up, gag, and shot in the 80’s.
I didn’t do that this year. This year marks the first time I’ve shot both rounds in the 70’s in fact. I had no nerves or butterflies in round two. I also had no nuclear meltdowns in round two like I have in the past. I worked hard and ground out what I could get out of my play and the conditions. All that said, my 78 was a disappointing number, but as solid as it could have been.
One double bogey in 36 holes
I wanted to play consistent this year and that I did. I only had one double bogey in 36 holes in US OPEN conditions (deep rough and fast hard greens). That double bogey was a freak incident anyway, when I had a bogey putt circle around the hole 420 degrees (yes all the way around and more) before it jumped out of the hole, stuck its tongue out and gave me the bird.
Tamed that damn #9 par three
Last year ONE hole knocked me out of the tournament. I came into the incredibly difficult #9 at -3 after eight holes on the first day. I carded a triple bogey. The 2nd day I carded a double bogey. I shot 10 over for the tournament, but five over for that hole.
This year was a different story. I played the hole completely different. I chose to be short of the pin, or even the green at all costs. This allowed me to make to solid chips and 1-putt for pars. I finished that hole even. Very positive to take into next year.
Once again this tough tournament, the conditions and a bit of the pressure had the best of me. I still haven’t cracked into the money or played to a level I’d hoped.
I probably shouldn’t be too unhappy, based on the fact that only five days before this tourney I had the shanks. Fighting through that and posting two rounds in the 70’s in those conditions is an achievement in itself.
I bring some hope into next year based on the good I got from my rounds and my more consistent play.
I’m going to keep playing in this f*&ker and one of these days I’ll break into the prize money.
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