SOUTH DAKOTA OPEN PRO-AM 2017
THE BLUFFS GOLF COURSE, VERMILLION, SOUTH DAKOTA
Tee time: 2:10pm Hole #1
Round 2. Ready to rock and roll. I was feeling good and confident today. That said, I do tend to get more antsy with later tee times. You’ll wake up at 7 a.m. and there’s still another four hours until you need to be at the course. It’s easy for all kinds of thoughts to pop up. So, I usually try going to bed later the night before to sleep in a little bit more.
Anyways… Today, I got to the course around noon. Wanted to get some good short-game practice in before the round. Put in some nice work around the green for 45 minutes and took a break before starting my practice routine again about an hour before tee time.
South Dakota Open – First 9 Holes
Hole #1: Wind continues to blow
First hole was #1 today, which is a good setup. Once again, I hit 4-iron. The wind was blowing just as hard as yesterday. (According to our boondocker hosts, it is always blowing this hard in South Dakota. 30mph-wind is only a breeze.)
I hit my second shot onto the green and three-putted from 20 feet. Just didn’t hit my first putt hard enough. Then, I hit the edge on the second putt and lipped out.
I’m frustrated. I know I have a lot of work to do now, but there’s also 17 more holes to make it up. It definitely changed my mindset. It was all or nothing.
Hole #2: 375-yard drive
I hit driver downwind on #2; I had nothing to lose. It left me a full club shorter in by hitting driver, which is great. (I hit 3-wood yesterday and it didn’t get me as far as I needed to be.) Now, I had a pitching wedge in from 170 yards. Hit the shot perfect to 7 feet and walked up to read my putt. It was a slight breaker from left to right and wind was coming into my face. I knew I had to hit it hard. I got it right in the back of the hole for an eagle 3. Nice!
Holes #3-#6: Right back on track
Three solid pars on the next few holes. Holes that were playing especially tough.
On the 6th hole, I pulled out driver. I am planning ahead at this point, knowing that the holes coming up would require driver. Needed to get back in the groove with this club.
I hit driver good, almost too good. The ball finished at a total drive of 370 yards. Although it was in the fairway, I am blocked out by a tree on the left. Ack. I tried punching a 9-iron under the tree, but carried it too far. It ends up over the back of the green.
Now I’m left with a 30-yard chip shot to a downhill green. Hit it pretty good, but rolled out past the flag to 10 feet. It’s an uphill putt that is just dead straight. Struck the putt solid and right in the back of the hole for birdie.
Holes #7-#9: Judged the wind perfect
The 7th hole gave me a tough putt from the fringe. The wind was blowing behind my back and it was hard to judge. I had a 15-footer to come back for par, but the wind knocked it offline for a bogey 5. This is, of course, a major pet peeve of any golfer–going birdie, then bogey. Very frustrating.
On hole #9, I hit driver instead of yesterday’s 3-wood. And it paid off. I only had 135 to a front pin and grabbed my 8-iron to keep it down in the wind. Judged the wind perfect and was left with an 18-footer up the hill for birdie. Put a good strike on the putt and made it for birdie 3.
Front 9 total: -2
South Dakota Open – Back 9
Hole #10 & #11: Birdie opportunities
On the 10th hole, I just missed a birdie putt uphill from 25 feet.
Hole #11 is a driveable par 4 playing 355 yards. So we had to wait until the group ahead of us got off the green. I was first to hit and hammered my drive. It landed just short of the green and rolls up to pin high about 20 feet. The putt was slightly downhill with the wind coming into me. The putt was breaking about 1 foot from left to right. I had a good read. Stepped up and the ball starts rolling straight toward the back of the hole. Just then a gust of wind slows it down and it misses on the low side. Tapped it in for a birdie.
Holes #12 & #13: Tall grass & tough shots
Just missed birdie on the par 3 Hole #12.
Now to the difficult 13th hole. Wind was just off the left. Playing a little safer today, I hit the 5-iron off the tee. It was a par 4, 435 yards. I hit it and right off the bat, the wind kicked it left. How would it kick left? It was coming from that way? I followed it in the air, but you’re unable to see it land at the bottom. We get down there and nothing is in the rough or the fairway. So after minutes of looking in the tall grass, I dropped hitting 3. I had 185 yards in now and had to punch something low and hook it.
The lie was not great that I dropped into. I hit it and it clips a tree branch and goes right back in the tall stuff. We could not find it again. Now dropping, hitting my fifth shot. I am left with 135 yards to the hole. My chip almost goes in for a 6, but I missed the putt and made a triple bogey 7. I go from 3-under par for the day to even par.
Now with five holes left, I need to be 3-under to make the cut. I tell myself that I can do it, and it would be a great story to tell.
Hole #14: Punching out
I stepped up and hit a great drive. It just kicked left under a tree and needed to punch it out. It went over the green. I got aggressive with the chip and left my a 15-footer to save par. Missed it and made bogey.
Hole #15 – #18: Birdies & lipping out
The 15th hole was a par 5 and 515 yards into the wind. I hit driver again in the fairway and could not get a good yardage for the second shot. It ended up just short of the green. Chipped it up to 7 feet and made a birdie.
Almost made another birdie on 16.
The par 3 lipped out for birdie on 17.
And lipped out for birdie on 18.
So, I finished strong, just not strong enough.
Overall, I am glad to battle out there in the afternoon wind. When it came to wind conditions, the second half of the field had the tougher go. But that is golf. Sometimes golfers tee off both days in perfect conditions, and the other half of the field has terrible conditions. I recall there being a story of a PGA player that missed six straight cuts due to having the bad end of the draw. It happens. And it is challenging, but a challenge that I accept. I am willing to learn from these moments and come out with a better chance next time it happens.
Thanks for following and onto next week in Yankton, SD for the Fox Run PRO-AM 2017.