A quick five-hour drive from Northern Virginia is all that it takes to reach the quiet reclusive area of Martinsville, VA. One of the great traits of the area is its ability to retain all heat; allegedly the temperature was supposed to be 85F, but all the thermometers were reading 100+F.
Because of this, I have to dial down the amount of practice I have. I only made one detailed lap of the course over 90 minutes, which is not to my liking. Fortunately, this is the location of my lone PPA title (here); so even though the course is more difficult and the shots have changed, I know what holes I need to focus on and what ones I just need to put in play and hope for the best. The goal was to shoot clean, take aces where they come (especially on the front nine), and keep attacking the course.
I was really happy with my random group pairing; Bill and TJ are two of the more relaxed people out there. Considering we were going to be baking on a course with no shade, we need all the relaxation we can find. Plus, both Bill and TJ can really roll it, so it is good chance to play heads-up against some quality competition.
My happiness quickly disappated with a bogey on the very first hole. Lagged a putt dead on line, leaving a 30-inch putt. Thinking it broke, I hit it firm, never giving up the cup...yet somehow it spun 180-degrees out of the hole and sat on the edge of the cup. One hole in and my chance for shooting clean was done.
Fortunately I was able to feed off of Bill's great shooting as well as TJ putting up a solid score to stay on track. As much as I prefer winning, I do tend to cheerlead when my playing partners are in contention. Bill ended up finishing in a playoff, but I decided to cool off in a shower...so I'll have to get the final tomorrow.
I did grind out some good patches and was able to lay up on the last hole to preserve a cash finish...so that was nice.
But if you want to see the difference between a top finish and not cashing out here, this is the tournament to watch.
76 wins in a playoff
81 - T-3rd/19
82 - T-5th/19
83 - T-7th/19 (last cash)
84 - T10th/19 (out of money)
85 - 13th
Image of Pro results
A break or two a round means the difference between not cashing and a podium finish.
That's why I harp on keeping focused and shooting clean. You can't afford to drop shots out here.