The Hawaiian sun finally peeks over the horizon, about fucking time, I was awake at 2:30. Then again at 3:35, again at 4:30. Jet lag at its best.
Up now and off to breakfast, The Shooter is a big fan of the bacon they do here, how could you not be, give a couple of waves to the media and relax for half hour before the chauffeur (or bus) arrives to take us to the first course of the event, Mauna Lani South.
The South course is a perilous game of chess through large outcroppings of lava, to score well you need to thread your way through and around the volcanic rock to find the short grass, then you need to be precise into the pure seashore paspalum surfaces that are rolling about 10 on the stimp.
Upon arrival, we make sure the bags are in the right carts, put cards out, set the local rules, meet the golf ops manager and the starter. Got to get the punters over to the range and to hit a few putts before they go out.
As usual all of the set up goes off without a hitch. Its not Shooters first rodeo.
After making sure everyone is all set, its about time Shooter gets to the range to swing the wrenches, at least a few balls should caress off the face before the game gets underway.
All early indications are good, trying a slightly changed set up and seem to be hitting the face a bit more often, let’s see how it holds up under the pressure of tournament play.
Range done, hit about 20 balls, now to roll the rock a few times before the start. Fuck, they are a bit slower than they look. We can adjust on the fly.
Starting on the 3rd, a par 3 measuring 159 meters, the first shot of the day hardly makes a noise off the club, high penetrating ball flight, one of the better 6 irons I have hit, lands on the green and has a slight dance to finish 15 feet from the hole, club twirl ensues. Got to love this shit.
Short piss poor effort with the putter, never had a chance, even par is ok. First few holes have The Shooter perplexed, the greens look fast but even down grain they don’t seem to be.
Even par through 6 holes, a driver ends on the right half of the fairway, 149 meters to a middle pin, 7 iron is the club of choice, this one hits the hosel hard, the ball shoots out at around 60 degrees low and cutting, I can do no more but watch the train wreck in action.
The ball disappears into the black sharp rock then inexplicably reappears and finishes in the right rough ‘that’s a good break’ I say to myself.
Once I get to the ball, I can see how a ball looks when a dog has been chewing it, streamers hanging off it, holes and scrapes all over it, this one needs replacing.
Sweets breaks into her rendition of “Lava Lava Lava, you no treat me no good no more” by our good friends Sonia Dada. She had a little annoying laugh to go with it, very similar to the annoying little laugh that Stickers is known for.
Seeing as I got a good break, I am now looking to make the most of it, I stood over the next still expecting to make par. A 52 degree wedge should do the trick, clunk, another fucking hosel rocket. Wow, two in a row. Sweets is no longer singing.
Not to put to fine a point on it but this next one better be good. Standing over the next pitch shot I am as nervous as a vibrator salesman at airport security.
The next pitch shot hits high on the club face and comes out soft and floaty, just what I was after, don't go in the trap was the first thought. It hits the flag and finishes around 20 feet. That one I get to the hole but pull it as the grain going uphill had teeth. Double. Fuck.
The day ends pretty well and I hit some good shots, some great shots and those 2 sockets plus one OOB. 32 points does me no damage and end of day 1 sitting inside the top 6 is a pretty good result. Sweets has a casual 38 to be joint leader of the ladies event, seems as though the standard is pretty high.
Day 2 arrives, little dusty. That Big Wave has a little kick it seems, or maybe the 10th Big Wave was the one with a kick.
Up early again, off to the bacon and bagel wonderland that they call breakfast then off to the second course of the tour Mauna Lani North. Less lava, more trees. Whilst the South is more picturesque, the North is narrower, more for ball strikers. You need to manoeuvre around tree outcroppings and into corridors designed by the architect to entice and frustrate, fuck I should write this shit for a living.
Given it’s a ball strikers playground and The Shooter fancies himself as a ball striker and The Shooter has a round under his belt, today could be special. Strap yourself in.
First tee, some dude has his wingman on 10, blasting out some crap he called music. That ended quickly.
Shooter hits the driver down the par 5, hard left, over a lava mound, not entirely sure where that finished. First provisional for the day.
The fucking thing is out of bounds, fuck me, how’s your luck. Alright, I know it's 70 meters left of where I was aiming but 3 feet OOB, fuck off.
Provisional now in play, second shot is 50 yards short and The Shooter pitches it up to 8 feet then makes it for bogey. Interesting start, the 56 is breathing a sigh of relief as well, it might have ended badly if there was a flub then a knife. I think the sand iron has had a quiet chat to the 9 iron, that one knows what happens when we get less than desired.
After the bogey, I am surprisingly upbeat, the next tee requires a 5 iron short of a tree in the centre of the fairway or a ballsy 3 wood over the left tree to open up the green. It’s the second hole, for fucks sake, no need to take any risks, just move into the round slowly and make the most of the opportunities that pure ball striking will present.
Nope, the cover comes off the 3 wood. A new Stealth head that belongs to the Bald Englishman, it has a tight wear spot right in the middle as you would expect from him. I have put a shaft in and the wear spot could get larger before the end of the week.
Flush, slight draw over the left tree, could not have driven it up there into a better position, pitch it to 15 feet, although I miss the putt I am starting to feel it.
A good 2 putt birdie on the par 5 starts to right the ship, followed by another 2 holes later by holing a nice little 6 foot downhill right to left, now we are warming up, I am tipping the hat and the crowd are starting to build, The Shooter is starting to hear a low murmur from the crowd, oh yeah, these people know what they are seeing.
Another birdie appears after a holed 30 footer, unexpected but it never looked like missing from the moment it left the blade, the next birdie comes 2 holes later on another par 5, a hard dog leg right with Lava and OOB on the right and bunkers and OOB left. A 3 wood from the tee to the run out at 230, now we have 227 flag, water right.
3 wood again, if we don’t quite get it its still covering the water. Why even worry !!!!!
Fuck me, this is flushed, perfect flight straight at it, ball lands 15 feet from the hole and stays. Oh yeah we are feeling it now, I turn to my playing partner and tell him to put on his scuba gear, we are going deep.
Awful attempt at eagle, tap in birdie is a consolation prize, it’s a fucking birdie a thon out here, flush the next 3 wood into a perfect position, I hope the owner of the head doesn’t know or he will want more dollars, 8 iron to 20 feet, hole that fucker for birdie too, I am burning the fucking house down now. Pumping up now heading toward the next tee, got the Greg Norman stride going and the Andrew Stolz killer attitude, no fucker is beating me today.
2 to play, lip out from 18 feet, 1 to play, Par 4, dog leg right, 185 carry over a tree with a 225 run out. I'm thinking 3 iron fade over the tree. Oh shit, it is just perfect, high flight, 6 yard fade over the centre of the tree to finish 5 yards short of the run out, it’s the mona lisa of 3 irons, one of my playing partners had tears in his eyes after seeing it. 9 iron to 25 feet and hole that mother fucker as well.
Now The Shooter is feeling it, high 5's all around and one of my playing partners tells me he has never seen 6 3's through 9 holes before. Stick with Shooter and you will see it more was the call. I signed his shirt with a sharpie, not sure he wanted me too, he just looked at it afterwards with disbelief. I think because he was amazed by the pure ball striking he witnessed all day not because he bought the shirt for $150USD in the pro shop before we started.
Day 2 ends with Shooter having 39 points and being tied for the lead. Sweets has a honest 34 points to be in the mix as well. Moving day tomorrow.
Still pumped up after the stripe show Shooter put on yesterday the early signs were business as usual, a double down the 9th put me even par then a fucking birdie fest happened again, the 10th from the fairway bunker to a foot, 11th a par 5, the 56 degree pitch to a foot, 12th 1 punch 9 iron to 3 feet, 3 in a row lights up the scoreboard for a 3rd day, everyone is watching the red numbers continue.
Third round ends with 36 points to take an almost unbeatable lead going into day 4.
Sweets rolls up a crowd pleasing 43 points to put some daylight between her and second place with a day to go.
Day 4 arrives and its hard to get the juice flowing early, maybe a big week is catching up. Some sloppy bogies followed with some superb birdies was the order of the day.
Sweets wins the overall, net, and a number of daily cash bets and Shooter wins the men's overall, net, daily cash and the men's cash for overall but in The Shooters magnanimous style, the crystal is donated back so the punters can have a day in the sun.
Another Hawaiian Adventure has come to an end with a couple of days in Waikiki to spend the winnings and have a steak at Ruth Chris. Now the last thing is to catch the flight back home. Lets hope the return journey is better than the one over.
Lets get back to the tour.
Relaxed Shooter out