The first round of our 2-day stroke play tournament to make the base golf team is over. The conditions were the toughest of the year with a steady 35 kpm wind and intermittent rain. Before my friends in the UK, Scotland or Ireland start laughing, these conditions are atypical in northern Canada. Regardless, it was a tournament and we were ready to play.
The group members were moved around and as such, my group were 4 solid players. Each had the game to lead after 18 holes, but the conditions, in some cases rust, and early start challenged everyone’s game. We played a 4.5 hour round and except for the few searches in the woods, the pace was to my liking.
My round was very consistent. The front nine was the toughest challenge because of the links style architecture offered no protection from the wind. As it turned out, I finished the front nine with 4 bogies and 5 pars. 4 of the bogies were a result of 2 – 3 putts (one was from only 2 feet). Overall, I hit the ball straight and a little shorter than normal.
The back nine is cut through the woods and the wind had a lesser impact on my game. I opened with 6 straight pars and felt very strong. Then on the 16th tee, with a strong wind behind us, I pushed my drive into a hazard. It was quite disappointing because I was hitting the ball very well. My second shot on the 16th was in play and I thought I had a chance to save par. Hitting 4 from 110 yards, I cooked my shot a bit and it stopped just off the back. Leaving my 5th shot short, then 2 putting, I walked of the 16th hole with a double.
On the par 3 – 17th tee, I felt that with one smooth stroke, I could get a shot back. So, I hit my 7-iron on the green but was 25 feet away. Being the second to hit, I had time to line up my putt and I took advantage of this extra time. After a smooth stroke, my ball fell in the side door and I was not 1 over for the back nine. After paring the 18th hole, I walked of with 36.
Finishing with a 5 over 76, I am well positioned to make the base golf team. There is a good chance I will finish first and be named the team Captain, but that all occurs at a later date. I am very happy with my score and play yesterday, but I must talk about my putting.
I made 7 putts for par that were 6 feet in length. My changes to my putting stroke have paid off. On the greens (despite the 2 – 3 putts) I felt very confident. This alone has a positive influence on the rest of my game. So, I would consider my putting as the key factor to my good opening score.
Today, we are off at 0730 hrs. It will be cool, but not wet. My plan is similar to yesterday’s, do not be overly aggressive, aim for the center of the green on approach shots, and let my flat stick do all the work. It worked yesterday, I am sure it will work today.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!