So, it's been a little while since a Shooter Project update, maybe just over a month. The Tour as a whole is gone for the year I suspect and we have been playing local events since then.
There has been a couple of Sweepstakes event pop up on the calendar where we can play. One of the criteria is we must bring an amateur to enter as well. Small fields, amateurs keen to play, pros keen to get some reps in tournament conditions.
Last week we played Lakelands and The Shooter flushed it all day, knocked 7 or 8 iron shots inside 10 feet and the swing felt as good as it has been for some time. The putter is a different thing, fucking Scotty Cameron has a lot to answer for. Bogied 17, 18 for 73 including 35 putts, fucks sake.
It was enough to run 3rd behind a couple of Legends of the game, could have been the 3rd win of the year but you have to hole those fucking 6 footers. Ended with enough cash for a beer and some petrol on the way home, how's that for living the life. #tourlife
This week it was Royal Pines, entered with a couple of Sanctuary boys and the main guy at Sanctuary, RG.
Up at 4, driving by 4:35, the Bruce highway southbound is a racetrack with tray back utes, highlux's and Ford Rangers smashing down there like the world is ending. Its a dangerous place for the Zen Master Shooter, minding my own business listening to The Chilli Dippers Podcast (everyone should listen to these guys, bad golfers, good story tellers).
The boys arrive and are noticeably nervous, never played a pro am before is the call, I told them there is nothing to worry about, channel 7 wont be on us until the back 9 and there will only be about 4000 people in the gallery, that got them off to a fine start.
First tee 8:03, The Shooter a little nervous playing with the big name RG, I have already told the boys, when he is on, he is somewhat impressive. First hit, lands in the the stupid fairway bunker that is in the middle of the fairway, 9 iron it out to the front edge. The electric eel I have as a putter today bites me on the first putt, 8 feet behind the hole now, down hill, read the break slightly left to right.
Great read cock, ball goes left to right, doesn't even look like a decent chance. bogey. Bogey 4 from the run off area, almost hole a gap wedge from 107 on 7, expected to see the pitch mark in the hole, alas it wasn't, miss that 7 footer. Follow that with a bogey from the front edge of 8 after flubbing a 3 iron from the tee 155 meters into the fairway trap, now 3 over through 8. Fucks sake, nothing quite working out today, the swing doesn't feel great, the putter feels very foreign as well.
9 tee, hit a good drive, drawing, lands hard kicks left, stay there you fucking shit, kick again left, splash. Fuck. Drop, punch a 5 iron down to the front of the green, 40 yards away, knife that over the back. It's rolled 50 feet away almost in the piss, now its a soft muddy lie, against the grain and I cant get the club to the back of the ball, this should be great. Try to hit a flop shot like a bunker shot to take all the mud away, that's fat, it rolls back down to me off the hill. Pitch that off a muddy tight lie into the trap, splash that out to 7 feet and miss that on the right for a beautiful 9. Oh fuck me, playing partners didn't say a thing. Wise choice.
Now Shooters attitude has been through the wringer, its turned from excitement to nervousness to depression with the 9. Pump up Shooter, 6 behind RG at the turn, he has had no luck either, maybe shit happens to everyone, not just me.
Stand over the fairway wood on 10 tee, deep breath, zen master. Take the club back and hear these little kids riding their bikes along the path and their mother yelling out to them, how dare they have fun and make noise, fucking kids. Don't they know there is a golf tournament here today.
Fat pop up fortunately stays on the fairway, I give the kids the stare as I leave the tee, the mother has no idea but the father knows what has just gone on, he gives me the wave of sorry. I give him the hat tip.
Wedge to 5 feet, hole it, 9, 3 nice bounceback Shoot.
Par 11 after a bullet like 4 iron from 189, pure shot. Par 12 after going for the green in 2 on the par 5 but those hopes ended very fast as the club glanced over the top half of the ball and it domed 100 meters down the left edge of the fairway, just hope nobody saw that. I look over, RG is laughing, he knows its a dome, even though I am holding the follow through.
Still -1 for the back and we get to 14, hardest or worst par 3 in Australia, its a line ball with 17 at Twin. Playing 195, Sunday right flag near the bunker, 4 iron.
It takes off on a high arc, soaring up into the stratosphere, its a thing of beauty. 4 ft. Best shot I have hit all day maybe all month. Make that, now -2.
15 is a reachable par 5 if you hit a decent drive, RG gives me the line just inside the large tree on the right. I hit it over it instead, now blocked out, punch 5 iron 120 yards to the centre of the fairway, wedge from 116 to 16 feet, hole that. -3
16, dodgy par 3 with a green that has a ridge running through the centre on an angle, 132, good 9 iron most days but I can only see flags now, went down an inch on the 8, I have a couple of yards past the flag where it will come back if its long, smooth as honey dripping off a stick here, it never leaves the flag, pitch mark almost takes out the side of the cup, 8 footer, hole that -4.
A crowd has now gathered, news has filtered around the course that The Shooter is knocking flags out. A smart play is 3 iron down 17, must be left, RHS is dead.
"Fuck that" says Shooter, 3 iron could go in the left trap, 3 wood definitely brings bunkers in. Just smash it over there with the driver.
Flush, centre right, pure, on the hill, 102 to the flag on the back shelf, hit 2 inches behind the ball, didn't realise it was so soft, now its fucked and I am covered in slop.
30 yards to the hole bare mud lie, have to chip it over a bunker, catch that fat, just makes it onto the green. Ok Shoot, make 5.
The 50 footer just makes it up the ridge, fucks sake. Grind Shooter Grind is the call from the now ever increasing gallery, another look at the 10 footer, smooth stroke, it falls in. Good bogey if there is such a thing. -3
Hit a driver down 18, left hand side, massage a little soft 6 iron in there to 40 feet and 2 putt for a natural par. Adds up to 76 and -3, 33 coming home.
One of the best performances under the pump of 43 at the turn.
Probably picked up $30 for a T4, better than 5th I suppose.
Bounce back Shooter out.