The time has come, Fiji has called and The Shooter has answered.
First tour event of the year and despite the lack of prep we are feeling ok about it so I am arriving the night before the first round, who needs practice rounds, Pussies, that's who.
Natadola on Day 1, 10 Tee. After hitting 13 putts and 6 chips to warm up the Driver beckons, as the head cover comes off the sun comes out from behind a cloud. mmm destiny.
Flush. Fuck me, high flighted 5 yard draw, carries past the right hand bunker, lands softly and runs 3 meters. What a start. Birdie putt from 18 feet catches a lip and its a solid par.
Chunk one out of the long hay down the par 5, 11th, then hit a fat 58 into the bunker. Not surprisingly, a deft bunker shot almost goes in to make a good up and down for bogey.
Lost a wedge on the breeze down the next, it landed and bounced twice on the edge of the green before disappearing into the rock filled water hazard, a nice chip from the edge secures another up and down and yet another bogie.
14 tee, one of the highest parts of the course, the fairway is unsighted as is the fucking big lake. The ball takes off low and strong, flies past the bunker at 225, lands and kicks out to 245. This fucking 3 iron is a rocket ship, now we are starting to feel it.
The gap wedge takes a bounce harder than a cats head into the short side trap, bogey.
Three jiggle the next from 25 feet for bogey but still feeling ok.
16 Tee, hit the ground an inch and a half behind the ball, again unsurprisingly the tee shot didn't reach the great apex I had hoped, it lands on the edge of the hazard and starts rolling back toward the water. It stops and we think its ok.
Upon arrival, I find it, nestled down in a weasel hole. The ball was 2 inches below the surface of the ground wedged in the hole, no amount of clubhead speed could have moved it. Unplayable, back to the tee. This time the ball flights over the lake but drifts left behind the tree.
Now I have a shot I have to hit over a rock outcropping but under a tree branch, nope, hit the fucking rock, straight up into the tree, bounced around up there for an hour then back under a large volcanic looking fucker that I couldn't move for the life of me. Another unplayable. By now my playing partners are yelling out for me to hurry up the ungrateful fucks.
Punch it onto the front edge of the green and now I have a 60 footer left, thank fuck I have now got it out of trouble, now I can right some of the damage. Unless Mr 3 Jiggle makes a return that is, For Fucks Sake. 9
Now I really have to grind, smash a driver down the par 5 and hit a hard 5 iron 201 mtrs pin high just right of the green, miss the birdie putt. Chip out from under a palm on 18 wedge it on and 3 whack that fucker as well for double.
OK, now its precarious, this round could go one way or the other, some would say its already gone one way and is not repairable but they don't know The Shooter, The Hero to the underprivileged, Champion of the working man and Mentor to the struggling amateur.
9 to go, hard pull off the 1st tee, reload for a nice double, that wasn't the start to the front 9 we needed.
Pull into the bunker up the 2nd, beautiful iron shot out that gets caught in the cross wind and goes into the hay for another lost ball, another double, this is getting harder now.
After hitting a sky tee shot from the 3rd tee, The Shooter says out loud that this could be the round that finishes professional golf for him. This could really be the one, despite hitting half decent shots the doubles keep rolling in.
The tee shot was better than expected, punch 9 iron to 15 feet and I am thinking the retirement may be a little premature, then the electric eel I have as a putter bites me again.
Fucks fucking sake, now I may have just 3 jabbed my way into retirement again.
Now, this is when champions grind and careers are defined. 8 Iron 151 through the cross wind and a casual 2 putt for par, Flush Driver up the next, hammer the 3 wood 25 yards off the green, half flub the pitch and make par, that's 2 in a row.
Took the tiger line down the Jurassic Park hole only to make par, seem a little ripped off, all the risk for no reward.
25 feet for birdie down 7, have to settle for 3, flush it up 8, this Driver is becoming my best friend, the putter on the other hand !
Last hole, 270 to the bunker at the end of the fairway, Shooter prefers to aim it at the bridge just right of that. More aggressive, more reward. Not today though.
The cards are added, 89 whacks, most of the damage is done with the putter which is usual around there. Let alone the unplayables and other penalties.
Maybe a practice round would have been a good idea.
Overnight, The Shooter starts to get some sinus and coughing issues, maybe related to the air conditioning in the hotel, maybe related to the 89 hits, cant breath, coughing every 30 seconds. Doesn't set up well for Day 2.
Fuck that, Shooter comes out firing despite the rough start with left him DFL on the leaderboard. Its a par a thon, throw in a couple of birdies and a double and Shooter signs for 73. Now that's fucking better, got to say, ball striking wasn't to dissimilar to yesterday but the lack of 9's and lost balls certainly helps. It certainly was moving day, The Shooter moved up a couple of spots off the bottom. Now just have to move a few more tomorrow to get some of that cash.
Still with no sleep and no relief in sight, Shooter rips down to the pharmacy to get the good old codral cold a flu. $47 fucking dollars, you have to be shitting me, I tell the shop assistant, I don't want a miracle fucking cure just some cough relief for fucks sake. She politely tells me that the price is quite good. Good for her I mumble under my breath.
This shit better work.
Now we need to move up the board, day looking a little overcast and a possibility of rain. 10th Tee again, not sure how this draw keep coming up good.
Solid start, making good swings, ball flighting as you would expect from a premium striker.
Par after Par, little frustrating we cant get some of these putts to drop. Bogey 16 from a sloppy bunker shot to fall over the card for the day only to birdie 18 after a 50 degree wedge to an inch.
The 1st was an ordinary bogey, flubbed it out of some light rough on the side of the fairway and pitched it to 18 feet, pretty sloppy. The 2nd was uneventful then the call came the tournament had been halted due to the rain. Some of the fairways and greens had gone under water.
Back to the clubhouse, The Shooter is pumped up, at +1 he knows he can move up the board into the cash.
Sad stories all around, blokes are a few over, rain still coming and the announcement is coming soon if we are going back out.
After a beer or two, the rain has stopped, some of the surface water has gone and we are back at it after a 2 hour delay, Shooter is pumped. If I can just make a couple of birdies in the last 7, this shit will take care of itself.
3rd, Par, 4th Par, 5th, a solid birdie opportunity, Par, 6th Par, 7th Par, now we are running out of time, fuck me we need to do something.
All the grinding, all the blood, sweat and tears have come down to this, pump the driver up the left, 86 meters, nice little 54, lands 6 feet past the flag, one bounce, sucks back 7 feet, oh fuck yeah. There's one, back to even par.
The last (9th) is a long par 5, the creek runs across at 275, flush the driver again up the right, solid 4 iron into the greenside trap, majestic shot to leave a foot for birdie.
Birdied the last 2 for 71 to move back into the cash, you have got to love this shit.
Now we are taking a positive mindset into the next event, couple of days off to try and get over this cold and take these $47 fucking tablets.
Cheque cashing Shooter out.