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Paterson Defeats Hartenstein In Playoff To Capture Central Texas Amateur

DSCN6482Steve Paterson (left) and Chris Hartenstein (right) posted five under par totals for 36 holes to tie for the lead in the Central Texas Amateur.  Both are members at Great Hills Country Club and play golf together on a regular basis.

In the ensuing playoff, they made regulation pars on the first two holes.  On the third hole, a dogleg right par five, Hartenstein hit the fairway while Paterson hit his tee shot into a bunker at the dogleg.  After Hartenstein advanced his ball to about 80 yards short of the green in the fairway, Paterson elected to go for the green.  From about 220 yards he selected a three iron and played from a flat lie in the bunker.

DSCN6479Having missed this green to the left in regulation play, Paterson played a cut shot that faded a bit too much and missed the green to the right.  Fortunately he drew a decent lie with a good angle to pitch the ball to the hole.  Hartenstein played his third shot to about 20 feet short of the hole.

DSCN6480Paterson then hit this pitch shot to within 10 feet of the cup.  Hartenstein missed and Paterson rolled in his putt for the victory.  This marks the second Central Texas Amateur Title for Paterson.  He also won in 2006.

In close pursuit of the leaders, Barrett Sandefur and Mike Allen finished at three under par totals of 139.  Another shot back were Nick Maynard and Cameron Button at 140, two under par.

See the full field results here.

Robert Evans, Chris Hartenstein and Mike Allen shot 68 in the second round to tie for low round of the day.  The low round of the tournament was 65, a tournament record, and was recorded in the first round by Cory Brown.

A record number of players finished under par for the tournament, due to softer conditions and playing a few holes from the front of the tee boxes.  Normally played as a par 72, the course was played as a par 71 because of the flooding from recent heavy rains.  Number nine, a dogleg left over a creek was partially under water and unplayable.

The staff at Forrest Creek decided to play the ninth hole as a pitch and putt par three and moved the tee box up by the green, leaving players with a 30-40 yard pitch.  The adjustments to the course were appreciated by the players and they were glad the tournament proceeded as planned.   The fairways and greens were in excellent condition.

 

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Cory Brown’s 65 Leads Central Texas Amateur

Cory BrownCory Brown (left) shot 65 to grab the first round lead in the Central Texas Amateur at Forrest Creek Country Club.  Brown graduated from Cedar Park High School and is a sophomore at Stephen F. Austin, where he plays collegiate golf.  Link here to his collegiate profile.

Steve Paterson, winner of numerous local titles including the 2014 Hill Country Amateur,  followed with 67.  Barrett Sandefur had 68 and three players shot 69 including Matt Wernecke, Chris Hartenstein and Cameron Button.  Click here for the full field scores.

Click here for Sunday’s pairings and starting times.

DSCN0657The golf course recently received a five inch rain that washed out the majority of the bunkers on the course and expanded the lake adjoining hole number nine to the point that the hole was unplayable.

After playing the eighth hole, players were transported back to the clubhouse and to number nine green, which was played as a 50 yard par three.  The tee was located to the left of the green.  Shown here is the lake in front of number nine.

In the photo to the right is Joe Beck III hitting his tee shot on the ninth hole, which was the last hole of the day for competitors.  He made 2 on the hole.  DSCN0656The entire field started on the back nine and finished on the front nine.  The Forrest Creek management is to be credited with making the best of a difficult condition and holding a quality event in spite of the difficult circumstances.

Overall, the course was in excellent condition with the exception of the bunkers and the expanded lake on number nine.  And, as the competitors know, it’s a difficult and fair golf course which requires good ball striking to record a decent score.

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Alex Ellis Qualifies For U.S. Amateur

Alex EllisAfter playing three days in the Firecracker Open, a number of Austin amateurs loaded up their clubs late Sunday afternoon or early Monday morning and made the two hour drive to Kerrville for a 36 hole U.S. Amateur qualifier that took place on Monday.

Alex Ellis, Steve Paterson, Brian Noonan and others made the trek around Commanche Trace Golf Course on foot in the summer heat and tried to gain entry into the U.S. Amateur.  Only Ellis was successful.  He shot 68-73 =141 for a three under total and tied for first place.  There were only three spots available and all three qualifiers shot three under  for 36 holes.

When asked about his round Ellis said, “I was six under after seven holes and basically held on for the remaining holes.”

There were two players that finished at two under and another couple at one under, including former Austinite Klein Klotz.

Here is a link to the final scores.

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Logan Boatner Shoots Three 67′s To Win Firecracker Open

Logan Boatner shot a third consecutive 67 to capture the Firecracker Open by a shot over Brian Noonan.  Shown here celebrating the victory with his parents and Tori Bales, his girlfriend who caddied for him in the last round,  DSCN0655 Boatner won in a dramatic fashion with a 40 foot eagle across a slippery green on the par four 18th.

A week ago Doug Smith, a well known and appreciated golf writer for the Austin American Statesman said in his bi-weekly Thursday golf column that he would take Steve Paterson, Michael Cooper and Brian Noonan against the field in the Firecracker Open.  That’s conventional wisdom and his prediction almost came true.

No one, except perhaps his parents and Boatner himself,  were picking Boatner to win the Firecracker.  Although he was playing good and had recently finished in the top 30 of the Texas Amateur, he was facing a field with numerous titles to their credit.  But Boatner, who grew up playing golf in Austin and will be a senior at Sam Houston State, felt good about his game.

He started the day at eight under par and was paired with Brian Noonan and Steve Paterson.   He combined two birdies with two bogeys to shoot even par on the front side.  Then he birdied 10, 14, and 16 to get to eleven under par and near the lead.  He bogeyed 17 to stand at ten under on the 18th tee.

His playing partner Brian Noonan, a former winner of the Firecracker and three time Men’s City Champion, was eleven under par on the 18th tee.  In addition,  Alex Levy, who opened with a 64 and shared the lead after the first two rounds, was at eleven under par standing on the 17th tee box.  A victory by Boatner was unlikely at that point in time.

DSCN0633But, as Levy hooked his tee shot into the trees of the 17th tee and had no chance to make par,  Boatner was smashing a 290 yard tee shot into the wind and onto the left side of the par four 18th green.  Levy, shown here facing his difficulties, lost his change at the title with a double bogey on 17.

As Levy, Erik Henson and Riley Pumphrey played the 17th, a loud roar drifted back to the 17th green when Boatner had made his eagle putt.

Noonan, who had a birdie putt on the 18th to tie Boatner, narrowly missed and the championship was over.   Boatner finished twelve under and the deal was done.

Boatner’s comments to the press after the round demonstrated a well spoken individual with a healthy respect for the traditions of the tournament and the Austin golfing community in which he learned to play the game.  It was obvious that the victory meant a lot to him and that he will cherish the title.

The story lines in a Firecracker Open are almost endless.  Here are a few:

  • Noonan finishes second by one shot.  He’s truly one of the best competitors in Austin
  • Erik Henson’s return to Austin the golfing scene demonstrates he still has game
  • Alex Levy’s has the firepower to win but needs experience in that situation
  • Paterson finished T6 and feels like he played bad
  • Hagen Fell’s 66 is the low final round
  • Michael Cooper’s raising kids but can still play
  • Mike Grindle’s five under total is a personal best in Firecracker
  • It took 74 or 75 to qualify for the tournament and the 36 hole cut was +6.

DSCN0648The City of Austin Staff are to be complemented on running a great tournament.  Pictured here are Steve Hammond, Jimmy Olivares, and Mike Branski as they keep a watchful eye on the trophy presentation.  These guys and their staff run the tournament and maintain the golf course.  The combination of great logistics, great weather,  and a golf course that was in good condition made it a very enjoyable experience for the players and the gallery. Cudos to them for a fine job.

DSCN0641Thanks to the press for the coverage.  Local news stations were on hand to capture the excitement of the tournament and they happened to film Boatner’s final putt.  Check the local news stations to get a glimpse of that action.   As usual, there was a healthy gallery for the tournament and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Click here for full field scores.

 

 

 

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Levy, Pumphrey, Henson Tied For Lead In Firecracker

There are a variety of ways to gain a share of the lead in the Firecracker Open.  Erik Henson shot a bogey free 66, Riley Pumphrey combined a triple bogey, an eagle and five birdies for 67 while Alex Levy made five birdies and three bogeys for a 69.   After the dust settled, they all stood at nine under par after two rounds.

One shot behind the leaders lurks the threesome of Steve Paterson, Brian Noonan and Logan Boatner.  Noonan and Paterson each have impressive resumes on the local tournament circuit and Boatner is one of the collegiate players with Austin ties.  All are capable of shooting a low round on Sunday and winning the championship.

Michael Cooper, a two time winner of the Firecracker, and Joe Beck III who plays for Rice University, are another shot back at seven under par.  Jeff Shell and Robert Evans are three back back at six under par.

On a day when the course was set up for scoring, there were five players that recorded 66 including Tim Mitchell, Cyrus Turner, Steve Patterson, Erik Henson and C. White III.
Eight players recorded 67′s.  There were no scores lower than 66 and as usual, Muny extracted it’s due from players that were not on their game.  The 36 hole cut allows the low 72 players and ties to advance to the final round of the tournament.  The cut line was at six over par.

Click on this link for the full field scores, tournament information and final round pairings.

 

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Levy’s 64 Leads Firecracker Open

alex levyAlex Levy shot 64 in the first round of the Firecracker Open to grab a one shot lead over Michael Cooper.  After shooting two under on the front nine, Levy made an eagle on 10, birdied 12 and 13, bogeyed 16 then closed with birdies on 17 and 18.

A graduate of Austin High, Levy now plays for Rice University.  He received his first letter this year and made the honor role.  View his player profile at this link.

Michael Cooper a two time winner of the Firecracker, is shown below with his dad in the background.  They shared a nice round of golf on a warm summer day.

Cooper started his round with birdies on holes one and two then bogeyed three, birdied four, seven, eight and nine to shoot five under on the front nine. DSCN0588 He bogeyed 16 and closed with birdies on 17 and 18.   It could have been a really low round if he had taken advantage holes 10-14, which are relatively easy birdie opportunities.  But, that is the nature of Muny, you always feel like you left something out there.

Robert Evans and Riley Phumprey both shot five under par 66.  Evans has been a consistent performer in the Austin golf scene over the last few years.  Phumprey, who played for the University of Oklahoma, teamed with Brian Noonan earlier this year to become Co-Champions of the Muny Spring Partnership.

DSCN0590Six players shot 67 including; Joe Beck III – who also plays for Rice University, Chris Benestante, Brian Noonan, Ben Carter, Logan Boatner and Eric Henson.  Henson is shown here with his wife enjoying the post round conversation around the scoreboard.DSCN0591

In total, 30 players shot under par in the first round.  The course was softened by a late afternoon shower on Thursday and greens were receptive to incoming shots.

Compliments to the City of Austin for running an efficient tournament.  Three years ago, decisions were made to address the problem of slow play in the Firecracker.  Rounds were taking five to six hours and players were complaining.

As a result, the field size was reduced and a qualifying requirement instituted.  Those changes in conjunction with grouping players in threesome at ten minute intervals have resulted in four hour rounds.  Players are enjoying the tournament more and it is attracting a very strong field.

Second round play begins early Saturday and the tournament will reach it’s conclusion on Sunday.  Their will be a 36 hole cut.  Spectators are welcome and appreciated.

For full field scores, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Papp, Gillman and Dossey Qualify For 25th Windam Cup

kaitlyn pappKaitlyn Papp, (left) Kristen Gillman (right) kristen gillmanand Cooper Dossey, (below) all from Austin, have qualified for the 25th Wyndham Cup.  The Wyndham Cup is an East vs West competition to be conducted at the Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts July 7-10.  Listed below are the player rosters and a description of the event from the American Junior Golf Association.

cooper dossey

West – Boys
Sam Burns, Shreveport, La.
Austin Connelly, Irving, Texas
Brad Dalke, Hobart, Okla.
Cooper Dossey, Austin, Texas
George Cunningham, Tucson, Ariz.
Nathan Jeansonne, Keithville, La.
KK Limbhasut, Loma Linda, Calif.
Collin Morikawa, La Canada Flintridge, Calif.
Josh Seiple, Castle Rock, Colo.
Jacob Solomon, Dublin, Calif.

West – Girls
Lakareber Abe, Angleton, Texas
Kristen Gillman, Austin, Texas
Amy Lee, Brea, Calif.
Andrea Lee, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Hannah O’Sullivan, Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Kaitlyn Papp, Austin, Texas
Robynn Ree, Redondo Beach, Calif.
Maddie Szeryk, Allen, Texas
Elizabeth Wang, San Marino, Calif.
Bethany Wu, Diamond Bar, Calif.

East – Boys
John Augenstein, Owensboro, Ky.
Jorge Garcia, Miami, Fla.
Doug Ghim, Arlington Heights, Ill.
Benjamin Griffin, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Nick Hardy, Northbrook, Ill.
Theo Humphrey, Greenwich, Conn.
Davis Riley, Hattiesburg, Miss.
Qi Wen Wong, Bradenton, Fla.
Adam Wood, Zionsville, Ind.
Andy Zhang, Reunion, Fla.

East – Girls
Shannon Brooks, Vienna, Va.
Sierra Brooks, Sorrento, Fla.
Abbey Carlson, Lake Mary, Fla.
Rachel Dai, Milton, Ga.
Jillian Hollis, Rocky River, Ohio
Rinko Mitsunaga, Roswell, Ga.
Anna Newell, Tampa, Fla.
Sophia Schubert, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Lauren Stephenson, Lexington, S.C.
Bailey Tardy, Norcross, Ga.

BRASELTON, Ga. — The Wyndham Cup rosters have been finalized and 40 players from 18 states have committed to represent the East or West at the 25th annual event conducted at Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts, July 7-10.

The Wyndham Cup brings together 40 of the nation’s top juniors in an East-versus-West team match play tournament. With the Mississippi River as the division separating East from West, 10 boys and 10 girls from each side are selected based on the Polo Golf Rankings, which reward top finishes in national junior golf events.

No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings and coming off an eight-shot victory at the Rolex Tournament of Champions, Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, California, leads the West in qualifying points. After going undefeated in all 2013 matches, Lee returns for her third Wyndham Cup with a 7-1-0 record.

The West boys squad is headlined by No. 4-ranked Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas, and No. 5-ranked Sam Burns of Shreveport, Louisiana, who each captured signature wins in 2014 at the FJ Invitational and Rolex Tournament of Champions, respectively. Connelly helped the West win the Cup in 2013, while Burns returns to the squad after a one-year hiatus.

Veteran Brad Dalke of Hobart, Oklahoma, will represent the West for the fourth consecutive year. With a 6-3-3 career record, the three-time AJGA Invitational champion was the only West boy in the 2013 competition to notch a point in all of his matches.

Amy Lee of Brea, California, returns to the West Team for the third consecutive year boasting a 6-1-1 career record. At No. 5 in the Polo Golf Rankings, the two-time AJGA champion won the 2013 Junior PGA Championship and finished runner-up at the 2014 Rolex Girls Junior Championship.

The East Team will be led by Jorge Garcia of Miami, who will return for the second consecutive year, and Adam Wood of Zionsville, Indiana, who will compete in his third and final Wyndham Cup. In 2013, Garcia posted a 3-1-0 record in his match play debut, then went on to finish runner-up at the Polo Golf Junior Classic, the AJGA’s only other annual match play event. Wood, who won the Polo Golf Junior Classic in 2012, comes off his second consecutive runner-up showing at the Rolex Tournament of Champions.

No. 6-ranked Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, Illinois, will close his junior career at Old Sandwich Golf Club. Ghim, who competed in the 2012 Wyndham Cup, opened the year by breaking Wyndham Cup alumnus Jordan Spieth’s 54-hole tournament record at the CB&I Boys Championship at Carlton Woods for his fourth career AJGA title.

At No. 2 in the Polo Golf Rankings, Andy Zhang of Reunion, Florida, will join the East Team for his Wyndham Cup debut. Zhang earned a berth into the match play competition with a second-place finish at the CB&I Boys Championship at Carlton Woods and a victory at the Thunderbird International Junior.

Sierra Brooks of Sorrento, Florida, will represent the East for the third consecutive year. Brooks made her Wyndham Cup debut as the youngest player in the 2012 edition, and has compiled a 4-3-1 record. This will be her first match play event since her semifinal appearance at the 2013 Polo Golf Junior Classic.

Abbey Carlson of Lake Mary, Florida, and Bailey Tardy of Norcross, Georgia, will compete for the second straight year, while Anna Newell of Tampa, Florida, returns for the first time since 2012.

The top nine boys and top nine girls earned invitations based on the Polo Golf Rankings as of June 16. Play at the Rolex Tournament of Champions determined the final spots on each team. Josh Seiple of Castle Rock, Colorado, and Kaitlyn Papp of Austin, Texas, earned the final two spots on the West Team.

After an East girl withdrawal, three spots for the East were filled based on Polo Golf Rankings as of June 30: Rachel Dai of Milton, Georgia, will return for the second year while Wyndham Cup rookies Shannon Brooks of Vienna, Virginia, and Qi Wen Wong of Bradenton, Florida will round out the squad.

In 2013, the West Team reclaimed the Cup for the first time since 2010 with a 27.5-22.5 victory over the East at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe in Rancho Santa Fe, California. The West holds a 13-9-2 edge in the all-time series, which dates back to 1990. Site of the 2010 Wyndham Cup, Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts, will host the Cup for the second time.

Wyndham Worldwide, one of the world’s leading diversified providers of travel-related products and services for businesses and individual consumers, is the Official Hotel Partner of the AJGA and has supported the Wyndham Cup since 2011. The 25th anniversary of the Wyndham Cup coincides with the 75th playing of the PGA TOUR’s Wyndham Championship. AJGA alumni who have won the Wyndham Championship include Patrick Reed (2013), Sergio Garcia (2012), Webb Simpson (2011), Ryan Moore (2009), Carl Pettersson (2008), Brandt Snedeker (2007) and Davis Love III (2006, 1992).

For more information, please contact Amanda Herrington (aherrington@ajga.org) in the AJGA Communications Department at (770) 616-4412, or visit ajga.org.

About Wyndham Worldwide
One of the world’s largest hospitality companies, Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN) provides a wide range of hospitality products and services through its global portfolio of world-renowned brands. The world’s largest hotel company based on the number of properties, Wyndham Hotel Group is home to many of the world’s best-known hotel brands, with approximately 7,500 franchised hotels and 646,900 hotel rooms worldwide. Wyndham Exchange & Rentals is the worldwide leader in vacation exchange and the world’s largest professionally managed vacation rentals business, providing more than 5 million leisure-bound families annually with access to over 107,000 vacation properties in over 100 countries through its prominent exchange and vacation rental brands. The industry and timeshare ownership market leader, Wyndham Vacation Ownership develops, markets, and sells vacation ownership interests and provides consumer financing to owners through its network of over 190 vacation ownership resorts serving approximately 907,000 owners throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. Based in Parsippany, New Jersey, Wyndham Worldwide employs approximately 32,800 associates globally. For more information, please visit www.wyndhamworldwide.com.

About the American Junior Golf Association
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 6,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 50 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.

Titleist, the AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Ralph Lauren became the AJGA’s second Premier Partner.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel.

 

 

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Beck, Rossi, Costello, Kim, Dossey Qualify For Upcoming USGA Events

Julia Beck and Alexandra Rossi of Austin each shot 70 at Prestonwood Country Club in Plano, Texas to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Tournament to be held August 4-10 at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, New York.  Julia Beck plays for The University of Texas Women’s Golf Team.  Rossi plays for the SMU Women’s Golf Team.

Nicklaus Costello and Cooper Dossey of Austin, along with Charles Kim of Cedar Park have qualified for U.S. Boys Junior to be held at Carlton Woods Country Club in Woodlands, Texas July 21-16.  Costello plays for Westlake High School, Kim plays for Cedar Park High School and Dossey plays for Vandegrift High School.  See the complete qualifying results here.

 

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Joe Balandar Junior Results

Austin Cotton shot even par at Jimmy Clay Golf Course to win the boys 16-18 division of the Joe Balandar Junior Golf Tournament.

Boys and Girls of various ages competed in the tournament.  Click here to see the final results of each division.

The tournament is part of the City of Austin Summer Junior Tour.  Upcoming events are listed at GolfAustin.Org.

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Kyle Bailey Wins Chester Cup

DSCN0585Kyle Bailey, shown here on the right, won the 2014 Chester Cup.   Chester Burks, the tournament namesake, presented him with the trophy.  The victory was unexpected.  Here is why….

On the 17th tee box at Great Hills Country Club,  Chris Hartenstein had a a four shot lead over Bailey, his closest competitor in the 2014 Chester Cup.  Hartenstein had overcome brisk gusty winds, fast greens, deep rough and the pressure of holding a lead for the entire final round. He was the only player under par for the championship.  He could smell victory.

If he could make a couple of pars or a par and a bogey on the last two holes, the Chester cup would be his.  He had won the Austin Senior City Championship last September so he was a proven winner.  But, he was concerned about the last two holes at Great Hills Country Club.

The 17th

The 17th, is a downhill par three with a severe elevation change and there was a brisk left to right wind.  The pin was back right on a diagonal green.  With bunkers in front and in back of the green, distance control is critical.  Short right is bunker or water hazard, depending on the line of the shot.  Long is an impossible pitch to a back left pin.  Get the distance right and the worst you can do is a three putt bogey.  Get the distance wrong and anything can happen.

Standing on the tee, Hartenstein selected an 8 iron for the 190 yard shot, figuring that he could not hit that club too far.  He struck the 8 iron solidly and watched it fly on line, about 20 feet left of target.  He felt good about it.  Until it landed…..

In the late afternoon shadows it was difficult to see the final result.  A playing partner informed him it had plugged in the back lip of the back bunker.  Not good…. that leaves an impossible shot.  Enter damage control.

DSCN0555The shot he faced presented the choice of advancing the ball to a flat part of the bunker or being aggressive and risk going long into another bunker or hitting it into the water hazard short of the green.  Wisely, he chose to advance the ball to the flat part of the bunker.   Meanwhile, Bailey had hit the green in regulation, some 35 feet from the hole.

Hartenstein was then facing a third shot out of the bunker from 30 feet to a fast green sloping away from him.  (Shown in the photo above) The standard play would have left him with a fifteen footer past the hole, putting for bogey.   Double bogey would have been the probability.    He tried to make bogey and left his third shot in the bunker.  As the gallery and his playing companions watched Bailey two putt for par and Hartenstein eventually make a triple bogey six, there was a shift in mood…..

Naked and Afraid

‘Naked and Afraid’ is the title of a TV series where a man and a woman are dumped in some god awful location, stripped of their clothes, and given minimal tools with which to survive for a couple of weeks.  The latest episode is entitled “The Pain Forest”.   Hartenstein had now entered his own version of this drama and was starring in the lead role.

Although he retained a one shot lead headed into 18, his body chemistry had undergone a substantial change.   His was reacting to a threat and additional factors were at work biologically.  Some call it pressure.  Whatever you call a threat, certain things happen physically.   The blood changes and adds coagulants so it will congeal in case of attack or injury.   Muscles tense in anticipation of having to fight or run.  In short….it becomes hard to function properly in a game like golf that requires finesse, a clear mind, and freedom of movement.

The 18th

From the 18th par five tee box, Bailey hit a marginal shot, narrowly missing the trouble to the left and bouncing back almost to the fairway.  It looked OK from the tee, but not great.   Shown here is the swing.DSCN0560

Hartenstein hooked his tee shot into the left hillside, resulting in an unplayable lie.  After some discussion and a ruling by Rick Arnett, the Head Professional at Great Hills, Hartenstein elected to drop the ball some 45 yards back of the spot of the unplayable.  It was his only realistic option.   Two club lengths no closer to the hole would have forced a drop on a rocky hillside where anything could happen.  DSCN0564So, Hartenstein took a one stroke penalty then played a third shot into the fairway some 100 yards short of the green.  Rick Arnett is shown here helping to determine the proper relief from the situation.

Next, the rules officials had to deal with the issue of whether or not Bailey got relief from a tree in the left rough that had been staked for growth.  No relief was given.  Bailey then played a second shot with a restricted backswing and knocked it onto the green for a 35 foot eagle putt.DSCN0572  Youth and strength are a nice asset to have in these situations.

Hartenstein played his fourth to 15 foot above the hole.  Bailey putted to about four feet below the hole.  Hartenstein ran his par putt about six feet past then missed it coming back.  Bailey made his birdie and won the tournament.

Meanwhile Chester Burks watched all this unfold from the comfort of his golf cart.  He just shook his head and felt badly for Hartenstein. DSCN0566

The beauty and the beast

The beauty….here is the thing… amateurs play golf for fun.  It’s recreation. In a tournament, only a handful of players are in contention for the title.  And regardless of the outcome, it is something special for all who participate.

To get into contention requires years of hard work, practice, playing in tournaments etc.  It’s not something you can buy, regardless of how much money you have.  It is something that has to been earned.  And, it is something out of the ordinary.  It puts you in a difficult place and tests your resolve.  It forces you out of your comfort zone.   It gives the participants a brief window of feeling elevated and more alive.  It is a beautiful thing.

The beast….losing is a bummer.  There is always the “what if” or “I should have” or “if only I had”…  The thing to remember is you were in contention and for a brief couple of hours you were elevated and more alive.  Live and learn and apply the lessons to the next opportunity.

Congratulations to Kyle Bailey, Chris Hartenstein and all those players where in a position to enjoy the feelings of being in contention.  Click here to view the leaderboard and see who was there….

 

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