It might not officially have been left-handers’ day, but it might as well have been at the Eastern Massachusetts Championships at Pye Brook Park last Sunday. The course has long had a reputation as a “lefty course”, not disproved in any way by the fact that a left-handed thrower has won three of the last four and four of the last six EMCs. So it should come as no surprise that this lefty (and former EMC champ) was in attendance for the big 10th anniversary extravaganza.
If the lefty rep didn’t seem solid before, the 10th edition of the EMC cemented that reputation as not only did the defending champ (a lefty) win his second straight and fourth title overall, but seven of the eleven cash spots in the Open division were taken by lefties and there was yet another lefty in 12th place, one throw from the cash. Oh yeah, the FPO winner was a lefty too.
The course and the park itself is situated on an old landfill site, so it plays up, down, and around a big hill. The course goes clock-wise around that hill, so on many of its slope-side basket placements, the lefty backhand (or righty sidearm) hyzer approach is most beneficial. Regardless of handedness or approach angles, though, rollaways are a common occurrence. As is the wind, being at one of the highest points in the area.
As for me and how I played, the story of the day was an inability to get inside the putting circle consistently. Plenty of open, reachable holes but more often than I would have preferred, I found myself putting for deuce from 30-40 feet away because I was either short, left, or long by that amount.
One of the great things (amongst many of the wonderful touches that the staff puts into the course and event) about the event is the painted 10-meter circles around all of the baskets. And having those circles made it painfully clear how often I was not in the circle when I wanted to be.
The stat-head in me enjoys being able to know exactly how many putts I made or missed within 30 feet. I counted four misses inside the circle in the first round, counteracted by two makes from outside the circle. In round 2, it was four more misses inside the circle but only one made from outside. So to me, that’s a net total of five strokes I arguably cost myself just in putting.
On the plus side, outside of those misses and some early shakiness (three bogeys in the first seven holes), I played relatively mistake-free. At least, mistake free in the sense that I took no high scores and didn’t gack deuce opportunities into fours and higher like I did last week. Could I have better? Of course. But I can’t really kick myself (hard) for a drive that landed a foot outside the circle because it wasn’t 10 feet closer to the basket.
And I had two great groups to play in, meeting new folks from outside the area as well as getting to spend time with old friends. Competing is fun and winning is fun, but it’s the social aspect of the tournament that makes it worth the time.
In the end, my scores came out about where I would expect average rounds to be, and it was good enough for a tie for 6th (behind four lefties and a lone righty). Big thanks to Stew, Phil and the whole VSVN crew for the course and the tournament. Definitely one I try hard not to miss.
Next week, back to another course and event I’ve won in the past, the Coggshall Spring Fog.