The final round put us starting the day at (-6) par for the event. Winning was off the table but having a solid finish was not. I felt if we could shoot 65-66 we could top 25 it, which on this tour is not as easy as it looks.
The opening par 5’s are critical to try and take advantage of. Ryan doesn’t have the fire power to get to both in two, so we would have to hit some wedges in there. I consider Ryan an extremely good wedge player because he has tremendous feel and distance control. The opening par 5 got him to about 30 yards short of the green. His wedge shot went just a little far leaving himself about 15-20 feet down the hill. He surveyed the putt and knocked it in dead center for an opening round birdie.
The 2nd hole played a bit longer so we had a full wedge in which he hit to about 12 feet. A great read of the putt with not much in it put a second consecutive birdie on the board. This was an absolutely ideal start to climb up the leaderboard with some momentum.
A decent look on the par 3 – 3rd hole yielded a par. A pitching wedge to about 15 feet on the fourth hole yielded a dead center birdie to move to (-3) thru 4 holes. The 5th hole is a green light birdie hole because every player can put wedge in their hand to a green that kind of has a funnel effect to it. He hit a great wedge that spun more than we expected and left him around 8-10 feet for birdie.
Our initial read was to play probably 6-8 inches of break. His playing partner putter from a pretty similar line and the putt was surprisingly pretty straight. It definitely changed my thought on it and his a little bit too. None the less we missed it low by not playing the initial break we thought. It’s tough to let someone else influence your reads, but sometimes the other player helps your reads too. It was tough to let one slip away but that’s golf.
A great look that hit the hole on the 6th but didn’t drop kept Ryan at (-3) for the round. It still was a great start but definitely felt like we could be 2 shots lower. The par 4 – 7th is a hole that you have to hit the fairway on because the tour converted the par 5 to a par 4, which in my opinion was stupid because it would have been a great risk reward par 5. Regardless we missed the fairway and had to hack it out. A great wedge shot from 60 yards gave us a 5 footer for par. It looked pretty flat but also felt it could break a little. The putt never broke and missed the hole for the first bogey of the round.
The par 3 – 8th was a good par 3 that was playing back into the wind. We had to hit 4 iron because 3 iron was most likely going to bring long into play. His 4 iron came up some 45 feet short to where he had to go up and over this big hill. Usually Ryan is great at lag putting but his first putt came up about 10 feet short. He second putt just tailed off to the right to put a three putt bogey on the card. The last two holes quickly erased those opening birdies. Golf is such a mind game and at any time you can spend shots in a hurry.
Ryan was obviously a little steamed. He stepped up on 9 and hit a great drive and a great 4 iron to 6-8 feet above the hole. He read the putt to go pretty straight. For whatever reason I saw it breaking more. He split the difference and just lipped out. It’s tough for me to stand there and feel like I had a negative influence on him, but at the same time I feel I need to say what I see. I think that’s what can also make the game tough. It was by far one of the tougher things I had to swallow because more times than not we see things pretty similar.
The back 9 was going to be tough because some of the holes are longer and the 4 coming in play directly into the wind. We really couldn’t get anything close and because the golf course was a bit spotty Ryan had some unfortunate lies to where you can’t do a thing with them. It’s definitely where “rub of the green” becomes BS, but what can ya do. We had a few looks that just couldn’t fall starting that back 9.
The 15th hole is the first hole coming home that plays into the wind. Ryan hit a great drive leaving him 160 yards of the pin. He said “7 iron” and I said it’s perfect because the wind was in a hair to us. He flushed it and it landed just on the green over the front bunker and about 2 seconds later it disappeared! He had just holed out for a much needed eagle 2 to stop the streak of pars and to offset those 2 bogies from earlier.
A decent look on 16 missed on the low side. The 17th hole was a long par 3. We had to hit 3 iron because the wind was into us. Ryan kind of flared it right and it went with the wind and ended up in a dead zone. Hit had to hit a high flop shot landing on a downslope. It was definitely going to be a tough up and down. His shot didn’t carry far enough and settled some 15-18 feet away for par. We had a pretty good read on the putt and putt some good pace on it and knocked it in. It was absolutely huge because we knew we could birdie or eagle 18 and finish strong. It’s not always about the birdies, but the par putts that can swing momentum big time.
18 was a reachable par 5 and Ryan once again hit a great drive. It left him some 235 yards to the hole with 213 yards covering the water. We had a favorable wind and he chose to hit 3 iron. He didn’t hit it the way he wanted but covered the water fine and left him about 40-45 feet for eagle. The putt didn’t break as much as we thought and he cozied it up to about 2-3 feet. He finished out with a nice birdie to shoot (-4) 67. It was his 8th consecutive sub par round in a row and it ultimately finished him in a tie for 30th.
It wasn’t a course that favored Ryan because longer hitters were more suited to take advantage of more holes. But none the less he found a way to play solid and have a nice finish. Anytime you can play well on a Sunday definitely gives you something to draw on in the future. This week ended a 3 week stretch in South America and put us back on a plane to one more event in Broussard, Louisiana.
Stats for the week:
Fairways – 38/52 – (73%)
GIR – 54/72 – (75%)
Putts – 118 – (29.5/Rd)
1 Putts – 25/72 – (33%)
3 Putts – 1/72 – (.014%)
Bounce Back % – 0/6 – (0%)
Sand Saves – Hit into 0 bunkers.
Up/Downs – 12/18 – (66.7%)
Prize Money – T30 – $3,816.00
Eagles – 1
Birdies – 15
Pars – 49
Bogies – 7