Day one of the Ontario Golf Regionals went as hoped. I played a strong round overall, but with mixed 9s. The course was set up to score and considering that it is late September, it is in fairly good shape. The only real challenge is the greens because they are playing slow and are a bit shaggy compared to earlier in the season. But we have to play the condition that is tournament golf.
My group consisted of Rob, Miles and Justin. Rob and I are old friends and it is always great to play a round or two with him at Regionals. I never met Miles or Justin before and both complimented our group. All were easy-going and did not sweat the small things. As the day unfolded, we quickly realized our round was going to be 5 and half hours long. This gave us plenty of time to chat and talk golf. As we looped the course, we adjusted our play to ready golf, which sped up our round. Overall, it was a great day on the course and it was nice to meet new players.
The Petawawa course was set up relatively easy compared to previous years. For this event, they reversed the nines in order for players to finish at the club house. What this decision did was take driver out of my hands for the first three holes. As a result, I had a tentative start and as a result was 3 over after 3 holes. Getting back on track, I shot 5 straight pars and was gaining my confidence. That is until the very tough 8th hole. This long 427 yard narrow par 4 requires a perfect tee shot to set the hole up for par. Unfortunately, I miss hit my drive and was left with 245 yards to the hole. After a great second shot and third shot, I had a 12 foot putt for par. I lipped out and walked off with a bogey. Sitting 4 over heading into the long par 5, I felt like my round was coming together until my tee shot on the 9th hole.
Pulling my shot into the trees and lateral hazard, I had to take a drop and hit my third shot to 180 yards out from an elevated green. My approach shot came up a bit short and I was chipping 5 onto the green. I hit a fairly good shot, but I was left with 15 feet to the hole. Unfortunately another lip out resulted in a double bogey and a score for 42 on the front nine.
The back nine was a different story. It is the easier of the two nines, but still requires players to pay attention and hit to yardage on some holes. I bogeyed the 10th hole for no reason and was sitting 7 over after 11 holes. Then suddenly, everything changed. I was hitting every shot solid, getting several breaks, and the hole looked twice the size. As I comfortably played the last 8 holes, I was amazed at how easy everything felt. On the 15 hole, I hit my ball into the greenside bunker after a drive of 270 yards. After playing a great sand shot, I had a 5 foot putt for birdie, which I made. After a great drive on the par 5, 16th hole, I was set up for and made my second birdie of the back 9. After par on the last two holes, I walked of the back 9 with a 1 under par 34.
My total score for the day was a 76. This score was good enough for 4th position and a chance to make a run on Day 2. I felt that if I played the front nine better the next day, I might have a chance to catch the leader who was only 5 strokes ahead. It would take a great round on day 2, but considering my back 9 I felt that it was possible.
The Petawawa course is tough at the best of times. It takes a smooth swing and confident putting stroke to score well. If you are missing either, then there is trouble on every hole. Additionally, the temperatures are unseasonably high. At 28 degrees, playing in the mid-afternoon heat posed challenges of its own. Understanding this, I drank plenty of water and found the shade when I could. This is part of tournament golf and the organizers were ready with plenty of water stations.
Day One is in the books and I am in 4th spot. I am hoping to improve my standing tomorrow by playing solid golf. Because of the tournament rules, the lower scores will go out first on Day Two, so the conditions and temperatures will be completely different. I am looking forward to the change and playing with new players.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
Written by Jim Burton from The Grateful Golfer blog.