Another Salt Lake City Amateur is in the books. This week was a tough one. I had two pretty bad falls hiking on a volcano in southern Utah on Monday, Memorial Day. My right shoulder was tweaked pretty bad, to the point where I couldn’t move my right arm for a few hours. Starting Wednesday my bad back started to seize up. I babied the back, took lots of ibuprofen and slept on the floor. That got me into good enough shape to play the tournament.
I look forward to this tourney more than any other during the year because it is so challenging. The pressure, mostly self imposed, is high. I didn’t want to be coming in to the tournament with a bum arm and bad back…
I decided the best way to stay loose was to walk, but I though pushing my golf cart would be a problem on those steep hills at Bonneville Golf Club. I dug out a battery powered push cart called the Go-Kart, which I reviewed a couple of years ago. That was a great choice and the cart made the effort of walking much easier. I couldn’t ride a golf cart because sitting makes the back tighten up.
Other than my really bad short game I played well on the first day. I had three birdies, the most notable on the very difficult 9th. That hole is rated one of the toughest par-3′s in the state and it is nearly impossible to hit the green. I knocked a 6-iron to about two feet and made a birdie. As mentioned, my bad short game hurt me. On about three holes I had to chip twice and on several other missed greens I failed to get up and down. Final score was a +4 76. In my flight that was only two shots off the lead.
Day two started out very well and my putting, the best part of my game, was saving my ass. I made it clear to the 8th hole with seven pars in a row. On #8 I misjudged the carry to the elevated green and ended up short on an upslope. As bad as the short game was, it was a guaranteed bogey. Fortunately on the front I actually bettered the tee shot from the day before, knocking my ball to ONE FOOT. I’ve never even made par on this damn difficult hole in the Salt Lake Amateur and this weekend I made birdie, twice. Unreal.
Walking to the 11th tee I felt a twinge in my back. Uh oh. Not good. I then hooked a hybrid so badly that it went out of bounds. I couldn’t get my back into the swing and the all-arm swing hooked it. I had to tee up a 2nd ball. That was the beginning of a very bad back, and back nine. Double on 11. On 12 I had 185 pin from the right rough. I hit an 8-iron which went over the green to deep rough. How the hell I hit a 210 yard 8-iron is beyond me. Several times that sort of long clubbing happened. The ground was hard and I didn’t read the bounces or flyer-lies right.
I made two more doubles on the back. One due to a smother-hooked drive (the back again) and one due to reaaaaalllly bad chipping. I threw a birdie in on the par-5 16th, putting from about 25 feet off the green. No chip and made birdie. I hit two straight drives on the back, but getting through the ball was very hard. The 2nd good drive on the back was the 18th. I made a par to limp home with a 43 on the back after shooting an even-par 36 on the front.
My back, and subsequently the rest of my game, melted on the final nine today. I’m a bit gutted. I may not have won the tournament today (would have had to shoot 70 to tie the leader), but I’d hoped to be very competitive. The fall and subsequent back issues from the hike, and my fragile short game confidence did me in.
I had a blast with my buddies and won’t forget the cumulative three feet from the pin I was for both rounds on the par-3 9th hole. I also won’t forget my short game issues. I’m going to get some short game lessons, PRONTO.