lifetime best scorecard shooting +8 with 0 double bogeys
I had been playing well after making a solid par on #14 to follow-up on my second sand save in the round. I have a lifetime 1:11 average for par saves out of a bunker. Then came some real trouble.
My driver at this point of the season was not a weapon, and from the Blue tee box, I had to keep good discipline to find more than my typical 43% fairways hit. A straight but poor line off #15 could not carry the waste area. I took the lateral drop and dumped the approach into the fairway bunker, ugh. Made a nice recovery out for the layup. My wedge play and yardage control was stellar to this point; but now was not the time to get heroic lying 4. I took a conservative line through the middle of the green for the tucked left pin.
I recall moaning inside that I was about to make my first double-bogey of the day. I replaced the negative outcome with all the memories I have had on this green over the decades, dropping many improbable putts from every spot to every hole location on it. This one will be no different. When the quick 16' downhill slider to the left dropped, I let out a "Bogey!" victory cry and fist wave.
That was when I peeked at the scorecard to see I was standing at only +6 for the round. I thought I can handle #16, but the closing 2 holes would be a big challenge. A little pumped, I airmailed the green on #16 and missed a good look at a par saving putt.
I needed a bomb off the tee shot on #17 and the pull draw found its way down into the "valley of death" rough. A nice blind recovery out followed by an Approach Wedge shot which nestled nicely to 2' from the pin (pictured above) to save par on the #2 handicap hole!!
I had my chance on #18. Almost the same circumstances repeated, but I cut the tee shot right and had a tree blocking my line toward the green. I could either layup to around the 150 yard marker, or hit a low draw 4 iron around the tree to leave a shorter pitch shot. I pulled off the riskier shot and was rewarded with a similar pitch on 17. My heart raced and I thought, "Hit it stiff."
When the ball took off from the shot, my playing partner observed, "You nailed it", and it looked dead on the pin. It would settle a solid 11' short of the hole; still a good look. What followed can only be described as a "choke" -- I could not clearly see then nor remember later the putting stroke -- as it came off as an absolute whiff that pushed the "wish" hole high, but an awful 2' off right. I'd make Bogey to shoot 80, still chuckling at the faint-of-heart try.
I'll be mindful of this memory if I find myself in a situation like this, so not to repeat that and grind out a better attempt. Onward!