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Michelle Wie

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2015 Mid-Pacific Open

 

Day Four Mid Pac Open 2015

Up early to watch the first group come through to play #12.  The wind is up and it is gusting but not that often.  That pin placement was a little friendlier than in the past and still in traditional the Sunday place.  The first couple of groups are lucky.  The wind dies or at least does not gust 30 miles an hour on the putts and is not really a factor except in the mind, wondering if it will do that.

On #13 the tee is back about as far as you can get it and I think that will be the way the course sets up today.  None the less three of the four (all younger than Paul by a significant margin) just drop a ball and smack a fairway wood.  Not the game I play!

If you have wondered if the conditions really make a difference just look at the scoring over the weekend.  Only 4 of the 28 players in B flight had two rounds under 90.  The other 24 each had at least one score in the 90's and six of those had a score of 100 or more for the two days.  Only 8 of the 24 would have made the 180 cut line based on their weekend scores.

I got a chance to play 18 today and it was indeed brutal, the greens certainly seemed quicker today than Saturday.  For example on 15 I was in pretty good shape being able to chip up hill to the pin.  A reasonable up and down chance under normal circumstances.  I hit it just a tad short and sure enough it just rolled back to almost the exact spot I started from.  I was just lucky to get it up on the green and two putt for my double.  The story was pretty much the same on each green.  As Jason says you have to get your ball in the correct quadrant, if you don't good luck.  Well I was not in the correct corner of the green on way to many occasions and it wasn't like I didn't know. The results for me and the rest of the group were the same, out of position, miles past the pin or off the green.  Having to play with that level of concentration draining.

At the end of our round the 4 of us concluded conditions like these can really wear you out.  We were all playing from the same tees as the tournament and most of them were as far back as you can get them.  By the way one of the members of our group was a spouse and she played from the back tees as well.  I may have been able to out drive her on a hole but for the life of me I can't remember which hole that was, but I digress.

What I find interesting is how good the group at the top of the leader board is.  TJ and Andrew both had the low score for today, a one under par 71, oops meant to say John Ellis had the low score for the day a 4-under par 68.  Having just played the course under similar conditions it seems impossible that someone could handle the green speeds and pin placements for 18 consecutive holes.   It would take a monumental change in my game to be able play that well.  And I suspect that is the same with most of the A and B flight players. It was a great 4 day event and Mother Nature sure made it exciting.  Looking forward to next year.

Respectfully submitted,

Billy the Goat

 

Day three Mid Pac Open

Houston we have a problem.  Remember that great line from the movie?  Well Mother Nature has decided to complicate day four at the open.

I had a chance to get out on the course today for the full 18 holes finishing just before dark.  I played the first 5 holes alone and then hooked up with Kelly Ann, her dad Henry (who I was able to ascertain was not the 8th Henry in his family line) and Larry, who was kind enough to buy me a drink after the round.

For the first 12 holes I was thinking this is not so bad.  The pin placements were seemingly quite fair and I was not having difficulty putting, in fact they seemed a bit slow.  That was an illusion, I just happened to be very lucky to be in the right part of each green, more by luck than design.

Then came # 13 with a back slightly right pin placement.  This was actually one of the holes I played well hitting my drive just over the hill and "smoothing" a nine iron for a GIR and reasonable birdie chance. Henry was in the green side bunker and hit what looked like a decent shot onto the green.  I saw where it hit and thought "nice shot Dad".  Larry had managed to muscle his shot over the green and I told Kelly Ann I would putt instead of waiting.  I was in a good spot and my putt actually was quite short leaving a knee knocker for par.  When I looked over for Henry I was surprised that he was off the green!  Then Kelly Ann stroked a decent putt and son of a gun she rolled off the green and quite a distance off to boot!

Now I started to pay more attention and sure enough on each hole there was a good place to be and numerous not so good places to be.  Quite a science of pin placements Mr. Diabolical.

Now back to the problem.  The winds really picked up for the last two holes.  I hit my second shot left of the 18th green and when I chipped up I could actually see the wind take my shot and just toss the ball.  When Kelly Ann later hit her putt it was evident that the wind moved the ball.

As I sit here overlooking the 12th fairway from the comfort of my upstairs "man cave" there are occasional very strong gusts of wind that I am certain will play havoc with play tomorrow.  So, how does Jason account for this?  Good question because it is evident that our greens (actually browns they are so stressed out - this is great for a couple of days but then they will be crying uncle) can't too challenging or they really will be unfair. 

It the winds keep up, and they are supposed to, this will make for a very interesting day four.  I hope to watch it, report on it, and play on it tomorrow.

Respectfully Submitted,

Billy the Goat

 

Day Two 2015  Mid Pac Open

An unusual day on the links for many.  A 14 on #1 by a 5 handicap?  Yup.  A perennial A flight contender shoots close to 100 blowing several shots OB and misses the cut in B-flight (Oh the shame, but handled in a very gentlemanly manner).  It is interesting but not unusual to see very good players with shanked shots and wild OB strikes.  You see I know what it is.  It is the curse of the Mid Pac Open alien possession.  I have experience this for myself.  It happened to me on the first tee at the open several years ago. 

This is how it works.  You warm up, practice some putts, and then step onto the 1st tee.  Some tall older haole guy (is that politically correct Jim, but I digress) announces "now on the first tee with the something something tee time, amateur billy the goat".  Suddenly you notice that there are people watching you.  All the great swing thoughts leave the premises and they are replaced by "don't hit it OB" or "God please don't let me dribble it off the tee".  The sub conscious mind gets the message and says "OK we can do that" and wah lah the off the tee dribbler shows up.

Now mind you later in the round you don't have that dude announcing every shot, but the sensation and the alien that has taken residence in your head continues his (note that I did not use the female gender wanting to be politically correct) consistent internal dialog of "don't go into the trees, careful of the water, there is a hazard on the left" and so on.  And just like clockwork the sub conscious mind delivers on the instructions.  Fascinating.

OK I will admit the course is set up to be difficult but that does not mean a 5 handicap blows several off the tee OB. 

I do like that we can go on the Aloha section of the PGA for live scoring.  Pretty cool stuff in my view. 

Now for some back of the pack tid bits.  Mike Kawaharada does an incredible job with the open and he has a lot of help, thank you Vince.  And, I did get to see him play today and get one of the coveted salutes which is how you know he likes you.  Word has it that he did par 6/7/8 which is amazing.  Good work Mike!!

One of my favorites from years past when he was good enough to play in the A flight (dig dig) is Ray.  He made the cut in B this year and reminded me of my past comments on his golf swing (He could complete it in a phone booth).  Knowing that he was hurt by that I found myself in position to make up for it and kick his errant second shot on #15 back towards the green.  I told him that it hit the cart path just so he wouldn't get DQ'ed.  I am a great goat after all.  (some of that is not true, I will let you guess)

Before I forget one of the absolute best things about Friday Night at MPCC cut night is that Mr. Diabolical shows up and brings his wife.  I get a hug.  Just imagine the best hug you ever got and you will know of what I speak (I am referring to his wife and not Jason just to be clear). I did get to talk to Jason and the greens may not get any faster or pin placements too radical because the winds are supposed to get worse and we really don't want balls blowing all over the greens.

There are more stories and it is getting late and the third beer is starting to put the goat out to pasture.  Peace out to fast (no longer fat) freddie and his ever lovely bride.  Hope to be out there on the course with you next year. 

Respectfully submitted

Billy the Goat

 

Day One 2015 Mid Pacific Open

What a difference a couple of years make.  Is Jason getting soft in his old age?  Rough so short the ball actually will sit up in it?  Green’s running at a reasonable rate and pins in fair positions, can all of this be true?  Actually there is a method to the madness and I will attempt to hallucinate what that might be.

We are blessed each year with a full field and in the past finishing for the last couple of tee times became an issue.  So what if things were a little less knee shaking on day one and two?  Would that really make a difference when it comes to who is having a better than average two days and then make the coveted cut?  Probably not. 

So perhaps, and I stress that this is a goat’s conjecture; this is done to allow Mr. Diabolical to come forth over the weekend and torture only those who actually make the cut.  If that is the case, then from what I can tell it is working. 

The stories that I heard about balls rolling off the greens and chips that failed to hold leading to backed up foursomes and such were all told in the past tense.  There was the tale of the pro who hit it 6 feet past on the par 5 #16 only to roll past the front right pin placement and proceed to chip up and back off the green for what has turned into a 13 stroke “fish story”.  There were comments about front left pin placements on #15 that dictated missing the green in regulation below the hole to give yourself the best chance at par.  Again, these were all about past events. 

The overwhelming commentary was that the course is in great shape, playing very fairly, and no one was heard to complain about unfair conditions be it rough rough or otherwise.  I have not seen all the final scores nor have I been there to see if some finished in the dark, but I suspect this was carefully thought out to lull the unsuspecting into a false sense of comfort.

Looking forward to a great event.

Respectfully submitted,

Billy the Goat

 

 

 

 

 

 

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