Fortunately, Unfortunately

This post is by from Mostly Harmless

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So I failed to qualify for the New York State Golf Association’s Men Amateur Championship yesterday at Wayne Hills in Lyons, NY.  Let’s do the rundown in the form of “fortunately, unfortunately” to make it at least mildly entertaining for some people.

Fortunately, I didn’t embarrass myself this time (as I did in pretty much all my tournaments last year).  I actually beat the two members of the St. John Fisher’s golf team I was paired with (they had bad days for them, while I actually had a pretty good day for me).  I shot a respectable 81 and it was about the highest I could have scored given how well I struck the ball.

Unfortunately, I missed the cut by 8 shots.  This qualifier had the lowest medalist scores (3-under 69s) and lowest qualifying scores (1-over 73s).  There was about a 1% probability I could have scored that low that day, given that I was 5-over after 4 holes!

Fortunately, I bounced back from a bad start (caused mostly by a hacking triple on a long par 3 and some shaky putting and ball-striking over the previous 3 holes), going only 4-over over my final 14 holes.  In fact, except for the 2 holes on which I had sand-related disasters (1 early on each side), I was 4-over for my other 16 holes.

Unfortunately, my putter let me down repeatedly on the front and at key times on the back, as well.

Fortunately, I did putt well enough to make a couple of nice par saves and a birdie on the 2nd-toughest hole on the course.

Unfortunately, despite all 4 of Wayne Hills’s par 5s being short, I failed to birdie any of them and actually 3-putted the 9th for a bogey when I flared a 3/4 wedge way right on an easy approach that should have resulted in a birdie opportunity.

Fortunately, my overall ball-striking, especially off the tee and with my long irons and hybrids, was the best it’s been all season and maybe better than anything I was doing last year, too.  I hit 12 of 14 fairways and just missed the two I did miss.  I hit 8 greens, was on the fringe of a good number of others, and gave myself a handful of really good looks at birdie.

Unfortunately, those two fairways I missed forced me to play defensively on my approach shots on the 1st and last holes, leading to bogeys when I failed to get up and down on both holes from near the green.  In fact, my overall chipping and pitching was pretty sub-par (and not in a good way) all day.  And how many birdie putts did I misread or leave dead center and short?  All of the good looks!

Fortunately, I was clubbing myself really well all day, so at least I didn’t have to chip or pitch all that often and had a lot of chances for birdie.

Unfortunately, I had a key mis-club late in the round when I needed to keep giving myself birdie chances and went over the green by 10 yards.  No caddie to blame for that one, either!

Fortunately, despite a bad pitch, that was one of the 2 holes when I made a putt I normally shouldn’t and wouldn’t have made.  That was on top of a playing partner making a miracle birdie from near-OB in the mud under a tree after duck hooking a drive and a provisional that both looked OB from the tee.  So it was a pretty cool moment for both of us.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough of those cool moments to finish in the top 2/3 of the field.

Fortunately, given that I hadn’t even broken 40 for 9 holes until a few days before the tournament (two of them coming when I took onechan out for her 1st-ever complete 9 hole-round and I played two balls while she shot a 107 with 39 putts, not counting whiffs!), given that it rained so much the two days before it I couldn’t even practice or play either day, and given how wet the course was and how little roll I was getting, I was actually pretty happy to have given myself a good chance not only to break 80 but to get into the mid-70s.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t sharp enough or able to handle tournament pressure well enough to actually shoot a number that would have put me close to contending for qualifying.  My putting was no better than C+ that day; if it had been even close to my A- in ball-striking, I might have had a shot.

Fortunately, I know what I need to work on and what I need to get used to doing.  Shifting to South Shore as my home course has definitely made me more comfortable on the kinds of courses I’ll be playing in tournaments in July and August.  And it made a ~6600-yard, soaking wet, tree-lined, and narrow course like Wayne Hills something I could handle on less than 10 rounds in 2013 thus far (and most of those made up of cobbled-together 9-hole rounds on different days).

So overall, I’m going to focus on the positives, hope western and central NY courses dry out in July and August, and get ready for my next tournaments!

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