PAR WARS: ROUND 3
The rules of PAR WARS are simple.
We play matchplay with handicaps (Phil is giving me two strokes this trip).
Whoever wins the most rounds in a holiday is the winner, and she or he gets to feel smug in victory until the next vacation.
The Sub Par Golfer’s Account
It had been five days since I luuuhhh— since I loooosssss—. Ahem, phew… Um. Five days since I did, huhmm, ‘the thing opposite of winning’ from Phil at Kahili. I blamed it on the wind and decided to move forward. Quickly.
We’d signed up to play with a group of friends at Maui Nui but neglected to note the starting tee times. Uh, SEVEN FIFTEEN A.M.!?!? Keep in mind that’s with a 40-minute drive to Kihei, so we were up pre-6am, “the ungodly hour.” I’m not kidding you, we were sitting in the golf cart, ME in the driver’s seat and I asked Phil why we weren’t pulling up to the tee (maybe because I didn’t have my cheese-pedals [feet] on the accelerator). Honestly I don’t remember the first four holes.
But it didn’t matter because after four holes I was three-up and level-par. #sleepinghighfive. Maybe I should sleep-golf more often. On the fifth hole I had my first crappy shot and topped my approach. The shot would have run up nicely to the pin as it was on-line and climbing a hill, but it had the luck of a fairground goldfish and hit the tiny “carts —>” sign (which, by the way, is about the size of two golf scorecards) and it kicked back away from the green 30 feet. But Phil’s putt lipped out and we halved the hole, so ‘swings and roundabouts’. We both got unlucky.
I had an absolutely monster drive on the sixth (about 50 meters short of the green on a par 4) and had an up and down for birdie. This got me back to level-par, four-up in our match, and smug-as-hell on the mental charts by hole 7. Little did I know I shouldn’t have let my guard down.
After nine holes I was three over par gross, Phil five-over and three holes down. Our back nine was identical for three holes. Par, triple (I know, I know, shocking), par. Then on the 13th, I had a terrible second shot out of, basically, lava rocks and garbage, and Phil was just on the fringe of the green for two. I miraculously got a par from a terrible situation and Phil sunk his goddamn putt for a birdie. So I was back to two-up.
I went bogie-par-birdie (with a stellar freaking massive putt OFF the green for birdie) and Phil was steady with three pars. After my birdie I got back to two-up on the 16th and I thought, with my second given stroke on the 18th, I was in to win. Phil couldn’t win but I couldn’t see myself losing both remaining holes so I thought to myself “this should be in the bag”. Ugh…
After a poor club choice into the wind on 17 I had to chip on and two-putted where Phil was on and two-putted for par. Back to one-up. Standing on the 18th with a shot in my favor, I figured as long as I kept it in play there was no way I could screw this up. We both hit good drives, a good second shot, and then (with the help of the Bermuda grass) I duffed my approach shot. LAKJRLSDFIERHGUH9834HG8URJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still pissed about that.
So Phil was on for three, I was on for four, NET THREE. He JUST lipped out and got his par, and figured he’d just thrown the match. I had a TRICKY (I can’t emphasize enough how tricky the putt was), TRICKSY nasty little three-footer to win, and what the goddamn hellfire do you know? I missed it to halve the match. Phil had come back from minus-four and felt like he won, I felt like I threw the match away, handed it to him on a silver platter. I’m still pissed and it’s about 10 hours after the fact. But that’s golf. At least it wasn’t a loss (yeah I don’t even believe myself when I say that now).
Anyway, we’re playing the THIRD best course on Maui on Friday, and it’s gonna be grrrreat. And I’m gonna win because, well, because I’m sick of losing. Which, technically, I’m not doing. But I AM sick of not winning.
THE SUB PAR GOLFER: 1.5
See you Friday.
We return to Maui Nui. A 7:15am tee time meant waking at 5:45. I thought this might work to my advantage. Michelle is a zombie in the morning and can’t really function unless she’s had 2 coffees and 2 hours to work out what day it is. It turned out to be the other way round. I had a double bogey on the first and some awful golf in the first hour.
She was playing great golf but was still not fully “with it”. At one point early in the game, we were sitting in the buggy just having completed a hole when she looked sideways at me and gestured that she thought we should maybe driving to the next tee box. I stared back at her confused and then she realized that I was not the one sitting at the wheel with the accelerator under my foot.
With a shot on the second followed by a string of pars and some awful golf from my previously confident self, Michelle was 4-up after 6 holes. This really pissed me off. I had played this course 2 days before with other golfers (Michelle had to work). I shot a 73 and thought I was King of the Hill. My newly found form had deserted me and I was playing like a beginner. Worst of all, Michelle was loving it – that grin plastered all over her smug face.
I managed to get a hole back on the 8th but was 3-down at the turn. We both parred 10, made a mess of 11, parred 12 but then I birdied 13 and Michelle bogeyed 14.
I was back in the race. The confident grin of my opponent had transformed into an angry grimace and I knew I had to watch my step. Her mood changed on the 16th though (as did mine) when she chipped in for birdie. I resigned myself to the fact that her chip-in was probably the final nail in my coffin. I was happy to get back to 1 down from 4 down – I’d put the pressure on and rattled her cage but at dormy 2, it was not looking good for me.
In all honesty, I was not too bothered. Playing good golf is always more important to me than winning. If you’re playing OK and you lose to birdies and chip-ins, then that’s just the way it is. I’d rather play good golf and lose than play bad golf and win. Michelle however doesn’t share this sentiment – she just wants to win.
I played a decent shot on the 17th par 3 and for once, the ladies tee box was not a brisk 25-minute power walk from the men’s tee box. Michelle came up short and didn’t get her par. 1-down and 1 to play but, and it’s a big ‘but’, of the 2 shots I have to give Michelle, one is on the 18th. If we both par it, I’ve lost. If I birdie it and she pars it, I’ve lost. It’s not looking good.
We both play solid tee shots, Michelle a bit left and me nicely on the right for the dogleg left par 5. Good solid 2nd shots – Michelle 60m from the pin, me 30m. Michelle duffs her sand wedge in and is still left with 40m in. Her next shot is not great and she ends up on the green but with a 7m putt. I’m not feeling confident with my sand wedge so I roll a 9 iron up to within 4m of the stick. Michelle misses her putt but is left with a 2-foot tiddler for bogey and she rarely misses them.
I need to sink my putt to win the hole and halve the match. My putt rolls off the head of the putter and swings right towards the cup. It’s on-line and it’s got the legs. It starts to drop at the left edge of the cup and I think it’s in but at the last minute, it lips out and sits a few inches from the cup. I tap in for par.
Michelle’s putt is almost “given” but I have to make her putt it as it’s towards the ocean so it’ll be fast. To my surprise she choked and over-read the putt. I won the hole by 2 shots and halved the game. Ironically, although we halved it, for me it feels like a win and for Michelle, it feels like a loss. Michelle is not happy. Par Wars is all square and I have to watch what I say for a couple of hours.
Miss Round 2? Read it HERE.