My second chance at winning the Club Championship is officially over. I played my second match on Friday and for the second time lost in the home stretch. As you may remember, Osprey Links runs stroke and net Match Play tournaments to determine the club champion and to award a parking spot. Unfortunately, I could not close the deal and I will have to wait until next year to throw my hat into the ring again.
My opponent this time was Matt. He is a 6 handicap and hits the ball a long way. This was definitely his advantage that he pressed several times during the round. His up and down game was solid and putting showed up when really needed. He was a great opponent and I thoroughly enjoyed going head to head last Friday.
As with the other match, I started very slow and was down 3 after 4 holes. I am not sure why this happened, but during both matches I was quickly in a hole that I needed to crawl out of in a hurry. After the fourth hole, I started to slowly get my game back and mounted a charge starting on the 8th hole.
Starting 3 down at the 8th, I slowly chipped away at Matt’s lead. With a few lucky bounces, I was up 1 after the 11th hole. Winning 4 straight seemed to turn the tide of the match in my favour. However, Matt was not about to go away that easily. It was on the 12th hole that real match began.
Matt played even par moving forward and I shot 1 under. So, as we walked off the 18th hole, all tied, we headed to extra holes. It seemed that neither of us would relent and made many great chips and putts to keep the pressure on our opponents. It really was a great seesaw battle.
The 18th hole was where both of us had an opportunity to win. As we stepped up to the 18th tee, the wind pick up drastically and we had a sun shower where the rain was pelting me sideways (it lasted about 3 minutes). I should have waited, but pressed on and hit my worst drive of the day. Fortunately, I had a shot to the green.
Hitting over trees and rocks on the left, I stopped on the green about 50 feet from the pin. I was very happy to be putting for birdie all things considered. Making a great stroke, I thought from the moment I made contact that it was going in the hole. It tracked all the way and stopped 2 inches left of the hole. Up until 8 inches from the hole, I thought it was going to drop. Talk about an exciting way to finish.
Now, it was Matt’s turn and his 30 foot putt just missed left; he left his putt 2 inches on the right side of the hole. As I watched his putt track to the hole, I thought: “Oh, No, not again!” But fortunately, we were off to extra holes.
Remember I mentioned Matt’s length as an advantage. Well, the first hole on Osprey Links is a par 5 and he it a booming drive around the corner. But, it was his second shot that was the most impressive. Sitting 225 from the hole, he hit a 4-iron to within 5 yards of the green. I was off to the left about 50 yards from the pin. After hitting a great wedge, I had a 10 foot putt for birdie. Matt chipped to with 6 inches; I conceded his putt.
I took my time and lined everything up. I made solid contact, but lipped out on the amateur side of the hole. Removing my hat, I offered Matt a big congratulations and wished him luck moving on. It was a great match and lots of fun. Matt just played better that day.
During this match, we both brought a friend along. Matt played with Dondi (his usual playing partner) and I played with Blair (one of my usual playing partners). The were great playing partners and let Matt and I do our thing. They offered great conversation and played very well. Thanks to Dondi and Blair for tagging along and making the match more fun.
Well, I learned a few things playing the last two Match Play rounds. It was nothing earth shattering, but it was a few things I need to work on moving forward and for that my losses were worth it. I have to say that losing in extra holes does not bother me that much because Matt had to win the match; I guess except for winning, I cannot ask for anything more.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!