Let me tell you a story.
Have you ever parked your car, gone to lunch for 45 minutes and returned to find your car running ? I know what you are thinking, early onset dementia, not aware of your surroundings or just plain stupid.
This did happen in Kiama, The Shooter, The Mushy and the English Grip Maker went to lunch, Grippy, gets out of the car, leaves it running and has lunch. He only knew it was running when we got back to the car because it wasn't locked, fuck me, welcome to the Legends Tour.
After playing Maitland in the NSW Senior Foursomes with Grippy and finishing not high up the order and then playing the event at Maitland very poorly, things weren't looking rosy.
The Shooters alarm goes off a little late the next morning and the travel time was a little underestimated, Shooter gets a speeding fine on the way and arrives at an oasis called Toronto Golf Club.
As I get out of the car the sun is shining and The Shooter hears a faint bird song, what a beautiful place. The serenity is shattered when MG, with his new lush hair, says "what fucking time do you call this" ?
Shooter, quite taken aback by the abrupt nature of the question replies "Good Morning, Michael".
Never seen the place before, starting on hole 6. Meet my playing partners in the pro shop and they tell me that the 6th is down toward the pump shed and then its a left turn, follow that hole down and the 6th is just past there, its about a kilometre away.
They guy says, could be worse, we could be starting on hole 14, we all have a laugh although I have no idea where hole 14 is.
We have about 15 minutes to go, just about to set off and the announcement comes, "can The Shooter report to the pro shop please", here I go thinking its a couple more balls or gloves to sign for the kids and then the pro tells me there has been a change, I am now on hole 14 and I should start walking now. How is this day going.
I took water and a cut lunch and started the trek, it felt like 35 minutes and 4 klm. I was fucked by the time I got there. Meet my playing partners and away we go.
So tired from the walk I heel cut a driver up into the fairway and hit a 9 iron to a foot. Knock that bad boy in, nice start Shoot.
Par 15, couple of solid ones into 16 with a lip out, still -1.
Flush it down the par 5, hit 3 iron onto the front slope and putt it up to 30 cm, tap that in to go -2, nice job Shooter, feeling it today. Striding off the green with a little self confidence. Fuck me, is this what it feels like.
Pure a 3 wood up 18 and make a fantastic 2 putt from 40 feet.
Hit a 5 iron off the first tee and pipe the second shot, lip that fucker out from 8 feet, getting unlucky but starting to get the Greg Norman stride going, smash it down 2, lob wedge from 68 mtrs, lands a metre from the flag, one bounce past the stick and spins back 10 feet, leave that putt short in the heart. Too much Jiz on that one, sorry too much Tour Sauce on that one.
Pull an 8 iron into the trap on the par 3 3rd, shit lie, flop it out to 15 feet and miss that, first bogey of the day but frozen rope the 3 iron off the next tee, flight a perfect 9 iron to 12 feet and hole it to lead the bounce back stats and to get back to -2. Pump the fuck up.
Flushing the driver, hit the 5th fairway and make a nice par, pipe it down 6, got 82 mtrs, perfect little 54 pitch, comes off the club perfectly, one bounce right of the flag and spins left , almost hits the flag on the way past and settles 3 feet. In she goes, seeing lines like they are painted on the green now. -3.
Neck the 3 wood from the 7th tee, stays in the fairway and flush a 7 iron to the back of the green. Fired up and wanting to get to -5 for the day now.
Run that putt 5 feet past, bit aggressive. Hole it on the way back, fuck yeah, here we fucking go.
Par 5 8th, hit the worst drive of the day, low left and it runs onto the rocky cart path, drop it from there and almost shank a 4 iron OOB, it hits a tree and falls down into the shit rocky rough. Hit a pure 9 iron to 25 feet left of the hole and hole it for birdie, fuck me, we are getting there now. -4.
The 9th is a176 metre par 3 down wind, 7 iron out of the toe but still gets up, two putts and its a couple under for the back. The walk to the 10th tee is about 500 meters, as I pass the clubhouse the punters are on the balcony and afternoon players are watching the live scoring, they know The Shooter is on a run.
The 10th is par 3, playing 138 wind hard across right to left with a pond on the left edge, The Shooter is dialled in, knocks down a 7 iron and holds it up against the wind and it lands on the front edge, two putts for par and move on. -4
The club have a hole out of play and the next hole we play is 12 and then we go back to 11.
12 is another par 3, 180 meters, Shooter hits it on the front edge and then 3 putts it. Fucks sake. -3
Flush it up 11, right into the go zone. 228 wind off the left over a creek. Shooter checks the numbers for a second time, don't pusswah out now Shoot, we haven't got here by laying up, fuck it lets go.
The dome bounces down the fairway and leaves me 84 meters in, great lay up. Perfect number. Hit that to a foot and hole it for birdie. -4
Now we are cooking.
Flush it down the last, hardest hole on the course, catches the top of a tree and falls down. Now there is 148 left, off hardpan, OOB right. Punch shot starts right, bounces shit, might be out of bounds. Fuck it, hit a provisional onto the green.
As I am walking down , I see my first ball in bounds, that's a relief, its not out, instead its nestled between a stick and hardpan, could not have been worse. Shooter knows he isn't the best chipper out here, especially lately (2 years), looks at the lie, looks in the bag, thinking of putting a putter stroke on it with an 8 iron, just to get it rolling off the stick. When I say stick, its the size of a fucking tree behind my ball, cant get the club to it, cant move it.
Fuck this, just get up and chip it like a golf pro, its delicate, it has a beautiful mid flight with some spin, its a shot that a lesser ball striker couldn't hit. It lands on the green and rolls out to 8 feet, oh yeah.
The putt for bar breaks hard at the end to fall of the right hand side.
Bogey on the last isn't what the fairytale needed but, its a fine performance for -3, some would say its a Shooter like performance, shades of brilliance mixed with some unlucky moments.
It takes 35 minutes and 3 bottles of water to get back to the clubhouse, Shooter is leading and now the long wait begins. During the afternoon, beers are consumed, stories are told, gloves and balls are signed for the kids and media done.
As the afternoon went on and the wind started to blow the afternoon players around, more beers were consumed, someone got loose with a Sharpie and the odds of a Shooter win continued to fall, to the point that Sportsbet stopped taking bets.
In the end, Shooter prevails, wins his first tour event and eloquently regales the audience with tales from the tour into the night.
Tour Winner Shooter out.