Wednesday, July 23, 2008

2008 Auction Pool

In preparation for Sunday's Auction Pool, I played with Harry and Toast on Saturday morning in our regular game.

I was playing quite well, going one under on my first eleven holes and could have been lower if not for some lipped out putts, including a ridiculous horseshoe miss on our 8th hole (the 17th).

However, one loose hole got me, as I made a double bogey six on the 5th hole (our 14th), taking four shots to get in the hole from just off the green. I'd stumble home and finish with a 76 (+4) and I wasn't thrilled. It says a lot about how far I've come this year that a 76 qualifies as a poor round but that's where I am right now.

I had a lot of confidence going into Sunday's Auction Pool and it turned out to be a fun day.

I made a 20 footer on our first hole (the short par four 11th) to start us out perfectly with birdie in the scramble format. We'd par 12 and 13 and then took advantage of my 'C' player's excellent tee ball on the par three 14th to move to -2 with two par fives coming up in a row.

We knew we'd have to take advantage of the fives, as we figured we'd need to hit -7 or -8 to get in the money.

Unfortunately, we couldn't take advantage of my solid third shot approach into 15 and we all missed the ten footer for birdie there. We'd come back with a short birdie on the 16th to go -3 through six holes, keeping the pace.

However, we'd only get pars on the next three holes (17, 18 & #1) so we fell behind our target pace.

Needing to make a putt desperately, I was able to coax in another 20 footer on #2 for the satisfying birdie to get to -4. We'd par the 3rd and 4th holes then I hit an awesome approach into the long par four 5th, almost holing it but settling a foot away. We'd kick that in and we were now -5 with five holes to play, three of which were par fives.

We're in good shape!

We had one problem though - my 'B' player was having a tough time off the tee and we had only used three of his drives to this point. We needed him to come through one more time on the last five holes. My 'C' player was done so there were no worries there.

On the par five sixth, my 'C' player ripped one down the middle but my 'B' player hit a weak hook that was 30 yards back and it would be tough to reach the green in regulation from there. So we took the 'C' drive and I hit hybrid 3-iron/9-iron to 10 feet and we made the putt for yet another birdie! -6 with four to play!

On the par three 7th, the 'B' player insisted he'd come through but you could tell he was feeling the pressure. He hit a big hook (left hander) around the pond and his ball settled 40 yards away from the flag. My 'C' player dunked his ball in the water and then I hit, coming up just short of the green. I walked all the way over to the 'B' player's shot and even though he wanted to get his drives out of the way, I didn't like where his ball was so we played from my spot. We made a routine par to stay in the picture.

The par five 8th was next. Three holes left, with two of them par fives. We pretty much needed the 'B' player to come up big here, as the ninth hole is an 'A' player hole (very long par four) and while the 10th is an easy par five, I did not want to wait until the last hole to use his drive, just in case he smoked one out of bounds or something.

Thankfully, he hit a good one but was about 275 yards from the green. I considered not even hitting a tee shot here so I wouldn't have a decision on my hands but decided to give it a go. Of course, I nailed it center cut and only had about 215 yards into the green, making it very reachable.

Decision time!

Well, I decided to get the 'B' players drive out of the way so I picked my ball up and went back to hit from 275. It may have costed us, as we'd all miss the 12 foot birdie putt and settle for par.

We'd barely miss birdie on the par four ninth then on ten, after ripping a drive to the 200 yard marker, I hit my only real poor shot of the day, hitting 5-iron into the right greenside bunker.

Terrible timing!

We wouldn't be able to get up and down, settling for a very disappointing par and finishing at 66 (-6) for the event.

Of course, -8 won the event and -7 got in the money, just as we suspected. Damn!

Good news was that they awarded pro shop vouchers for all of the teams that finished at -6, so each of us got $250.00 in credits. Considering our team costed $200.00 each, I guess that means we pulled in a slight profit!

I also took $30.00 from Harry in the challenge matches, as his team came in at -3 for the event. I'd lose $15.00 to Bernie, who eagled the last hole playing with my group to squeeze into the money at -7 so I profited $15.00 in the challenge matches overall.

Good day - not sure if I'll play next year but we'll see...

In other interesting news, I received an email from the RCGA yesterday (Royal Canadian Golf Association)...

I have been given an exemption into the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship!!!

Crazy stuff! They handle things on a 'quota-points' system and because Ontario is the biggest province by population, we get a larger percentage of golfers at the national championship. I guess that a number of the players who finished ahead of me at the Ontario Mid-Am turned down the invitation due to the fact the Canadians are being held on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, a long, long flight.

So they went down the list to the guys who got cut from the tourney, including me and Bernie.

Great opportunity to play in my first National championship, run by the same association that runs the PGA's Canadian Open but it's one that I had to decline. I'll be in Quebec City on business during the event so I had to give up my spot. Too bad...the way I'm playing, I may have been able to make a run at the cut in that tourney.

Still, a really cool invitation!

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