And I got one! That's what the closest to the pin contest on all par-3's during the Desert Marlin are called, but more importantly, they're worth a grand for the wallet. I hit a great, high, soft 6-iron on the par-3 5th hole, after just eagling number 4, a 580 yard par-5. It turned towards the pin and stuck pretty much right where it hit, a difficult task with how firm the greens were. When we got up there it looked like it might have a chance, and fortunately, the previous leader was only 8'11'' and my ball was at 8'2". A good shot to the tucked middle-left pin.
Anyhow, we played with John Adams, a former Tour pro who played at ASU back in the day. My dad and I played solidly for 14 holes, but just didn't get very many putts too fall. There is a good deal of Valley effect that you have to factor into the putts, and many times I had myself getting the general read of the putt correct, but not the exact read, which led to some lipouts and burned edges. We were -4 thru 14 and then unraveled a bit on the last 4 to total a -1, 71. I tossed a couple drives in the desert while pops made a couple bogies from the middle of the fairway. There was a good possibility that my Eagle 3 on number 4 might get a skin, which would be about another grand, but unfortunately it didn't hold up, but two of the easier par-5 eagles did. Oh well.
Our partners in the practice round, Ricky Barnes and brother Andy were the eventual champions at -25, a scant 17 shots ahead of us. Phil Mickelson and brother Tim were surprisingly not in contention. All in all it was a really fun week, and more importantly it was a good opportunity to test my game early in the year, and it's clear that I've made a lot of progress. I'm looking forward to more competition this year! And the way my game is headed I'm hopeful of Monday-ing into some early Nationwide events.