Monday, 13 September 2010

Not Bad - But Nowhere Near Good Enough

I played the Masters event at Royal Ascot yesterday in glorious Autumnal sunshine. However the golf never quite matched the weather and it was definitely a tale of two rounds. Let's just say it was a poor start, rallied, dipped, rose again and whimpered out. More up and downs than a Disneyland ride.

You are never going to be in contention when you start with two double bogies although it could have been so much worse at the first. I hit the tee shot way right towards the out of bounds and we all heard it hit wood which is usually a death knell. I'd just teed up another ball when the group ahead waved to indicate it was in play. I couldn't capitalise and my chip was a little long (it was a blind shot mind) and I couldn't get up and down. The double at the second was due to incompetence on the green and three putts.

I managed to rally and made par courtesy of a chip and putt at the fifth and by the time I'd put my tee shot at the par 3 sixth to five feet and converted the birdie chance I was back level with my handicap. I dropped a silly shot at 8th but only needed a par at the 9th to be out in nett par. I wandered off eventually with a six (another double) thanks to an awful drive and a poor bunker shot.

Never mind I thought. A par at the next to regroup and consolidate and we'd back on track. I hit the fairway and all seemed fine. I hit a great second but turned it over a touch and it pitched in the trap. Another horror shot from the bunker only just got it out and I was back riding the double bogey train again. By the time I'd hit my bunker shot through the green at the 12th and out of bounds (and lost the ball into the bargain) there was no coming back to anywhere near a level par score and it was about damage limitation. Sadly there was precious little of that and I limped home in a nett 78 (+8) and took token satisfaction that I was leading my group at the halfway mark.

After a swift lunch break we were back out. My opening two bogies immediately put me two shots better of than the morning round and by the time I hit my tee shot at the 4th into the rough I was still ahead. The second into the 4th wasn't great and it landed just short of the bunker. There was a huge thud as I fatted the chip into the sandy stuff. I tried to be a smart arse with the escape and left it in the bunker and eventually racked up a 7. Plonker!

There was some good stuff including a great chip and putt at the fifth. I even found the green again at the 6th but decided things were going too well so three putted. I managed to make a par at the 8th but even though I was a shot better down the 9th I was still one shot higher than the morning round. Ironically the ball striking was so much better but the chipping (which I'd worked hard on the day before - what a waste of time that was) and the putting was rubbish.

When I got up and down for par at the 10th I thought nothing of it as there wasn't much left to play for. I hit the green and parred the next and chipped and putted for a par at the hardest hole on the course. I was pleased but it was too little too late in the bigger picture. However I was pleased to hit the green at the long par 3 13th for a par and sunk a great twelve footer for par at the next. I found the green in regulation and made two solid putts and I'd suddenly played the first six holes of the back nine in level par. Well hello!

I obviously scared myself and three putted the next for a messy double bogey to make sure the run exploded. However I managed to chip and putt the long, long 17th (218 yards) for another par and found the fairway with my last tee shot of the day. I hit my second right into thick rough. No problemo I thought. Just chip it out, knock it on and take a six and it would still be a personal best for the last nine holes. However my rescue shot hit one of the saplings and dived off into oblivion, never to be found again. After a penalty drop I chipped out for my fifth, found the green and managed to hole out for another double bogey which left a nasty taste in the mouth.

It was one of those days where I couldn't find any sort of consistency. However I was leased to find out my nett 71 (+1) was the fifth best score of the afternoon and that I finished 13th out of 33. I even managed to get a small cut for my efforts in the afternoon.

In the end there was no Fellini magic. However I do feel there are plenty of strong foundations to build upon and that I just need to find a way of keeping the short game simple and a repeatable technique for the bunkers. Still, onwards and upwards (or downwards for my handicap)

Total number of balls lost in 2010 = 65

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