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US Senior Open Qualifying 2019 – Lazurus Rising

thing of beuaty colour

The day has arrived, have played half decent up until now whilst being here Stateside. Practice round yesterday and a little drive around the golf course the day before, should not be any surprises.

First group on the 10th tee 7:30am.

From Queensland Australia, Brad Cumming. Hat tip, acknowledge the crowd. Couple of claps from Sweets, the Yank who is caddying this week and a couple of homeless people that are trying to get a free bottle of water. Flush, ball explodes from the face of the driver, high draw, split the fairway. Nerves now gone, away we go.

Make the first par of the day and we move to the 11th, 176 meters, green sits behind a lake and a massive tree. I say to the Yank “ I think its just a hard 6 iron to take the water out of play” He agrees, the sound off the club is muted and sounds exactly like compression, fuck its good, high arching slight draw, ball lands flag high and runs to the back fringe, Just got a little tingle in the loins.

Slippery down hill 30 footer, out of the fringe it goes hard right, as usual a 30 foot downhill put I am now left with a 15 footer for par, still downhill. Had a second look, then the electric eel I call a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 bit me on the hand and that putt slides by, fuck me.

Little disappointed, I hit it in the right trees down the next, flub the low pitch out, hit a perfect flop from 54 meters to 5 feet, miss that. Fuck it. Bogey the next with a little 3 wiggle as well. What The Actual Fuck is happening.

17, toe drive into fairway trap, hit it a little fat coming out, 48 meters to the flag that is perched on a small plateau above a swale. I grab 60, couple of practice swings to feel the shot, For Fucks Sake, that didn’t work, knife into the back trap, now I am really fucked. Small pot bunker, ball resting on the short side, half embedded, can only get one foot into the bunker comfortably, give it the best I could do and it runs by 30 feet. Can’t complain Shoot, shouldn’t have knifed the pitch. Fucking hole it, “oh yeah” yells the Yank, don’t act to surprised Shooter, make it seem as though you meant it. Hat tip to the crowd, single pistol, Shooter.

Let’s try and resurrect this fucking thing, par 5 18th, flush the driver, 208 meters uphill flag, small opening on the left of the flag to run it up. 4 Iron, flush it, high towering draw, fuck me, how long has this been going on, that shot would put a horn on a jellyfish. Lands in bunker flag high, great shot Shoot, the resurrection begins. Leave it in, flub it out to 40 feet, 3 jiggle, double. Get fucked.

Absolutely devastated after that cock up, turn in 44, now have a 20 minute wait for the first tee, that’s all I fucking need now, sitting in the Arizona sun for 20 minutes while my blood is boiling and I can feel each pump of blood through my jugular vein. Fuck me, have to shoot even par to have 80 for fucks sake, glad I flew all this way.

Flush driver down the 1st, bunker carry is 254, of course the fucking thing lands in the back face, once I saw it land, I knew it was fucked. Get there, ball has flicked out of the bunker from the huge splash mark in the back face, thank fuck for roasting temperatures, Now I have 225 to a middle pin, its cut slightly behind the right edge of the front bunker, shouldn’t be a problem the way I am going.

Hammered the 5 wood, ball flights just over the front bunker, ends up 5 meters short of the flag. I am back, eagle putt finishes 1 foot short, birdied the first to get this train back on the rails, par 2, par 3 from the right edge with a greenside chip that spins, fuck yes Shooter, spin that shit.

Par 4, 5, 6, 7, fuck this professional golf is so easy, why has it taken me so long to work that out. Hitting some beautiful, some would say majestic iron shots.

8th, par 5, 2 to play, 1 red for the front. Looking good, feeling good. Smash a drive up the right hand side, hits the right mounds and bounces left, fucking perfect, its no Rick kick but its good. 183 flag, elevated green, flag cut perilously close to the left hand side of the green.

OK, Shooter, where to from here, too close to lay it up, time to make a name for yourself, I choose 5, Yank looks at me quizzically, I say in my best radio voice, “I’ve got this Bro”, The Yank who has been hiding most of the day because early on it looked like he was going to be the lamb to the slaughter, just nods in appreciation. He knows The Shooter has caught some lightning and is ready to become a tour player.

The flight is beautiful, I am watching it take off, I make the realisation this is what it must be like to see the face of an angel, up it goes, it’s like time has stopped, higher and higher, it looks like a Picasso hanging in a gallery, you don’t know what it means but you admire it anyway.

Lands softly on the green, releases slightly, rolls up to 20 feet, fuck me, children are in awe, women are crying, the gallery are applauding, I think they have just seen magic.

2 deep (back nine only) one to play, Its 178 meters, have to take the adrenalin into the equation, 6 iron, 25 feet past the pin, roll it down to 4 feet and finish off the qualifier in typical Shooter style, my playing partner shakes my hand and thanks me for putting on a show of that calibre for him, He mentions that he feels weak at the knees being privileged enough to witness such control and shotmaking. I leave him wanting more.

Off to sign the card, scorer wants a photo, and then a small Q & A for the assembled media. I hope they don’t ambush me at the airport tomorrow.

Red back nine Shooter Out.


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