I played in the Quinte Cup today and, despite being half-crippled, used my new-found confidence to win all three of my matches. You know what they say: "Beware of the injured golfer."
The format this year was to play three 18-hole matches simultaneously. It may sound a bit odd. But it tends to work out okay once you get used to it. Two of my matches were won, actually a bit too easily, at 8 and 6 against Hugh from Napanee GC; and 7 and 6 against Bob from Trenton town GC. Both fellows were great company and played the matches in a congenial spirit. But, sadly, no one really enjoys those sort of matches--even the winner. The beauty of match play is that it is an experience that you share with another player. If your opponent is congenial and respectful, and the match is hard-fought, it really can be very special. In fact, it can even be unforgettable.
My third match was against an old adversary, Mike Bunn, from Roundel Glen, formerly the Canadian Forces Base golf course in Trenton. I say "adversary," but there was and is really nothing at all adversarial between us except that we both definitely want to beat eachother. And that is how a match should be: both players trying their very best to win in a friendly atmosphere.
I was really happy to learn that I was playing Mike today, because I have good memories of past encounters with him in the Quinte Cup. I have fond memories of them; and yet, I can't really remember that well how they all went--I know he beat me once at Trenton town, and I know I got him once or twice--but I do remember they were all hard-fought, fun affairs. Mike is a great character, with a wry sense of humour, and we really enjoy taking the mickey out of eachother.
I started out by making a thirty-footer for birdie on one to take the lead. And I was never down in any of my matches after that. But in my match with Mike I was never up more than two. Teeing off on the tough seventeenth, I was one up after losing the fifteenth. When I managed to get it up and down for par and Mike failed to do the same, the match was over. Still, it was a close match, and could have gone either way--just the way I like them.
When I look back on it, there were several turning points in the match, but perhaps the key one was when I was one up on the par five fourteenth and then managed to hit my tee shot straight into a strategically placed tree that stands pretty much right in the middle of the freaking fairway about fifty yards from the tee. My ball ended up behind the forward tees; and you know what that means--dick out. However, after two decent shots from there, I was pin high but left of the green in three. Mike, meanwhile, had hit two good shots and was left with a pitch of about fifty yards to the uphill green. He was, however, sitting in some spongy grass, and when he struck the shot he somehow managed to do a TC Chen and double-whack it. He was shaken, rather than stirred, and eventually had a putt for eight when he conceded my short putt for six. He had been in a good spot to square the match and instead allowed me to limp to the next tee two up. That's sometimes the way it goes in this crazy game; and especially in match play.
Incidentally, Mike really enjoyed the last laugh, because his team ended up winning and taking the cup from us--last year's winners--and home to Roundel Glen. I was really exhausted driving home after the excellent meal provided by our hosts in Napanee; and was almost immediately asleep in my chair. It's amazing how match play takes it out of you. There really is nothing quite like it.