Posted: Oct 17, 2008 11:19am ETI promised everyone an update on my golf exploits. I won!!
As I explained in a previous blog, the Governor’s Cup is a season-long match play tournament with full handicaps that is open to all members in good standing of Sleepy Hollow Country Club. It does mean that the lower your handicap, the harder it is to win because you end up giving strokes. I gave strokes in three of my five matches, but in the finals, I was lucky to get four strokes from my opponent, a wonderful gentleman named Kieran Duffy.
I was surprised that I didn’t feel my nerves more on the first tee, but my first swing belied the truth; a classic big slice that suggests you’re a little tight and not getting through the ball. I ended up with a bogey, but my opponent’s nerves were apparently getting the better of him, too, and I won the hole. We halved two. But I lost three, four and five; each putt produced tremors in my hands that I couldn’t believe. But I turned it around on the 6th hole, a par 5 where, even though I was in trouble, I hit my fourth shot to two feet for a par that led to a win. I got back to all-square on eight, and then on nine, played my worst hole of the day, and I made the turn one down.
On 10, a beautiful par 3, we both hit the green, but I was a good 30 feet from the hole with a downhill putt over a ridge. I ran it 15 feet past the hole, and I realized I was looking at a two-down deficit. Instead, I sank the putt, he missed and we halved the hole. I won 11 outright so the match was all-square again. We both bogeyed 12 by missing fairly easy par putts, and then my run of putts began. I sank putts of more than 10 feet on the next four holes, leading to two wins and two halves. I was two up with two to play. I nearly drained a 30 foot par putt on 17 to end the match, but then he sank a great 15 footer for par to extend the match. I was one-up on the 18th tee. On the 18th green, I left myself a three-footer for par, he missed his par putt, and conceded the match. Whew!
Since I’ve never won anything at golf, it has been a great feeling of accomplishment this season. My handicap went from a high of 10.4 down to a 7.9 index, and after more than a year of not breaking 83, I’ve had a couple of 80s and the 75 in a Governor’s Cup semifinal round. At the club’s closing day tournament, the following day, my old game came back. But I had a great cigar on the course, and a lot of fun receiving the congratulations from my fellow club members. Yup, it feels good to be the champ.
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Alex Benes — California — October 21, 2008 11:01am ET
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