The Great Waterway Classic - MC

We wrapped up the Great Water Way Classic this past weekend in Eastern Ontario. The event was held at the Upper Canada Golf Course, about an hour south east of Ottawa, or 90 minutes east of Kingston.  The golf course was very close to the St Lawrence seaway, although set a little back from the banks.  The GWWC  was the sixth of nine events this season on PGA TOUR Canada.  It was my fourth one of the year.  I’d also played very well in the 2012 version of the GWWC, so was very much looking forward to the event.  

Prior to the GWWC my last event was The Players Cup in Winnipeg, in mid July.  I’d played a few small pro ams since but was really out of the game for almost a month.  Steph and I were married in early August up on the Sunshine Coast.  It was a magical weekend, one we will never forget and we really couldn’t have asked for anything better.  The GWWC was my first event back after almost a month of not much play or practice.  It was also my first event as a married man.

Staying in South Ottawa, I drove back and forth each day for the tournament.  Tuesday I managed to get 12 holes in, followed by a bit of practice.  I also participated in a golf clinic with the Cornwall Hospital Foundation.  I played the full 18 holes on Wednesday and to be honest felt pretty good.  I drew an afternoon tee time on Thursday and was excited and plus felt ready to play.  

As seems to have happened so many times this year, wet weather moved into the area Wednesday evening and hit Thursday morning.  At approx. 10 am, the rain started and by 10:45am the players were all pulled off the course.  I was supposed to play at 12:40pm.  We went into a 3.5 hour rain delay, and thus my tournament didn't start until 4:10pm that afternoon.  We managed to play until about 5:30pm when another storm hit and the day was called off.  I was even par through four holes and playing well.  The leaders had taken advantage of the soft conditions before the delay and had generally gone low. 

Back at the course early Friday morning, my side of the draw was in for it.  We would play the rest of round one, then start round two immediately following.  I had 32 holes to play Friday, and  was carrying my own bag.  I started on the challenging 630yard par five 14th hole.  Its really not that hard a hole, unless you hit a crooked tee shot, which I did.  I recovered well but due to the length of the hole, my lay up was 50 yards back of where it should be.  I had 225 yards to the green for my third.  Unfortunately I didn’t hit the green and just missed an up and down for par.  Bogey.  The 15th is a tricky par 3, 200 yards with an awkward green.  I hit an okay shot but had a tough 40 foot putt over a prominent hump in the green.  Hitting a lengthy lag putt so early in the round (7:50 am) is often a bit of a guess, you shouldn’t, but its easy to get the speed wrong.  I left it 8 feet short and narrowly missed my par put.  Bogey.  The 16th wraps up this mini little stretch of tough holes, I hit a very solid driver, my first of the day, just a little left and watched it bounce into a clump of trees.  In the practice rounds, we’d played 16 into the wind, on Friday it was downwind, I didn’t realize those trees were in play. Pitching out, I then hit a seven iron on the green and easily two putted for bogey.  I was quickly three over and genuinely felt I’d hit some pretty good shots.  Here we go again. With 29 holes to go, I put my head down and starting plugging away.  

I’d fought back to even par for the tournament through 27 holes and only had the tough back nine left to play.  I hadn’t looked at scoreboards all day but figured one or two under would have chance to make the cut.  The problem, I’d now played 23 holes on Friday and was starting to tire.  A sloppy bogey on 10, a bunch of near misses and then another sloppy bogey on 18 left me at two over for the event.  I was completely out of gas and simply didn’t have the reserves left to pull out a good last nine holes.  I’d missed the cut at two over, I figured by two or three shots.  I was frustrated, tired, annoyed and somewhat confused.  I’d hit the ball reasonably well, my stats were generally quite good (27 GIR, 18 / 28 fairways) but I simply wasn’t scoring, I had made seven birdies to nine bogeys.  It turns out the cut dropped to three under and the lead went to thirteen.  In terms of scoring, I wasn’t even close, the guys were going really low.  I was genuinely surprised at this, 22 under won on Sunday.

Moving forward, I’ve spent some quality time on my short game and putting over the weekend and the strategy next week in Peterborough has to be, cut the bogeys in half.  I’m confident birdies and scoring will follow.  In summary, Friday I played reasonably well but made too many “unforced errors” in terms of three putts and missed greens from middle of the fairway. Generally scores turn around when you start hitting the ball well, its just a matter of time.