July 5, 2014

With just two weeks to go until Goodboys Invitational weekend, my sole focus playing Trilogy Golf Course at Power Ranch on Thursday was my course management skills and testing out my revamped short-game to see how it held up in real playing conditions. Oh, and staying sufficiently hydrated since the temps were going to hit 110 before any late afternoon monsoon action were to come through.

Right from my warm-up I felt I was hitting my irons as good as I have all year, but for some reason, between last Sunday’s practice and Thursday morning my hybrids seemed to take a siesta. And they never awoke from their slumber the entire day – causing one of the two course management mistakes that would end up costing me.

The result of nearly-perfect course management coupled with the best short game I’ve had since I can remember led to a rock-solid 44 on the front nine. Even better, I played the three par 3s at +2, and the two long par 5s at +2 as well – something I haven’t done at all this year.

The back nine started rocky with a quadruple-bogey 8 caused by two very poor shot-making decisions – pulling 3-wood when I had been hitting my driver well all day and pushing my drive into a back yard, then trying to make up for the penalty stroke by going for the green with a hybrid when an iron left in front of the green for a chip on, two-putt for double-bogey was the correct strategy. I didn’t let it get to me, though, and I played solid golf until the last hole.

Ah, yes – the last hole. For some reason I’ve really had trouble closing my rounds out in style this year, and Thursday was no exception. Eighteen at Trilogy is a fairly wide-open hole with a pond protecting the green on the right and front. There’s a lot of room to the left, but you’ll be needing your short game because the green slopes towards the water. I missed the fairway short and left, but made the correct decision to lay up short of the pond and did so perfectly, leaving me 110 to the center of the green. I suppose the correct play was to aim far left and not go for the green at all, chipping on and two-putting for my bogey, but I was in such a great position, and heck, how hard can a 9-iron to the center of the green be, right?

Five minutes later I was marking my scorecard with another quad-bogey 8 after two chunked 9-irons into Davy Jones’ locker. My 53 for the back nine gave me a 97 total, which was extremely good for the course and the conditions we were playing in, but there’s no question I left 3-4 strokes out that really weren’t difficult at all. But there wasn’t any crying over spilled milk – I know there will always be a couple of holes that will get away from me; the goal is to keep those to a bare minimum, which I did.

There were a lot of good things to take away from Thursday’s round – 30 putts (including 7 one-putts!) which was a direct result of improved chipping, big improvement in my sand game (thank you Peter Kostis!), and by far the best course management of the year. And to break 100 on a tough course with rocket-fast greens means I’m definitely trending in the right direction. Next week I’ll play my final round of year in Arizona at Superstition Springs where it’s all about putting the ball in play and managing your way around its quirky and wet layout – a very good test for Goodboys week.

After that, it will be put up or shut up.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 00:18 | Comments (0)
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