Thursday, November 08, 2007

A New Low Round

Today, after two weeks of an intense work project, I was able to get back out on the golf course. I went with a fresh attitude: I wasn't going to get upset at bad shots. After all, golf isn't my living, and stressing out over a poor swing wasn't going to make the next one any better.

So I stepped onto the first tee at the Marriott Desert Springs Valley course with no expectations. (And, as it turned out, no warm-up. My original tee time was 1:30, and I'd never be able to complete the round before dark, so I got to the course early and asked if I and my playing partner could get out any earlier. "Only spot I have for two is going out right now." So now was when we went.")

On the first hole, I hit an acceptable tee shot, a weak fade, but in the fairway. After a pulled second shot, I hit a chip to four feet and sank the putt for an opening par.

Hole number two I striped my drive straight down the middle, but pulled my approach again, chipped not quite as well and two-putted for a bogey.

Number three was a par five. A decent drive and second shot, but my approach went right, and I chipped and two-putted for another bogey.

Bogey on number four. My drive was good, but didn't quite carry over some rough. My second shot came up just short, but I stubbed my chip. Chipped again and one-putted.

On number five I got back on the par train with a solid drive, a solid 6-iron pin high and two putts for par.

Number six was a par three over water. Solid three-wood pin high and two putts.

On number seven, my 3-wood off the tee was a little left, but I was still only 120 yards out. Unfortunately, I mis-hit my 9-iron into the lake and ended up with double bogey.

Number eight is a par three over water. Hit my hybrid pin high but right, though I was able to make a nice up-and-down for par.

On the ninth, I pulled my drive left and had a terrible lie above a bunker. It was a pretty severe uphill lie and the ball was sitting down, and I had a sketchy stance. Fortunately, I got solid contact with a 3-wood and advanced the ball to 110 out. (That was probably my best shot of the round.) Hit a 9-iron pin high and two-putted for par, closing out the front nine with a 41.

Started the back nine with a solid drive and a good 3-wood. From 70 yards out, I hit a solid half-wedge to four-and-a-half feet. Unfortunately, I couldn't convert the birdie putt and settled for par.

On 11, I made par, thanks to a good pitch and a one-putt.

Bogeyed the par-three 12th. I was on the green in regulation, but made a very weak first putt and it took me two more to get down.

On the next hole I let my drive drift right, but got lucky with a 7-iron and was on the green in regulation, about 12 feet away. Made the putt for birdie!

Parred 14. Bogeyed 15. Par on 16. Par on 17.

At this point, I was pretty sure I was on my way to a new low round. I didn't know that if I even made bogey I would break 80! My drive was a bit of a flare, but I was still in the fairway, about 170 yards from the green. By this time, darkness was falling, and I was worried about the fading light. That's no excuse, however, for the shots that followed. I'm not sure if I pulled the shot, or if my alignment was off, but the ball flew high and far -- right into the pond left of the green. Dropped and left my wedge a touch short, leaving the ball on the fringe of the green. A chip and two putts meant a triple bogey seven. Still, my back nine score was a 40, for a total of 81, besting my previous low of 82.

Granted, I played the round from the white tees, so the course played only 6023 yards, but I'm still quite pleased. Breaking 80 is next!

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