Bakker Crossing Charity Pro-Am 2017 – Dakotas Tour

Bakker Crossing Charity Pro-Am 2017

Bakker Crossing Charity Pro-Am 2017 — Dakotas Tour

Bakker Crossing Golf Course, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Tournament dates: July 8-10, 2017

More about the tournament


Pre-Tournament Challenge: Cracked 3-Wood 

I got to the course on Thursday – two days before the tournament start –  for some practice.  Went through my usual exercises on the range and eventually moved up to the 3-wood. Hit one solid, but it had a weird sound and the ball came out moving left and right. I hit another. Same thing, but this time it felt dead. Looked down and notice there is a crack on the face of my 3-wood. How did this happen? I have had the club for a year or so, and it looked to be breaking down the face.

So I text a photo to my contact at Ping, and he was nice enough to overnight me one to the tournament course. It came in on Friday and I threw it back on the shaft. (one of the perks of screw in heads these days- just torque in the new head to the shaft)  It was as good as new. I cannot thank Ping and their staff enough for helping and supporting me.

Practice Round Takeaways: Wind

I played a practice round on the day before the event (Friday). Overall, the course sets up well for me. All par 5’s are reachable with a wind coming from the south. This is with the exception of hole 16, where the wind changes.  For one of the practice round days, it was straight out of the north. The other day it was from the south. Difference in club selection on approach shot was either an 8-iron to a 3-wood if into the wind.


Bakker Crossing Charity Pro-Am 2017

Round 1: 8:50 tee time, Hole 1

Weather: 90 degrees, 5-10mph wind

Saturday, July 8, 2017

First round, I played solid. Just needed to shoot a little lower than I did. Scores were fairly low in the morning than the afternoon. Afternoon, the greens started to get a little crisp and guys were putting more conservative.

Overall, I birdied the holes I needed to (the Par 5s). But I did miss a few opportunities on the way in on my finishing three holes. I should have birdied #16 Par 5, but the approach shot came up left in a bad lie. Could have been an easy birdie hole, but ended up with a Par. Then on #17 par 3, I ended up using the putter on the fringe and left it short about 15 feet left for par. Just missed it (Bogey). So, there is two strokes that would have left me at -3 69 versus a 71. Little things like that I need to work on and better manage.

bakker crossing charity pro-am 2017_round-1


Bakker Crossing Charity Pro-Am 2017

Round 2: 12:50 tee time, Hole 10

Weather: 95 degrees, 15-20mph wind

Sunday, July 9, 2017

For the second round, I teed off in the afternoon. This is when the wind really started to blow. Not the best draw of the two days, but that’s golf for ya. (The afternoon group on the first day had no wind. They were now in the morning group on the second day, which also had no wind. You could see this reflected in the scores, as well. They were especially low the morning of the second round. Luck of the draw!)

I knew I needed to be around 4 or 5 under to even get a chance to play one more day. It was looking like the cut was going to be at 4 under par.

Here are some highlights from the day.

Hole #10

I hit a great 3-wood from the tee for my first shot of the day. Almost jarred my second shot for an eagle with a 50-degree wedge from 125 yards out. Proceeded to tap it in from 3 feet for a birdie. Off to a great start!

Hole #11

Par 5. Hit a great drive into the wind, and then a 3-wood to just short of the green. I hit a great chip to 5 feet and made it for a birdie 4.

Hole #14

Fast forward to the 14th hole. Second shot kicked left down into a little swale. Chipped it up to 8 feet and missed it for par. Bogey.

My front nine total: Shot an even par 36 .

On to highlights from my back nine…

Hole #3

Par 4. This was a challenging hole, as it was playing straight into a 30-mph wind. Par or better here would definitely mean picking up a stroke or two on the field.  I was in a good position to do so, with a birdie putt from 15-feet. Missed it and made Par, which I was still happy with.

Hole #4

This was playing straight downwind. Only 365 to the front edge of the green. I grabbed my driver to drive the green. Hit it just right of the green and now had a tough chip, but plenty of green to work with. I left myself with a 15-footer straight up the hill and drained it! That put me at -2 for the day. Good lookin’.

Hole #5

Par 3. Straight into the wind, playing 195. I grabbed a 5-iron, trying to keep it low in the wind. It was one of my worst swings of the day.  I think I got ahead of myself, focusing on the outcome of the shot versus my target. I came out of it (meaning my  hips opened up first) and missed the green 20 yards short and to the right. Then, I was left with a terrible lie in some very long grass. The grain was going into the ball. In this kind of shot, the grain of the grass will hinder momentum of your club. If I had to give the up-and-down percentages from this lie, it would be a 20% chance. It was bad. I hit a good shot to 13 feet and just missed the putt for Par. Bogey.

Hole #6

The hole was playing straight downwind. Here, I played it smart, using my 3-wood to ride the wind and to “manage your misses” essentially. At 350 yards, there was water on the right side and the left. My 3-wood takes trouble out of play if I pull it left or right, and it still left me with a wedge in my hand. I ended up hitting my it 330 yards and had 160 yards in. Made another birdie.

Hole #7

Then I got up to the Par 4, 7th and did not feel comfortable. Was second-guessing club selection. I tried to baby a 4-iron off the tee, pulled it a little left and it rolled down into the water. Made a bogey.

Hole #8

The pressure was on. This was my second-to-last hole, and I needed birdies. I overswung and hit my tee shot left with a 7-iron. We walked up to the green, and I had no idea there was a little pond left of the green. This is where desperate times call for desperate measures. I found the ball and (of course)  it was sitting up on some nasty green-black mixture in the pond. Only way for me to hit the ball would be to take off my shoes and socks. So… off they went! I walked in to assess what I could do to muster it onto the green. Made contact with the ball, and it ended up short of the green by 10 yards. Threw my socks and shoes back on and grabbed my wedge again.  Now hitting my third shot, I almost chipped it in and ended up making a bogey 4.

Hole #9

Now I definitely needed an eagle on the 9th if I wanted to play one more day. It was playing a little downwind and measured 365-yard par 4. I almost drove the green on hole #4 from the same distance, so I was confident I could do it again. I ripped my drive, which was fading toward the green, and wasn’t sure where it ended up. We get up there and I was on the fringe. Had a 20-footer uphill for eagle. The putt fell off to the right, and I tapped in for a finishing birdie. Shot a second consecutive 71 (-1 under par) for a total of 2 under par, and I missed the cut by 3 strokes.


bakker crossing charity pro-am 2017_round2


Monday, July 10, 2017 was the Bakker Crossing Charity Pro-Am 2017 final round. I caddied for a friend. Learn how it ended up helping strengthen my own mental golf game


Sean McWilliams, Professional Golfer from Arizona. Former Division 1 Pitcher and Canandaigua, NY native. Join me on my journey throughout the US and Canada as I go after my professional golf dream, taking on the, PGA TOUR, Mackenzie Tour – PGA Canada events, and mini-tours like the Dakotas Tour. I’ll also be sharing tour travel tips, golf course and gear reviews, and much, much more.

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