After my play in Florida last week, I came to Cripple Creek yesterday (Thursday) with no expectations other than fun with the boys and great weather. The temps made it to 65 degrees, the sun shined, and the boys had fun. Hagen, Pip, and I took on Glen, Mike, and Horton playing 1 best ball on the odd numbered holes and 2 best on the even. In addition, we played a 9 point match within our threesome in order to have some action going beyond the team match.

While we were warming up, some of the guys came through the turn with news that Ski (Ted Skibicki) had made a hole in one on #13 so I was looking forward to a free drink when we finished! While practicing some putting, I was debating a Jack on the rocks versus Ketel One, tonic and cranberry – maybe I should have focused on my putting?

The Green’s crew was still working on a drainage project on #4, so we had to tee off on #10 and play the course backward. We were playing the “Modified” tees today, back tees on 6 of the 9 holes on each side. After 2 routine pars, I hit a lob wedge to 2 1/2 feet on #12 for birdie. Steve matched the birdie and we were 2 under par as a team. After running off 4 more pars, I stood on #17 at 1 under and only had 145 to the pin on the par 5. The shot was into strong wind, but I left it out to the right and failed to get up and down for par. That was followed by a sloppy bogey on the long par 4 18th hole and I turned at 1 over.

We were 3 under as a team, as Steve made a 4 net 3 on #18. Pip was struggling and only made 1 par on the first 9 and was falling back deep in our 9 point match – I had Steve by 4 points and Pip by 17 at that point.

Our team got to 4 under on the second nine when Steve made a par net birdie on #2 and Pip came through with a par, while I made a bad bogey from 120 yards out. We then missed two relatively short birdie putts on #3 that we thought would be needed to build a bigger cushion. Hole #4 is normally a par 5, but it is being played with a temporary pin while they work on drainage short and left of the green. Playing as a par 4, out team lost 2 shots as we were unable to sink putts on the bouncy fairway turned “green”.

I parred out with the only notable hole being the par 4, 8th hole. Playing from the back tees, we have to thread a solid drive through a narrow gap of trees for a mid iron to the green. I was able to hit a nice high fade into the middle of the fairway and had 165 into the wind to a back pin. My 5 iron was a little too much and bounced over the green. I was able to get up and down, but my partners both made net bogeys and we lost another shot to par.

Pip finally emerged on the last hole. After a not so great drive, he found the green and rolled in a 15-20 foot birdie, net eagle to bring our team back to 3 under par. Pip is a strong player but just did not have it yesterday. I don’t think I’ve seen him play worse, but I know the birdie will bring him back – that’s golf for you.

I ended the round 3 over for the day and clipped my partners by 10 points (Steve) and 28 points (Pip) in the 9 point match. I’m not sure why I played so much better yesterday than I did in Florida. It’s something I need to better understand going forward.

When we settled up in the Pub, out team’s 3 under was good enough to beat Glen, Mike, and Dave who evidently struggled from the back tees in the wind. Once the whining ended and cash exchanged hands, I was ready for my hole in one drink, compliments of Ski. Imagine my disappointment when I was informed by the bar manager that our head pro Brian had deemed Ski’s accomplishment as “not official” because it was made from temporary tees outside of the normal golf season. I called BS, but had a vodka anyway!

Congrats Ski – well done.

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