My good friend John Roberts was over with wife Nicky and son Leo and we played three very competitive rounds at Ridgewood, Providence and Mystic Dunes. I won the first 6 and 5, battered by him in the second 7 and 6 and lost a thriller 2 and 1 at the Dunes to give him the honours. John plays off less than me so without a start I was pleased with my performance but needs outweighing to the fact he was using my old clubs. He played a significant part in putting my game back, when he identified that the ball was well forward in my stance. Visit to Deer Creek a small executive course soon corrected this.
Whilst John was here I had arranged for us to play in a Charity Event organised by the Florida Chapter of the US marines and what a fantastic day we had. Before the shotgun start, we stood proud with our American cousins at the parading of colours and the singing of the national anthem. The Star Spangled Banner is a barnstorming tune prior to a sporting event, trust me. We played with two fine gentlemen, Fred and Don and what great company they were. My golf was not good, John was better, Fred started well and Don regularly chipped in with a useful shot, once again truth to be told, like Bay Hill, I was probably the weakest link.
We scored 65, seven off a place and never good enough for a place, but the event no doubt raised significant sums for injured and retired servicemen and both John and I had a day to remember, culminating for me with the receipt of a signed Fuzzy Zoellor Driver given to me by John who had won it in an Auction. Thanks BigMan! More importantly once again it was a pleasure to play and meet with such good guys as Fred and Don, hopefully we shall have opportunity to get together again – Fred has invited me to a Toys for Tots competition in his home town. A Toys for Tots double I won the Xmas one at Mystic Dunes, now that would be something to write about.
Young lonnie left us all trailing at Metro West - my partner in the last event, the two man scramble at Championsgate
The next day I was back on tour at Metro West, playing with Hud Hudson who had pushed me into third on my season debut at Duran, Lonnie Laoretti the big hitting youngster who pushed me all the way in the major at Southern Dunes and tour regular Dana Turgeon. In a disappointingly small field at a past tour course, which apart from the Greens that were turgid having been recently irrigated, Lonnie simply blew us all away on the front nine, culminating in a splendid drive at the appropriately called Daly challenge a 280 yard carry to the green which he simply nailed. Hud surprised us all and followed suit, ruining it by then hitting his approach into the water. Dana and I chickened out.
Preparing to take the John Daly challenge over the 9th at metro
At the turn the heavens opened and play was stopped as a mega thunderstorm came in. I find it amusing that although we all know lightning is the killer, most people find the actual bolt a thing of beauty and exhilarating then jump with fear at the following clap of thunder. This was some storm but it allowed me to assess my position in the competition, I was four adrift of Lonnie but only one behind joint second place held by James Rearden and Todd Morgan.
Bad weather stops play and play-time starts!
After the break with the course extremely wet, I played a very competitive back nine, never missed a fairway and putted a little better. At the close I was 6 adrift of worthy and deserved winner Lonnie but 4 clear in second place for more significant points and a $100 fee taking my winnings to over $500 for the trip. I enjoyed Metro despite missing four putts of less than 5 feet which could have put me much closer to Lonnie. More significant is the extremely strong likelihood I may have now accrued enough points to be chosen to play in the national finals in October. If I can get out of blooming jury service… Watch this space!
I have now finished my rankings events, I may return for the second and final major in August, work permitting. But after 5 events my record reads: a victory in the major, two seconds an a third in tour events, just one unplaced. I stand third in the rankings with one of the better scoring averages. It could hardly have gone much better, I hope I can get back for the Nationals.
I have one event left on tour, the Tom Mirus Pairs scramble when there are no ranking points at stake. I am paired with Lonnie and it is at my local course at Championsgate, all set for a big finish. Before then I am once again playing in the Florida Open for Disabled Golfers at the splendid Kissimmee Bay Country Club. I played in this last year and it as one of the highlights of my golf travels. I played with Mike who had one arm and Renee one leg, yet their love for the game as well as ability to play it well was unbelievable. I look forward to meeting them and fellow golfers who range from amputees and paraplegics, to heart and stroke attack victims who play the game as the elders intended, I am proud to be part of this event.