A wise man fights to win, but he is twice a fool who has no plan for possible defeat. – Louis L’ Amour
August 16th, 2016 – Lindenwood Golf Club, Pittsburg PA
We couldn’t lose this year. We were on a record 3-year losing streak. In 2015, I played the absolute worse golf I have EVER played. Rick played really well and all he needed was a little help from me. We would have won, but I couldn’t deliver.
We couldn’t lose. After 27 holes, Rick and I were winning all 3 games outright. Once we added in handicap, we had an insurmountable lead in 2 of the 3 games. +17 in MMS, -7 Stroke, and +2 1/2 Match. Only nine holes to go…
Gold Nine, Hole 5: 347 Yard Par 4
We were still looking great after the first 4 holes. They had birdie on number 3, and we made par. They could still win match but we had +14 on modified and -6 in stroke. We could spot them a stroke on all the remaining holes and still end the streak and win the steak in 2017. I could finally get the horrible taste of 2015 out of my mouth.
Andy put them on the right side of the fairway with a big drive. Rick pulled his drive to the far left. If he didn’t go into the trees, he was a muddy mess all along left tree line. As I stepped up to the tee, Rick suggested that I aim right. The advice was solid. It was wide open to the right. There is a fine line between confidence and foolishness. We had this in the bag. Simply avoid any major screw-up and we would win.
In a Tin Cup like moment, I aggressively aimed to the right side of the fairway when aggression was not needed. Even on good drives, I usually had a fade. This would be a good point to time that I golf left-handed. The ball was clean and high off the tee, but the fade leaned more toward a slice. It was clear. I landed right in the middle of the junk on the left. I was disgusted with myself as I walked off the tee. I couldn’t look Rick in the eye as he asked about the plan to aim right.
Thinking about it, I’m wondering how on earth to describe just how nasty that area was off to the left. It was so wild. — Andy
If we could find one of our balls, we would get a free drop out of this ground under repair. The problem was that it was littered with golf balls. Andy and Doug helped us search for about 5 minutes and then headed over to their ball in the fairway. We lost more than our balls in that wasteland.
Andy would hit a short iron to 10 feet and Doug would sink the putt for a birdie. After the lost ball penalty, we stumbled to a double-bogey. A 3-shot swing and the door was officially ajar.
The Rest of The Story
I could get into the painful details of the remaining holes but that would be droning on about what you can sense was the inevitable. We would continue to struggle over the next couple of holes with a bogey and double-bogey. They would continue their strong play and finish out with pars. We had a couple of chances to make it interesting down the stretch, including a couple near misses for birdie on number 9, but it wasn’t to be. The match would end with an uninspiring bogey on the 37th hole. They, of course, got par.
A day that was supposed to be a victory lap around the last 9 turned into our 4th loss in a row. Now all we could do was wait for another chance in 2017…
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