The Osprey Links Golf Course Stroke and Net Match Play Championships are well under way and the scores are starting to roll in. I have played two matches myself and had a great time during both rounds. I played one match on each the stroke and net side, but with different results. The score was secondary as I played golf with two great guys and I hope I have the opportunity to play another round with them this year.
My first match of the week was against Dan. It was a stroke side match and to quote someone else I played against in the Senior Ryder Cup Competition, he ran into a bit of a buzz saw. Dan is a steady players. He keeps the ball in play and can hit the ball farther than I can. Unfortunately for day, we played on the day when my game was going very well. My short game was sharper than his, but he did not go quietly into the night.
After the first five holes, we are still even and both of use were two over. This is where my game shifted to a higher gear and Dan remained steady. My short game was my advantage and it did not let me down. I continued to press on and finished four over with a double. I shot a solid 75 and unfortunately for Dan, he played me on a great day.
My second match was a different story. I played Ian whose handicap was on stroke higher than mine, so I expected I was in for a tough round. Well, I cannot say that I was right! Ian and I slugged it out until the 18th hole.
During this match, we both made some fantastic shots. In Dan’s case, he crushed the ball off the tee and had his wedges dialed in. On the 9th hole, Ian hit a 311 yard drive in the center of the fairway. With 60 yards left to the green, Ian was in the best position of anyone I seen on this hole. Then, a smooth wedge to 5 feet set up his first birdie of the day.
On the par 5 tenth hole, we both hit great drives and equally impressive second shots. For the first time since I started play golf at Osprey Links, two people in my group were putting for eagle. As we both walked off the green with birdies, I was still one up in the match and feeling good about my chances.
On the 12th hole, I had to give Ian one stroke. We both hit good tee shots, but I was on the right side with and open view to the green. Ian was on the left and had a tree he hand to navigate to the green. I hit my ball to 12 feet from the pin and Ian clipped the top of the tree. Fortunately, his ball ricocheted into the fairway and he was set up for another great wedge shot. He hit his ball to 10 feet and missed his putt. I two putted and was able to push the hole to remain one up.
On the front nine, Ian basically gave me the 6th hole. He struggled and I was lucky to easily win the hole. Being a grateful golfer, I decided to repay the favour on the 16th hole. We both hit great drives and Ian hit a great second shot. I actually hit a fantastic 5 iron….that landed in a bunker that was 30 yards away. I have hit long bunkers before, but in this case I thinned my ball over the green and deep into the woods. I told Ian that I was going to chip just incase I sank my shot for par. I was hitting up hill to the green to a pin that was 35 yards away. I hit my sand wedge almost perfectly. My ball rolled at the pin and missed on the right barely and the ball stopped eight inches from the hole. But, alas a bogey was good enough; Ian and I walked to the 17th hole all tied.
After an uneventful 17th hole, we were on the 18th tee all tied. Ian hit another booming drive, but he landed on the fairway bunker about 110 yards from the green. I hit a drive in the fairway to 90 yards. Things were looking good or so I thought. Ian hit the best shot of the day out of the bunker, he hit his ball to eight feet! it really was a game changing shot. I hit my ball on the green to 30 feet and actually felt a bit of pressure. I was putting very well all day, especially my lag putts. I wanted to ensure I was not short and jus hit my ball a bit too hard. I hit my ball five feet past the hole. Ian made a smooth two putt and I need to hit my come back putt to extend the match. After a lip out and my first three putt of the day, Ian walked off the 18th green with the win.
This match went exactly as I expected. We battled back and forth all round and it all came down to the last putt on the last hole. It was great fun and I am a bit disappointed that I missed the last putt, but that is the nature of golf. I had a great time and the results was secondary.
I want to thank Dan and Ian for two great rounds and I wish Ian good luck on future matches.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!