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First Tournament of the Season
Golf is a Humbling Game
The Delaware State Golf Association (DSGA), now merged with the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP), held its’ opening tournament last Monday-Tuesday. The “Spring Classic” is a two-man, net stableford total over 36 holes. Striker and I were in the First Flight and tee’d off at Rehoboth Beach Country Club Monday afternoon. I like the Rehoboth course and my career round there is a 73 shot in a Pro-AM two years ago. Round 2 was at Kings Creek Country Club, a course with several “quirky” holes that I don’t really appreciate. I’m not sure I’ve ever broken 80 there.
You may remember that I played in this tournament in 2021 with Mr. Robel’ - here’s the link to that story: The DSGA Spring Classic 2021. We came in 4th place in our flight and I was looking forward to a strong finish this year. I’d posted two good rounds at Cripple Creek the prior week and both included good putting stats from your Hack.
Rehoboth Beach - Round 1
Striker and I were paired with two brothers from Ocean Pines and Fenwick Island. Ray was a good player (1 handicap) and while Mike was a 15 with a wild driver, who ended up hitting irons of most tees.
We started on #9 which is a short par 5 and was downwind. Thinking an easy birdie to start, both Striker and I hit driver’s into the left fairway bunker and we each made bogey. Irritated, the true Hack in me came out and I bogeyed #10 with a 3-putt, and doubled the next two holes with a water ball on each. Unfortunately, Striker could not save us as he made bogeys on #10 through #12. Our first par came on our 5th hole of the day with Striker’s good two putt. Unfortunately, I added another double on the same hole. Not the start we’d hoped for: Your Hack was 8 over after 5 holes and Striker was 4 over.
Not one to let up on the petals when I’m heading downhill, I added 3 more bogeys and another double through #17 (our 9th hole of the day). My partner was able to make a nice par on #17 , but that was it. Nine holes of golf and I’d hit exactly one green in regulation (which was 3-putted) and only three fairways. We were officially out of the tournament after nine holes of play.
Your Hack attempted a valiant comeback with pars on the next five holes and Striker added pars on two of them. No birdies though. Even though we hit a lot of greens, reasonable birdie putts were not there. After a bad bogey on #5, I finished by bogeying in and left the course with my tail between my legs. I’d shot 89 and my partner shot 85 and we were officially in last place with only 54 stableford points between us.
Our playing partners, Ray & Mike, scored 64 stableford points and were in 3rd place in the 2nd Flight. Although Mike had shot 90, Ray come through with a 76 to keep them in the tournament. Ray would go on to shoot 73 at Kings Creek on Day 2 and they would ultimately win their flight. Good playing guys!
Kings Creek - Round 2
An early morning shotgun start at 8:30 found your Hack and Striker on the par 5 #16 to start Day 2. We both hit the fairway and my partner hit a nice layup leaving about 100 yards to the green. Being in last place and with nothing to lose, I decided to go for the green from about 190 yards out. My 3 hybrid went on the exact line I played and we both thought it made the green (the green was a blind shot from the fairway). As we got to Striker’s ball, we could see mine on the green and about 2 1/2 feet below the cup.
My partner was evidently over-excited seeing my ball that close to an eagle because he rinsed two shots into the pond fronting the green making a triple bogey 8 to start the day. After waiting for everyone in our foursome to hole out, I stepped into my short putt and missed the hole completely - from less than 3 feet! Still it was a birdie to start the day.
After a routine par on the next hole, your Hack reeled off 3 double bogeys in a row and was done for the day. A couple of pars here and there and another birdie on #8 was about all I had. Striker assumed my role from the prior day and shot 88. He made a nice birdie on #10, but only had 3 pars for the day. My 84 was a miracle as I made 6 double bogeys after hitting too many balls into the trees and hitting only 40% of the green in regulation. The only bright spots were 2 birdies and no 3-putts.
As expected, we ended the tournament in last place in our flight, only 21 stableford points behind the leaders.
It would be easy to blame poor play on external factors such as the windy conditions, the cold, and recently punched greens. Too easy in fact. Thinking about the first tournament of the year, your Hack has concluded that golf is just a humbling game. You can be playing well and then crash and burn. On the positive side, my putting is much better as I only had one 3-putt green over the 2 days. This was encouraging given the condition of the greens on both courses. On the negative side, I’ve spent so much time working on putting that my driving and iron game is now suspect.
Hey, it’s always something and I’m not going to let it bother me. It was the first tournament of the year and we have a long way to go and plenty of time to work on things.
As always, thanks for following along and remember to keep it in the short grass.
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