Sometimes, you just click. Whether it’s with a person, a place, an activity, whatever. No matter what you are doing or how you are feeling, when given the opportunity, you just click. That’s the way it seems to go with me and Coggshall Park.
Last year, I played my first two tournaments on the course, and I won my first two tournaments on the course. So naturally, when the first of two PDGA events for this year popped up on the schedule, I signed myself up.
Can’t say I felt particularly sharp or comfortable with my game leading up to the tournament. I played a couple rounds the day before, one at home and one at Coggs, and neither was anything notable. My putting was off, I was missing my lines by a little bit here and there. Basically, if I played like that when it counted, I’d be in for a long day.
But, like I say, something just clicked on tournament morning. Even the not so good shots found their way to good enough spots to recover from (or in one case, kicked out of the shule and on to the green). First round featured one badly missed putt, one ugly drive (paired with two ugly attempts at recovery in order to find the fairway), and some otherwise steady and unspectacular play. Missed a couple easy deuce chances but picked up a couple deuces on unexpected holes to balance things out. Finished with a 51, good for second place at halftime.
That’s where the real fun of the day began. Lead card with Gage Benson on top with a 49, me at 51, then Gary Cyr and Joe Yaskis at 53. Gage is a good young player playing his first year in the Open division. Unfortunately, it showed for him on his first lead card. Nerves seemed to have gotten the better of him as he started with a 5, then a 4, and then added a couple more of each to quickly fall out of contention (though he came back strong in the second half of the round to hang on to the last cash spot).
Gary, Joe, and I go back years. Always been rather equally matched and extremely competitive, thus it’s a rare tournament that we’re all playing in which I don’t get to play at least one round with one or both of them. While Gary hung close for a while, this day turned into the Josh and Joe Show.
Joe came out of the gates hot with a pair of deuces to my threes, so after two holes, he and I were tied. From there, it was a bit of back and forth. I birdied four to take the lead. He birdied eight to tie it again. He bogeyed nine to give the lead back to me, only to tie it back up with a birdie on ten. We both birdied 11, 12, and 13. Joe hit a monster putt on 14 to save his three and preserve the tie. I took the lead back with a birdie on hole 15. We both birdied 16. Joe carded a birdie 3 on hole 17 to tie things back up headed into the final hole.
With that birdie, Joe had the box on hole 18 and put his drive short and right of the pin, about 40 feet out. I went next and pured a Pure down the middle. It was on the right line but I quickly realized I’d over thrown it and my only chance was the disc hitting the basket. It didn’t so I ended up about 35 feet long in some thorns and scrub brush. Joe laid up his second shot, leaving me to putt for the win.
I was forced to straddle due to foliage around my lie. I let the disc go and for a half-second, I thought I’d done it. My putter hit the S-hook just below the yellow band, fell straight down to the rim of the basket, then fell to the ground. So close. We both dropped in our putts for three and turned in our scores of 48 for Joe (new course record) and 50 for me (my second best round on the course).
After a 45 minute wait for the rest of the tournament to finish up, we walked up to hole 18 with the leaders from MA1 who were also tied. Joe drove first and got a monster skip that left him about 35 feet to the right of the basket. I followed him by taking all of the drama out of the proceedings and hitting the first tree in front of the tee. I had it in the back of my mind my drive here to finish the second round and how (for some strange and inexplicable reason) I didn’t want to repeat the over throw. I think I tried to get too fancy and just yanked the shot. My recovery shot fought through a few branches to give me a 35ish footer to try to keep the pressure on but I missed. That allowed Joe to lay up and drop in for the win.
Despite not winning, it was a great day. That kind of intense, back and forth, every shot counts kind of round is the most fun kind to play. Win or lose, I feel great after a round or tournament like that just for being part of it. That I fell short to someone I have a great deal of respect for makes it even better.
On top of that, the course was great. It’s still relatively young and many of the tees are still natural, but the progress being made is really evident. It’s fast becoming one of my favorite places to play, and not just because of the success I find there.
Taking the week off for tournaments, sort of. Just running a Birdie Bash at Enman Field on Saturday. No playing. Probably a good thing since I’m starting to come down with a bit of a head cold. Want to be in good shape for the next tournament, Tourney 54. Of course I was saying that two months ago too. Don’t think weather will postpone it this time.