Mike “Senator” Cummings has been on a run over the past couple of months. His chipping and putting has gotten sharper and better. And, he is gaining yardage off the tee and hitting fairway after fairway. He’s become a “killer” looking for his next victim. All this, with that perpetual, disarming smile on his face.
It was Sunday, the day after the Holiday Step Away Tournament, and it was time for a money game at the Creek. Your Hack partnered with the Sheriff and took on Hagen and the Senator for, let’s say, somewhat higher than our normal Nassau stakes. It was agreed that the Senator and I would play even up and the Sheriff and Hagen would get 2 strokes a side. Little did I know that I was to become his victim.
The match started in a typical fashion as both the Senator and I had 4-5 footers for par on the 1st. He made and I missed – 1 down. Pars had halved #2 and #3 when the Senator flagged his approach shot to 3 feet on #4 and made birdie – 2 down and even on the press. Hagen made par on #5 to our bogeys and then made bogey, net par on #6 to win that hole as well – 4 down, 2 down, and even. Some would say it was getting ugly with our opponents hamming and egging it to perfection and the Sheriff and I leaving our balls in bad positions and missing putts. “Was getting ugly . . .” is not the right phrase – it was ugly.
All four of us managed pars on #7, but then Mike made par on #8 and Hagen made par on #9 to make the ugly official – 6 down, 4 down, 2 down. We lost the front, 2 presses, were 6 down on the match and 3 up on the Texas press which would be an added bet on the back nine.
The “ugliness” continued on #10 when I left my 40 yard wedge short of the green and couldn’t get up and down. Of course, the Senator made par which put us 1 down on the back and 7 down on the match with only 8 holes to go. We fought back to even on the back when your Hack made a nice downhill putt for birdie on #12 – my first birdie of the day. The Senator struck back with a winning par on #14 and #16 to push us back to 2 down and even on the back – we’d lost the overall match bet by that time as well.
It was at this point when the Sheriff decided to step in and clean up the town. After three (3) solid shots on #17, he drained a 25 foot put for birdie, net eagle to beat the Senator’s birdie – we were now 1 down/1 up on the remaining bets and had won the Texas press. On the final hole, the Sheriff was short left after two (2) shots when he hit a spinning chip that collided with the flagstick and stopped 2 feet from the hole. The conceded par, net birdie clipped the Senator’s par and we’d clawed our was back to take the second nine and the press. All told we only lost 4 ways and it felt like a victory.
The Senator shot a beautiful 73 – 2 over par – against my 80. Hagen and the Sheriff stood at 82 and 81. Of course, all these scores included a bunch of conceded puts – remember it was match play. However, the Senator’s score was real as we were reluctant to give him any putts that day. He made everything he looked at all day long. It was a real pleasure to watch Mike play. But let’s not forget his partner. On the two (2) holes where Mike made a bogey, Hagen came through with a par to win or halve the hole. They play almost perfectly as a team. Well done boys – there will be a re-match in the near future.
The weather looks bad all week so I doubt there will be any golf played until next weekend at the earliest. In the meantime, stay safe and, if you play, keep it in the short grass.