It was a great opportunity to play in the 101st Michigan Amateur, which took place at Oakland Hills Country Club – North Course. Oakland Hills C.C. was a beautiful venue and a tough test of golf.
I arrived early on Sunday for a practice round, which was interrupted by rain on two occasions. The greens were slick and the rough along the edges of the fairways was dense and long. These were the course’s main defenses against the 168 top Michigan amateur golfers.
While hitting pitch shots on the short-game practice area, a gentleman came over from a nearby house and introduced himself and offered me a Rolling Rock. I went over and chatted with him about the tournament. He and his wife graciously extended an invitation to me to use their guest room for the remainder of the week in lieu of my staying at the Hampton Inn. I accepted the offer the following morning before teeing off in the first round. After my round, which I’ll get to, I caught up with them and was able to settle in and visit.
I teed off in the first round on Monday morning at 9:36 a.m. and fought my way through the day, ultimately finishing with a 74. I was pleased with this opening score because it didn’t shoot me out of the tournament and put me in decent position to make the cut the next day.
Lindsey, Peg, and Dan flew down to watch the second round. It was extremely hot, and Dan offered to caddie for me. I gladly accepted! It took us a few holes to figure out the player-caddie routine as far what to put where, but having him on the bag was a big help. He kept me positive and thinking birdies even when I was making bogies. It was nice to have some familiar faces in the tiny crowd following our group.
My ability with the “flatstick” let me down in round two, and ultimately caused me to miss the cut by a single shot. I drove the ball beautifully, only missing a single fairway all day. My approach shots were sub-standard, which tested by putting even more. But mostly it was an inability to adapt to the slower day-two green speeds. I routinely left lag putts six feet short.
It’s always difficult not to look back and only reflect on the shoulda, woulda, and coulda’s, but the experience was too good to do that.