PAR WARS: ROUND 7
The Sub Par Golfer’s Account
Round seven already? Wow. We had just got back from the Big Island the night before and slept 12 hours to combat the previous day’s 2:15am wake-up so we could hike to a glowing lava flow before sunrise. If you’ve read any of this blog before you’ll know I’m not a morning person. But the 11 hours of sleep the night before really caught me up. So we decided to book a 2pm tee time (twilight) and hoped to get in 18 holes before it got dark at 5:45pm.
We started out as we often do, as we did last time. Argu—I mean “discussing” what tees Phil and I should tee off from and how many strokes he’s giving me. We decided I’d tee off from reds and Phil white – the forward men’s tees. Two shots for me. Done.
I managed to chip and putt the first for par while Phil bogied. One-up. Then we both parred the second but I had one of my given shots. Two-up. I parred, he bogied hole 3. Three-up. There was a bit of complaining at this point. To be fair, Phil directed it at himself. And three down after three is hard to swallow. But then he started to play, and I faltered.
On hole five I had what I like to call a small implosion. A hooky long drive left me in a position resting against two lava rocks, between sticks and under a bush. Great. I moved as much clutter as I could and the more I moved the more I thought I had a fair chance at getting it out. Turns out the larger of two rocks wasn’t actually touching my ball, so under Phil’s watchful hawk-eye I slowly and carefully moved… it… away…
Success! After that I HAD to hit it, I was OBLIGED to hit it. I swung back and poof! The red dust blew up on impact and the ball flew up, down, and ONTO MY &%$#@ING FOOT. Though I wasn’t sure at the time, I had incurred a penalty. Phil said two strokes but it’s actually one. I thought if you were in the process of striking it, it wasn’t a penalty but I was wrong. Didn’t matter though because I had ended up on the green for five (six if you count the foot fault, which, in a ‘friendly’ I wouldn’t have, especially as I’d lost the hole) and Phil was on for three.
After Phil drilled a massive putt on the 6th we were all square. After being three-up. Back to square. Ugh. I got a point back on the 8th after Phil tried to get around a tree and it ricocheted back at him, narrowly missing his face by about three inches (yikes!), but Phil took the point back on the 9th.
I hate idea of being ‘all square’ after 9, because it’s equivalent to having just stayed home for the past 2 hours. It feels like neither person has achieved anything (though I know this isn’t true). On the 10th Phil slammed in another big putt for his first birdie and he went one-up for the first time.
I got it back on 12 with a par but then he birdied 13 to bring us back to all square. It was getting too close. Phil has a tendency to start a bit crap but then accelerates towards the end. I knew I had to keep him at bay, and he knew he had to have a point going into the 18th where I have my second ‘shot’. On the 15th I went back to one-down. I had to do something.
We were driving up to the 16th and I said to Phil with a smirk, “I’m gonna get you” and after a good drive that went a bit right, I had a great chip to the top tier and ended up parring. Phil had a bogie. Back to all square. Only two holes to go and I had a shot on the last one. Things were looking good.
I’ve never liked the 17th.
It’s an easy par 3 but there’s always wind and I always seem to come in short. Phil hit a great shot that looked about a meter from the flag (it was more like 3) so I took an extra club to make sure I got to the pin. It was a good shot too but about five meters too long. To be fair I played it the best I’d played it all vacation, but again, Phil’s stellar putting sunk that 3-or-4 meter putt for a goddamn birdie (his third) and I was exactly in the spot I didn’t want to be. Unable to win.
So now we were playing for the half. If I hadn’t explained before, I hate to halve as it’s “equivalent to having just stayed home for the past four hours.” As we waited on the tee and darkness crept up on us (it was after sunset now), I was already a bit disappointed but I was determined to finish strong. After all, he’d just birdied – there’s not a lot you can do against that.
Phil hit a blinder down the middle-left and I knew I just had to keep it simple and in play. As I stood up to my ball there were a few parties who’d given up on finishing in the light and they were making some noise and walking around behind me. I should have walked off the ball but felt insistent they weren’t bothering me (instead of thinking about my shot). I hit a sky-ball and came up just short of the fairway. My second shot out of the rough was a good one but the long grass took out the oomph and I was just up with Phil’s drive. “There goes my shot” I thought.
My third shot was really good but as I always do, I cut the corner on the left and it got a little caught up in the rough and was just short of the green. Phil’s second shot was excellent and he came up about five meters short of the green. We were level-pegging. I knew this chip had to be amazing. Turns out my chip was ok, but it was still 3-4 meters short. Phil’s shot was a few feet closer than mine.
OK. This was it. I’d screwed this all up and the only way I could make it up to myself was to sink this putt. This was the match. My only shot of halving this thing was to sink a massive putt and my putts had been coming up close (but not in) all damn day. But this was going to be different.
I lined up the putt but didn’t look at it too long. I drew in a breath and watched the hole out of the corner of my eye. This was it. It had to go in. I pulled the putter back and swung gently for the hole. It got closer and closer and looked more and more likely until PLOP — it actually fucking dropped. I couldn’t believe it. I sunk the putt when I had to, and it felt amazing.
The light was fading fast and Phil had a tricky putt. If he missed it I would win the hole and we’d halve the match. I knew that with the way he’d been putting he could make it so I tried to prepare myself for the possibility, but the light was terrible and the pressure was definitely on. His putt was only slightly shorter than mine but looked a mile long in light of the match.
He struck the putt hard. It flew toward the hole with a purpose and as it got closer and closer I could see it was heading straight for the hole. His ball hit the side edge of the cup and with its speed it dropped in – but then just to give me an ounce of hope, it tried to fly right back out – and almost made it. The ball sat at the edge of the cup, half-in half-out for at least a second or two and then that little fucker dropped in. It was one of the most dramatic few seconds of our entire holiday golf, maybe of any matchplay we’d had.
And when I realized it was all over, with two incredible pressure-putts and an amazing birdie from Phil on the last (his 4th on the back 9) I felt excitement, despair and frustration all at once. I’d lost again, but it was great golf. It only took me, what, 20 minutes to get over it this time.
Turns out Phil shot three over par, so actually I did well to get that close. His putting was amazing and his drives never missed. We both played good matchplay and the more we have great matches like this the less shitty my attitude is. At least I think so.
THE SUB PAR GOLFER: 3.5
Back to Maui Nui and it’s all square in Par Wars.
We were playing at a much more sociable hour today as all our Canadian friends who love to play at the crack of dawn had returned to the land of moose and beaver. A later start suits us just fine. Michelle and I are cheapskate golfers and after 14.00, a round at Maui Nui is much cheaper.
We got paired with an elderly American couple called John and Ginny from Tennessee. I think Ginny suffered a bit of stage fright and she started badly but she soon settled and started to play some great shots.
As was becoming the norm at this course, I had a bad start and went 3 down after 3. I’d become used to this and even expected it – today I found out why. Using the GPS on the buggy, I thought I would note the difference in yardage from our respective tee boxes and guess what, on the par 4 1st Michelle was playing 109 yards less than me and on the 2nd (where I have to give her a shot) she plays 92 yards less. The 3rd is a par 3 and I’m 30 yards further back. What can a man do huh?
My luck turned though – a bogey from Michelle, then a triple on 5 followed by a birdie from me on the shortened 6th put me back in the game. We were all square and that’s how we went round the turn.
A birdie start to the back 9 nudged me ahead but the following bogey squared us up again. I go 1 down on 12 but birdie 13 to come back. We get to the par 17th tee box and we are all square. We both hit good shots on line but Michelle’s is a club too long. Mine’s on the money and I leave myself with a very sinkable putt. Michelle’s doesn’t drop but mine does so I go 1 up on the last where I have to give her a shot.
Par 5. Michelle had asked me to take a photo of her tee shot and maybe standing behind her put her off, I don’t know but her driver came underneath the ball and she skied it and didn’t reach the fairway. I had a good drive and a great hybrid 2nd leaving me about 40 meters from the green. It took Michelle 4 shots to get to the putting surface and she had a 3 to 4 metre putt across the grain. I chipped up and had something similar.
Michelle had a shot so we were all square on the hole with similar putts. Michelle sunk hers which made me wobble a bit. Damn! If I 2 putt, we halve the match. If it goes in, I win. Well, you already know – it went in to give me the match and put me 1 game up in Par Wars.
CATCH UP ON ROUND 6 HERE
READ ROUND 8 HERE
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