14th September 2010. After playing the first championship qualifying round in pouring rain and very uncomfortable conditions, the second and final qualifier was the complete opposite. Sunshine, a pleasant breeze and the course relatively dry, the only real hindrance was patches of long grass on the fairways which could not be cut regularly in the past two weeks. This was frustrating for both finding balls and playing shots but definitely it could have been a lot worse.
The practise of the past weeks did deliver for me on the day finally managed to get the drives off the tee back to an acceptable level of accuracy. The problem of late was a combination of physical restriction in my swing due to injury and a massage on the Monday prior to playing relieved that. Which soon had me able to swing freely on the tee and get rid of the outside in swing plane that causes the slice out to the right. This combined with the short game practise in pitching and putting practise got my score below 90.
I did make mistakes and my gross score of 89 included three penalty strokes, two of those came from wayward second shots that rolled under trees, requiring a penalty drop to be able to play a decent next shot. The other a tee shot that went out of bounds, not by much but out is out. There were other shots that could have been better that effectively had little influence on the final score. As is expected the two shots that really stick in my memory are the pitch in for birdie on the 7th hole and the 6 metre putt for birdie on the last hole. A little disconcerting is I am now unsure of how much my physical injury restriction of the past few weeks has been affecting my game. Even so it is not a major influence I believe for any more than the past 2-3 rounds and was simply a result of it being nothing like the discomfort and restriction of movement that has been experienced previously.
My injuries were the result of a motor vehicle accident 20 plus years ago and the past two years the rehabilitation of these has finally had major improvement in my physical condition. The downside is being inured to pain and discomfort is a habit of mine and I accept the discomfort too often instead of getting it treated. Last year I was laid up for 3 months as my body reacted to the action of playing golf as internal scar tissue was strained and eventually corrected into a semblance of normality. This is why part of my golf practise includes weights and excercise routines, in moderation. The gradual strengthening routines are not targeting building up physique, they target stamina and conditioning to be able to play 18 holes of golf and not have the injuries sap away playing consistency.
The final results after a quick tally courtesy of Golf Link has the B Grade Championship Qualifying Table as follows; 1) 100 5101300281 N N 86, 2) G Dening N N 89, 3) 67 5101300264 N N 92, 4) 33 5101300255 N N 98, 5) 50 5101300267 N N 102, 6) 17 5101300251 N N 109 7) .?.. 8) .?..
I have managed to come in second place which may change as the first qualifier has intimated a move up to play in A Grade. No real difference going to the first qualifying place. Depending on whether any of the “C” Grade qualifiers elect to move up to play “B” grade it is possible I will have a bye in the first round of match play. Several of the C grade qualifiers have good enough scores to move up a grade and they have only moved to the lower grade since the new handicapping system came in. It will be no surprise to me that they choose to play “B” grade and I am confident against any of them. On the other hand having the number one qualifying play move to A grade is a bonus for me I have played with him several times socially in match play practise and the honours are all square. Fact is I have never came close to 80 and at my best could possibly score an 84-85 off the stick and would need him to have a bad round to be in with a chance of beating him at the minute.
That is all conjecture for now and the actual play off table will be available today(Tuesday) or tomorrow and then and will now what the state of play will be. In the meantime a trip away for a couple of days is on the cards and a week break before the first playoff to tune up my match play technique. Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all” Geoff