Here in Newburgh, Indiana might have one of the best golf courses that I have seen and that this tour plays. It’s demanding but very fair. If you play bad you can definitely shoot a big score. But, if you hit solid shots and putt well you can shoot some solid scores. It’s a course where you need to have control of your golf game otherwise this course will eat your lunch. The wind can blow, the rough is up and the greens are firm. It’s the recipe for a great test of golf.
We had an early tee time starting on the 10th hole with a par 5. The hole is reachable when it’s warmer in the afternoon, but being colder in the morning was not to be. A leaked right wedge shot yielded a solid bunker shot. Ryan needed to make a tricky 5-6 footer for par. He hit it in dead center which is as good as a birdie at that point.
The 11th hole is a long par 3. Ryan hit a not so good 4 iron that left him some 35 yards to the pin. He failed to get up and down for bogey to slide to (+1) early. Bogies are going to happen on this course, they just need to not be self inflicted bad bogies.
In professional golf everyone makes birdies. Everyone also makes bogies. I think the bounce back stat is a telling stat. Bounce back means anytime you make a bogie or worse, your make birdie or better on your very next hole. Ryan did just that by hitting wedge to about 2-3 feet. To me when you can block out bogies and come right back, it means you are mentally in a good spot.
Holes 14-18 on this course are arguably the hardest finishing holes on this tour. It would be hard to find a tougher finish. They holes require solid shots off the tee and accurate shots into the greens. Playing those last 5 even or better is plenty acceptable.
Ryan had one blemish being the 17th hole. A poor iron shot led to a so so chip and a missed 5 footer for par. He had good looks on 15,16, and 18 but just barely missed all 3.
He made the turn in even par which is plenty fine on this course. He opened up his 11th hole in the rain making about a 30 footer for birdie. It was big after missing a few good looks on the front.
Ryan hit an errant drive on hit 11th hole. He had to pitch out sideways leaving himself 110 yards to the hole. He hit a great wedge shot to 5 feet and drained the putt for a great par save. That is huge for momentum especially coming off of a great birdie.
The rest of the round was all pars across the board. It was tough to get it close being in between club selection for most of his back 9.
The final hole was a reachable par 5 that requires a 40 yard bunker shot with water behind the green. Ryan hit one of the best shots from that position I have seen him hit and it finished about 2 feet away. It was good enough to finish level par 72 for his opening round.
Afternoon tee time tomorrow will be a strong test. Can’t wait to see what we come up with.
Some photos of the course.
18th hole (Below)