Monday, June 02, 2008

Mid-Am Preview

The 2008 Ontario Mid-Amateur Championship kicks off officially tomorrow, with 18 holes Tuesday and 18 on Wednesday, followed by a cut down to the top 60 plus ties. The final round will be played on Thursday.

I headed up to Thornhill Country Club with Bernie early this morning to play a practice round and to register for the tournament. We picked up our 'Competitor's Package', which consisted of food vouchers, rule sheets, a nice 2008 Mid-Am embroidered hat and a 2008 Mid-Am key chain, along with a yardage guide. Swanky! ;)

We met up with my supplier rep Scott and teed off right around 10am this morning.

What a beautiful golf course! The first hole (shown above) is a 407 yard dogleg right par four that plays well downhill into the valley. I drove my tee shot left of the fairway, hit a pitching wedge to about 18 feet and drained the putt for birdie.

I then threw my ball into the greenside bunker to check out the sand, blasted out and hit the flagstick, stopping an inch away.

"Well, that's all for me guys, I'm done!", I said to howls of laughter.

I'm not going to go into full detail about my round or the course just yet, as I'm pretty exhausted after the great day of golf and meeting new people, including Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane, an avid player and a participant in the event as well.

I didn't make my first bogey until the par three 7th and also bogeyed the par four ninth to shoot a one over 36 on the front.

This is a very hilly golf course and I started to lose steam on the tough par four 13th, making double bogey. I started spraying my driver after that but thankfully, this isn't a course that requires too many tee shots with the big dog (I hit only nine drivers today but will only hit seven or eight tomorrow, wind and weather permitting).

One of the many highlights on the day was the 368 yard par four 11th hole (shown above), named "Nelson's Folly" due to the fact that Byron Nelson didn't make one par during his Canadian Open triumph hear in the 1950's.

What a cool golf hole! You sling a rescue or long iron down the fairway and need to be on the left side of the fairway to give yourself a chance to hit the hidden green, sunk well below fairway level. You can barely make out the top of the flagstick in the shot above.

The green is very well protected by bunkers and the green slopes sharply from FRONT TO BACK, similar to a number of greens at Oakmont. I went 4-iron/PW to about 20 feet in front of the flag, barely touched my putt and watched it roll 15 feet past the pin. I'd hit the comebacker and as it was tracking said:

"Byron Nelson didn't do this!"

The putt went right into the cup for my par and the skin on the hole! Sweet.

I'd also make my first EAGLE of the year on the short par five 17th, hitting driver/9-iron to a foot and a half. Haha. Well, I guess that's one reason the Golf Association of Ontario is turning this 454 yard dogleg left hole into a par four for the tournament, making the course a par 70 for the event.

I ended up shooting a solid 76 on the day but I know that the pin positions will be much tougher tomorrow than they were today so I'll have to be very sharp to shoot a similar score.

I'm starting to get a bit nervous and hope that I can keep my nerves in check for the most part.

It's going to be an exciting couple of days for me! I'll report back tomorrow with my first day summary. If you are a bit on the anxious side, you can check out the
official leaderboard on the GAO site...not sure when they will update the scores but I'm certain that they will have it updated before I get a chance to post tomorrow night.

Wish me luck!

2 comments:

  1. Good luck matt.

    You can do it.

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  2. Good luck , Matt. Keep on grinding and never let a bad swing get you down. Over 54 holes, fewest mistakes (whether mental or physical) will do very well.

    The course does look exceptionally pretty. I still couldn't see the flag on that par 4 in the picture - is it behind the bunkers?

    You da man and other such things. I look forward to hearing about your progress.

    Stay cool. David

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