Another set of back to back tournaments this past weekend, this time with some success. On Saturday, it was the West Thompson Open C-tier at West Thompson Lake DGC in Connecticut, and on Sunday it was the Newton Hill Open B-tier at Newton Hill DGC in Worcester MA. It was hot, humid, wet, and hot…a typical July weekend in New England.
West Thompson Lake and I have a hot-cold relationship over the years. Either I score well or I have an implosion or two…rarely ever find myself having an average, ho-hum kind of round. It’s either a 50-51 type score or a 58-59 kind of round…never in the middle. This day was no exception.
Round 1 featured only one real hiccup, and that came on hole 13 where my drive hit a tree late and ended up about 40 feet out. From there, I proceeded to three-putt my way to a 4. The only other score over 3 that I took that round was a 4 on the par-4 hole 10. The rest of the round was a solid mix of 2s and 3s for a total score of 51, good for the hot score of the round.
Round 2 was another story. In a good round, holes 1-5 should yield more twos than threes. And it did for my card mates. Not so much for me with hole 5 being the only deuce. I closed out the front 9 with a four on hole 9. Then came the aforementioned hole 10. My drive rolled OB. My second shot was OB by a centimeter. Ended up with a six. I followed that up with a deuce on the next hole but that would be my last. A four on hole 15 and the rest threes, and I ended up with a disappointing 57.
I somehow managed to hold on to the last cash spot for $25. On the plus side, I got a ringside seat to team64 mate Sam Henderson shooting the hot second round and putting himself into a playoff for first. Unfortunately, he lost the playoff on the third hole. Still a good day overall for the team.
As warm and sticky (and rainy during round 2) Saturday was, Sunday was decidedly warmer and stickier with temps and humidity levels exceeding 90. Add to that a course that runs up, down, and across a big hill, and a long and exhausting day was all but guaranteed.
In round 1, all the excitement came in a six hole stretch in the middle of the round. After starting the round with five consecutive 3s (two of which were the result of missing putts in the circle), the brief roller coaster began on hole 2. Starting there, the scorecard looked like this: 2, 3, 4, 2, 2, 5.
On hole 8, the roller coaster seemed to want to continue when my drive on the short par-3 skipped down hill and into the woods. The resulting lie was about 25 feet from the basket with an obstructed view. With a straddle stance, I managed to get a putt out, but it hit the front of the cage and rolled back down the hill behind me. Now I had a 30+ footer to save my three and the only saving grace was that it rolled to a spot with a clean line to the basket. I hit that line and made the putt. From there, I carded six more threes in a row to finish the round with a score of 54.
That score put me on the second card at this tournament for the second year in a row. And it also put me on the hole where the “roller coaster” began in the first round, hole 2. Fortunately, it was a little bit less of a roller coaster and a bit more successful than the first: 2, 3, 3, 2, 2, 4. Then on hole 8, I carded a two with another big putt out of the woods downhill of the basket. After that, I settled into a three groove through the back 9…the only blemishes being a four on hole 15 followed by a 2 on hole 16. I closed the round with a drop in deuce on hole 1 for a total score of 50.
My two round total of 104, which was exactly the same total I had at the 2014 Newton Hill Open after two rounds (55+49), was good for third overall for the second year in a row, and earned me a place in the final round safari six for the second year in a row.
In the safari six, I made a run at it, gaining at least a throw per hole on the leaders on the first four holes. Then I ran into trouble on the fifth safari hole. In hindsight, I’d have been better off laying up my fourth shot, but I decided to try to give it a run and didn’t even get it halfway there thanks to a tee sign that I never should have been near in the first place. From there, I three putted to a seven and ended the round still firmly set in third place.
It was an exhausting weekend, but it was worth getting through it in the end. Now it’s time for a bit of a break and running some tournaments, beginning with the annual Greenhorn Tournament and Trilogy Challenge. Next tournament to be played looks to be the Vacationland Open on August 15.