The first day of the 2015 Ontario Regional Golf Tournament is in the books. The course, Petawawa Golf Club, was in good shape, the weather was as expected, and the competition tough. After the opening ceremonies, with the traditional playing of ‘O Canada’, the 47 military members were ready to tee it up.
As the third seed from 8 Wing Trenton, I was in the middle of the pack and watched 8 groups head down the first fairway before I could settle my nerves by hitting the links. My first hit was in play and my tournament had officially started. As tradition holds for every military team I have been fortunate to belong too, we watched our team mates hit their first shot and offer ‘good luck’ as they left the first tee!
This year, the course was playing longer than the yardage. Every green is elevated, slow, and tough to chip onto. I slowly adjusted, but did not manage to fully solve the “sticky” green puzzle by the end of the day. Tomorrow, my strategy will be to land my ball closer to the hole and expect less roll out after the first bounce of every chip. Additionally, the greens were very slow to putt on. Many of the players mentioned that they were hitting their putts twice as hard as normal just to achieve the same results as their home course. These challenges are the same for everyone, so as a competitive golfer it is time to adjust and mentally change my chipping and putting approach to Day 2!
After my first 4 holes, the wind started to pick up! By the 8th hole, storm was charging towards the course. However, as suddenly as this storm arrived, it disappeared. It was the strangest think, but the locals say that is the norm for this area. After the rain left, the wind continued to blow making the in-ward 9 extremely challenging.
The layout of the Petawawa Golf Club is its strength. It weaves along the Ottawa Valley following the Ottawa River. There are many picturesque holes, but if you are lulled by your surroundings, this course has teeth! The greens are not flat and have many subtle, and not so subtle, undulations. The traps are strategically located and the rough is unforgiving. The fairways are tight and there is very few bail out areas. I like the Petawawa Golf Course because it is a shooters course and that fits my game!
Today, I shot a 79 with two doubles. I scrambled very well and after my adjustments for tomorrow, I hope to improve my score. At this time, I am tied for 6th place; only 2 strokes out of 2nd in the individual competition. If you remember, there are two competitions going on right now; individual and team. Equally important, our team is leading the competition by 17 strokes. This is a surprising lead, but we are all happy to have come out of the gate quickly and post a strong team score.
Two highlights of today’s play are worth mentioning. On the first hole, one of the players in my group shot an eagle. Not very exciting you may be thinking? Well this is a par four and he jugged his ball from 110 yards. To add to the excitement, I was the only one to watch it go in! I think I was as excited that it went in as the player who made the shot! The second noteworthy point of today was the low score. One of my team mates had low score of the day! He shot a 73; just two over par. However, the exciting aspect of his round was his scores – 41, 32! Talk about the tale to two nines!
Tomorrow is moving day. I am in the second last group and in good position to post a low score. My plan is to be more aggressive chipping the ball and more focused hitting the ball off the tee. I am sure my competitors are thinking the same thing, but the real movers will be those who stay focused and remain calm for the entire 18 holes.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!