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FORE! - A final hole disaster
HAVING a poor final hole always leaves a bitter taste in the mouth – but it’s even worse when it costs you victory.
Playing with my brother-in-law, Steve, and my friend, Russ, last weekend, I somehow got myself into a winning position as we wandered to the final tee.
To say the round to that point had been a mixed bag would be something of an understatement. I managed to make two birdies in the same round for just the second time in my life – and also sunk three pars – but there had also been even more disasters than usual.
I made three triple bogeys on the front nine but somehow got to the turn in 45 blows, keeping pace with my opponents. I then took the lead with some consistent, if not spectacular, play over the first half of the back nine – but things soon began to fall apart.
A slice into the bushes at 14 meant left me playing three off the tee, while I then found a ditch later on the same hole on the way to an ugly nine.
It took me six, including two bunker shots, to get down at the next, a par three, but I recovered in spectacular fashion, sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th green to take the lead.
I held my nerve down the long 17 and stood on the last tee with a one shot lead over Russ, while Steve was a further two shots behind.
A iron was all that was needed and while I sliced it into the rough, it seemed safe enough, especially when Russ joined me and Steve topped his drive into a bush.
A nervous few moments followed as we struggled to locate my ball, which had sat down in the grass, and the relief was palpable when it was found.
I found myself with a tree between me and the green and opted for a low punch. Sadly, my contact was perfect, sending the ball into a bunker I didn’t think was within reach – and that was where the fun began.
Faced with around 20 yards to the flag, I took out my lob wedge and promptly thinned the ball out of bounds. I had to drop back into the bunker and it took me another three shots to get out, with the final result an 11.
Not only did I hand Russ victory but Steve’s ball had somehow powered through the bush and he beat me as well.
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