This past Tuesday I played in a qualifier for the NC Mid-Amateur golf tournament. It is one of the Carolinas Golf Association Majors, and there are several qualifiers throughout the state to complete the field of 100+ players. It is being held this year at Sedgefield CC , which was host to the PGA Tour’s 2008 Wyndam Championship. I am eligible this year since I have been reinstated to the amateur ranks and have celebrated the 30th year since I took my first breath. I guess they call it “Mid-Am” for mid-life, because we are too old to compete against the teens & 20 somethings (protect ego), and too young to tee it up from the Gold Tees(50+ crowd). I am just getting warmed up! 30 is the new 20! At least that is what I tell myself even though my body seems to argue sometimes.
Back to the tournament
I played the one day shoot-out against 88 other guys for 20 spots in this year’s championship. The qualifying round was contested at Chapel Hill CC. The course was stretched to approximately 6,850 yards, and the par 72 Gene Hamm layout was in perfect condition. The bermuda rough was up (about 1.5″-2″) and the greens were rolling true and quick (that speed where putts can get away from you easily). The weather was soggy, humid, and rainy as three other gentlemen from the Greensboro and I strolled the fairways. Also joining us was Justin, my caddie. He is a great friend, and said he would be my looper (he once caddied for the the Lama I am told, but that is another story).
I am a pretty low maintenance golfer as far as caddying goes. My main expectations are:
- keep the ball and clubs clean
- keep the grips dry
- help with yardage from time to time
- provide extra pair of hands in wet conditions (holding the umbrella, etc)
- be a sounding board and security blanket for decision making
That is pretty much it…Oh! one more thing, pull the pin when I putt.
Justin learned this, Caddy tip #106, on the ninth hole as I putted from about 60 feet. Justin was a little startled as all four of us yelled PULL THE PIN! in chorus as my putt rolled end-over-end towards the cup. Fortunately, my ball rolled over the left edge of the cup and all was well. Had it struck the pin while putting on the green I would have incurred a two-stroke penalty. Whew! That was close.
Other than that incident, the round went well. Justin did a great job, even though he was annoyed I did not let him do his job sometimes when I pulled clubs from the bag myself. I played well, carding two birdies, one eagle, and a bogey to finish with a three under par, 69, to take medalist honors. I believe 74 made it through the cut. It is now off to Sedgefield in mid September for my first NC Mid-Am Championship.
Wish me luck!