It is official. Not only are MRK and Diggs PDGA members, we now also have rated rounds under our belts. This will lead to our first official PDGA ratings! We'll have to dance a little jig when they come out in the middle of May.
We popped our ratings cherry at the 2nd Annual Doane College Classic in Crete, NE this past Easter weekend. I have the scratches to prove it. We had settled on the Doane classic for a number of reasons. It was close to me; we were both available; and it was a sanctioned tournament without the pressure of the other tournaments we are looking at for the rest of the year. It is a small C-tier in out-of-the-way Nebraska. We figured we would be able to get our tournament feet under us without having to compete against the best of the Twin Cities or the crowd an A-tier would draw.
The main hitch to the plan was our unfamiliarity with the course. Until that week, neither of us had even seen the course. Being close enough to give it a look, Diggs-Jiggs Express trucked our way down there early in the week to get a sense of what we were looking at. MRK and I were also able to hit it up the day before. Well, most of them. The course has undergone a few changes. We missed about 4-5 holes, though we were able to get in most of them.
The course is truly bipolar. The beginning holes play pretty open. Trees shrubs are in play for most of the holes, but lines are generally widely available, especially the first holes. They play typical lengths, and the designers did a fair job in utilizing the surrounding grounds to create some good golfing. Then comes the back nine. You cross a road and feel like you've crossed to another course. They fairly typical, open holes are replaced by very tight, short holes, most are shorter than 200 ft. This continues until hole 18 which brings you to a nice tunnel shot. The course plays to the short to mid-range game, especially those adept at anhyzers/short, precise forehand shots. This is not the strength of my game.
More after the jump...
The sky wet it's pants the night before, leaving us wet and a bit chilled from the cold front that had moved in. To be fair, we had been spoiled from all the nice weather this spring. As we warm up, I come to the panicked realization that I am quite possibly the worst putter among the 52 players in the field. Bummer. I knew my short game was a huge crutch, but it was too late to do much about it at this point.
MRK and I both signed up for the Intermediate Division, as did many other folks using the tournament as a warm up (many had come up from Kansas City to get ready for the Glass Blown Open), and it ended up being the most populace division of the day. MRK and I were not fortunate enough to draw the same foursome, but I have to say that I was pleased with my playing partners. Johnny the Silent Assassin had nothing but one word answers (and I golfed with him both rounds), but the others were very kind, engaging folks, and I was pleased to meet their acquaintance.
I think I acquitted myself well enough in play. The leader of our group after round 1 was even par and I trailed at +3, tied for second, so I wasn't so certain I was playing very well, but it was enough to put me in the second foursome for round two (that means I was top 5-8). I then won my second foursome, and I thought I had a good chance at a tie for 5th if not higher. Unfortunately, some of the later groups had better second rounds, and they leapfrogged me. I ended tied for 8th with a +6 for the day, still in the money. My prize was an MVP Anode putter and a Blizzard Boss.
The day began gentle enough, but by the time we made our way to the open holes, the wind had picked up quite a bit, making my shaky putting that much more atrocious. I missed at least 4 putts that should not have been missed. I also had an OB that hurt a bit to end my first round. The biggest mistake came on my one double bogey of the day. I was actually caught between going for a long birdie or laying up for par. By going for both, I got neither. The wind got under the flight plate and pushed it into a hedge of bushes, allowing me only an overhand out... which also caught wind. Thus, a double. If I had just settled for par, I would have been at least 6th. Ugh, stupidity!
Other than those issues, though, it was a fairly successful day. I missed a lot of my short drives off the tee, but I had a remarkable ability to hit my recovery shots (an ability honed over many years of many bad shots, no doubt!). But the key was consistency and patience. I also had a couple nice ace runs, one that clanked off the catcher.
In all, the tournament got me all sorts of excited about the coming tourney season! It was a wonderful experience, and I was glad to share it with the MRK.
Well, this is too damn long already.