I was hitting it reasonable well, except for off the tee. And Carl was pounding it! He was hitting it at least forty yards by me on every driving hole. On three, he hit it to about 110 yards--and it was in the short grass. Meanwhile I had 190 yards for my second.
As a guy who used to be the longest hitter, this alternate reality, where 73 year old guys are hitting it forty yards past your good drives, is something I need to accept. And I thought I accepted it with relatively good humour during this match.
I just relied on my short game to try to hang in there. And it was working so well that I had got it to two up. Carl got it back to all square. I got it to two up again. And Carl finally got his first lead after thirteen.
I squared the match again and we came in to the par three eighteenth with it all on the line. I promptly hit another fat six iron that left me half-way up the hill short and left of the green--I'm about ready to fire that damned six iron! Carl hit a clanky eight iron and was short right of the green. It was one of those matches where it seemed that both of us were equally determined to lose it.
I had one of those shots on eighteen that would have had the announcers saying in hushed tones, "He's in trouble here, Johnny."
The ball was barely visible in the rough, and sitting well below my feet. I used my 58 degree wedge and hit an almost-perfect pitch that landed on my spot and nearly went in before finishing about eight feet below the hole. It was so close to going in that it prompted a loud response from the diners on the clubhouse balcony who saw it slip past the hole.
Totally undeterred, Carl hit a beautiful chip that actually lipped out. I gave him his putt for the three. I know Sam Snead said you should never concede the putt that beats you, but this one was stone dead. I addressed my putt, announcing to the diners, who had by now become quite interested, that this one was a must-make. I hit a good putt that was right on line, but just a hair too weak. It curled by the front lip, and Carl the Grinder had just out-grinded my sorry ass again.
And that, my friends, is something I've also had to get used to. If you want to beat Carl, make sure you don't come to eighteen needing to win the hole, because Carl plays for two bucks like it's the Open. There just ain't no give-up in this guy.
Oh, and did I mention that Carl shot 72 the other day to beat his age again? Well, he did. Not only that, Carl mentioned today that he feels a round in the sixties coming soon. I told him that, the way he's driving the ball, I wouldn't be surprised at all.