My third round saw me get off to a good start, even getting into the red briefly. Unfortunately I hit a bad stretch on my back nine, making 4 bogies in a row that dropped me into 4th going in to the final round. Three players were tied at +2 while I was at +4. But not to worry, because I would pull even with them pretty quick in the Final Round. After an unbelievable flop shot on one to set up a great par save, I continued my aggressive philosophy on number 2 (a 330 yd par 4) and hit driver all the way onto the front fringe of the green. After reading it to break a little left, I hit the putt, apparently pretty hard, because it hit the back of the hole from 50-feet, popped up, and fell back into the cup for an eagle 2 to put me back in a tie for the lead at +2. My playing competitor and I plodded along that front nine making all pars, until I missed a 4-footer for par on 9 to drop 1 behind him. The other two players in contention at this point had fallen back, so it was a two-horse race. I made up for the bogey on nine quickly as I hit a gap wedge to a foot on 10 for birdie and then got some more back with a 30-footer for birdie on 11 as well, which put me in the lead with 7 to play at +1. My playing partner, David Bradshaw, was +2. I had a really nice up and down at 12 and had a 3-footer at 13, while David had 25 feet for birdie. He poured his in, while my delicate breaker caught a lot of hole, but spun out. So instead of having a 2 shot lead like it looked like I might have, we were both tied at +1 instead. Pars on 14. 15 was another good opportunity for me, but I caught my second shot a bit heavy, not hitting the par 5 green in two, rather having a 90 foot putt from the fringe. My 8-foot birdie try slid past while David made his 6-footer for par. He hit it to 3 feet on the downhill par 3 16th for birdie and did the same on 17. It was over after his birdie on 17, because my mis-hit 3-wood took a hilacious bounce up a hill behind some trees, forcing me to punch out. I made a double. He was -1 while I was back at +3, but still in second by 1. I made a really nice par on the par-3 18th to shoot 69 the final round and finish lone second to capture the $15,000 pay day.
It was a lot of fun to be in contention and feel the heat coming down the stretch. It just would have been nice to take advantage of those opportunities on 13 & 15. That's where I really feel like I let the the tournament slip away a bit. Anyhow, a very positive week as I now go west to play in John Deere qualifying. Hopefully I qualify and again play in the site of my first PGA event. If not, I've got two eGolf tour events lined up at The Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, NC and Grand Harbor in Greenwood, SC.
That takes me through about July 20, stay tuned for updates! Playing well!
Monday, June 25, 2012
Today was the start of the Frank Fuhrer Invitational, one of the best tournaments on my schedule, if not the best. $150,000 purse with 30K going to the winner. I got off to the least coveted of starts, bogeying my first hole and then hitting a drive OB on my 2nd hole, the 11th at the Pittsburgh Field Club. Things took a while to get better as I found myself +6 thru 12 on a windy day with firm greens. But I strung together some birdies to fight back for a 73, closing the final 9 with a 33. Doug Stadler (who is caddying for me) and I grabbed some lunch between rounds and didn't let the break between rounds deter from our momentum. I shot another 33 on my outward 9, which included a great up and down from the greenside bunker on the par 3 6th hole and made 2 more birdies and one bogey on the back to finish the day at 140 (Even Par) with an afternoon round of 67, the low of the tournament thus far. I'm tied for the lead with two others heading into our third round tomorrow. I tee off at 10:12, results should be posted on the Tri State PGA website