Wednesday’s weather was not the most welcoming when we hit the practice tee for our weekly game. Temperatures were in the low 40’s and the wind was blowing pretty steadily from the north. So steady in fact that Steve decided to bail after a few warm-up shots – more on this later. That left us with six (6) players, so maybe it was not so bad that he left.
There were not a lot of golfers on the course, so we decided to play as one group, a six-some if you will. We elected a Modified Pinehurst format, also called Scotch Foursomes. Competition in this format is comprised of 2-man teams, each hitting a shot off the tee, selecting the best one and playing alternate shot until the ball is holed. We decided on a small $10 bet per player, so the winning team would win $30 each. Dividing up by handicaps, your Hack paired with Dave Horton against the Senator and the Councilman, and against Dewey and Boteler.
Cripple Creek has been partially converted for winter play. All the tee markers have been moved to the front edge of each tee and temporary tees (mats) put in place on each of the par 3’s and hole #1. This is done to protect the tees during the winter when grass cannot be grown. The final winter modification will come in a few weeks when a temporary green will be placed at the end of the 14th fairway and the green closed for play.
Getting used to the format, the wind, and the cold each team bogeyed the first two (2) holes. On #3, your Hack hit gap wedge to about 6 feet, the Senator flew a wedge about 8 feet above the hole, and Dewey knocked his ball to about 20 feet left of the pin. Our partners putted, but only Horton was able to convert and we made birdie to take the lead by one shot. Following pars on 4 of the next 5 holes, we were able to extend our lead to 3 over Dewey/Boteler and 4 over Senator/Councilman. Each team bogeyed #9 and we made the turn 3 over – still in the lead.
Horton and I played steady over the stretch from #10 through #13 making 4 pars while Dewey/Boteler added another bogey and Senator/Councilman faltered with a bogey and a double. Your Hack’s team now had a 4 shot lead and we were coming into the par 5, #14 which I’d reached in two (2) shots in the previous two (2) rounds. While my drive bounced of the block foundation of the last house on the right and ricocheted back into the fairway (another “big right miss”), Horton hit a nice drawing tee shot that bounded just across the cart path that crosses the fairway about 185 yards from the green. We used Dave’s drive of course, and I hit a nice 6 iron to about 15 feet left of the pin. After a 2-putt birdie, we extended our lead, were 2 over for the day and feeling unbeatable with 4 holes left to play.
We made a bad bogey on #15 but followed it up with Dave draining a terrific 10 foot putt for birdie on #16. Dewey/Boteler continued to play steady making par after par on the front, but they remained 5 shots back with only 2 holes to play. The Senator/Councilman team continued to struggle making an ugly double on #16 and were basically wanting the round to end before one of them got hurt.
This is the part of the story where weird things begin to happen. We were sitting 120 yards from the pin on the par 5, 17th hole when your Hack made the worst swing of the day and pulled a pitching wedge way left and into the water. Horton had been so confident, that he was already up beside the green when I had to call him back to play his shot across the hazard after taking a penalty drop. Both of our opponents were on the green in regulation and we were hitting 5. Dave took a drop and promptly dunked his ball into the hazard after hitting the greatest “chunk” shot ever. Another penalty drop for us after which it hit a sand wedge to about 6 feet below the hole and David made the stressful putt for an 8 – a triple bogey. Dewey/Boteler made their par and our lead had dropped to 2 shots with one hole to play.
Although we still felt comfortable on the 18th tee, dropping 3 shots on the prior hole was definitely on everyone’s mind. I hit a good drive into the middle of the fairway, about 180 years out, but Dave’s approach was about 10 yards short of the green. No problem, it was an easy chip for me and Dewey/Boteler were way left hitting their third the green. Evidently it was a problem because Dewey hit a beautiful pitch to about 7 feet and your Hack stubbed his chip to the front fringe. Horton missed and left me with a 6 foot come back putt, while Boteler smoothly knocked his 7 footer in for yet another par. Of course, I missed the come back putt and we made double bogey losing the 2 shot lead and ending the match tied with Dewey/Boteler.
Evidently, your Hack is not much of a pressure player – even in a small $10 match. Horton and I shot 40 on the back to the Dewey/Boteler one over 37. As I said in the opening, evidently no lead is large enough when your Hack is involved.
All in, the modified Pinehurst match was a fun way to play on a cold and windy day. All six (6) of us had a great time and we headed into the bar for the draw party to setup teams for this Saturday’s 3 Man Step Away Holiday Scramble. During the draw, Steve (who’d bailed from our match on the practice tee) showed up after “smashing” (his words) the casino in Ocean City while we played. Congrats on the win Steve – bring that cash to the course this weekend!
We have 17 3-man teams for the step away on Saturday. Your Hack is partnered with Buddy Bromley and Frank Miranda. Let’s go!