Wednesday, July 09, 2008

2008 Niagara Men's Tour - Event Four (Rockway Glen)

The fourth leg of the Nevada Bob's Men's Tour took place on Sunday afternoon at Rockway Glen, likely my least favourite course in the Niagara Region.

Look up 'dogtrack' or 'pasture' in the dictionary and you'll find a photo of Rockway.

However, I must say that the course is in the best condition I've ever seen - it's obviously rained quite a bit in the area this spring and it resulted in green, quite lush conditions at Rockway, with penal rough and no visible areas of fairway cracks.

It also meant the greens were slower than putting on dirt, something that would provide a huge challenge for me on this day.

I knew it wasn't going to be my day right at the start. I hit a good drive up the left side but walk up and find that my ball is in the left fairway bunker. No big deal usually but there is a grass island in the middle of this bunker with a tree protruding from it and my ball is RIGHT UP against the lip, with no other option but to blast out sideways.

I'd make a bogey there, then get up and down for par on two and lip out for birdie on three so I'm +1 through the first three.

Four is a tight par four with an orchard on the left hand side. I contemplated hitting a 4-iron here just to get in play but I decided to get aggressive and hit driver.

One of my good decisions on the day.

I'd nail it down the pipe then almost hole my lob wedge from 85 yards, stopping right on the lip of the cup after spinning it back off the slope past the pin. Tap in birdie and I'm back to even.

I'd make a great two-putt par on the 5th but disaster would strike on the par three 6th.

It's a 190 yard or so par three, into the wind but downhill to a front pin. I'd hit 6-iron into the greenside trap and there is NO sand in this thing. I make the crucial mistake of using my sand wedge instead of a lob wedge for the shot, a mistake because the extra bounce on my SW caused the club to skip right off the sand and skull the ball onto the adjacent 8th green.

Wonderful.

I'd end up making a triple bogey six on the hole and it took all of my power not to slap my leg in anger. ;)

I'd miss a makeable birdie on the par 5 7th then bogey both eight and nine to shoot an ugly 41 on the front. Everyone in my group had a hell of a time reading and judging the greens, which seemed to break opposite from where you thought it would go. We were told by a local near the 10th tee that the escarpment really affects the putting out here and we had a little extra knowledge going to the back side.

It didn't really help me but I played better on the back. Mainly, I started hitting greens in regulation as opposed to leaving myself 7 footers for par. I'd miss makeable birdies on the 12th and the 15th holes but I parred the first six holes on the backside before making an awful bogey on the easy par five 16th when my wedge approach took a crazy hop on the green and went over.

I'd get it back right away, making my first real putt of the day from about 12 feet for birdie on the par four 17th but I'd miss a five footer for par on 18 to shoot 37 on the backside and come in with a 78 (+6) overall.

Scoring was very low, with 27 of the 50 participants breaking 80 and my buddy Bernie ended up winning the event with a superlative 70 (-2). My 78 placed me in a tie for 14th with 7 others and that dropped me back to 13th overall through four events on Tour.

Next on the agenda is LochNess Links in August, a course I had some success at a couple weeks back in the Niagara Cup so hopefully I can put something decent together for that event.

By the way, in case you're interested, check out the brand spanking new Nevada Bob's Men's Tour website, designed by yours truly! I spent COUNTLESS hours revamping this sucker and I still have much more planned, including player bios and full stats for all participants.

Next weekend should be pretty relaxing on the golf front. No real tournaments coming up for a couple weeks but I'm playing my Langley Cup quarterfinal match against Bernie on Sunday. Should be a fantastic match and we may have to play even up, which doesn't bode well for me. Hopefully Bernie's 70 knocks him back to a scratch so I can at least get one shot!

I'm also working on a couple of golf getaway possibilities for later this year. Merion would be my number one choice but it's a bit tough not knowing anyone from Pennsylvania! We'll see what the rest of the summer brings but I'm still looking good to go for possible trips to St. George's in Toronto and possibly Muirfield Village and Scioto CC in Ohio.

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