We had 9 iron into the last hole yesterday. It was hit a little left of the green and took a big bounce right just over the back of the green. It was ok but left a slick right to left breaking putt. Ryan hit a nice putt to around 3-3.5 feet. We sat at (-2) for the event and was assured the weekend with par. Ryan’s putt went in the left side and horseshoed all the way back around and back down his original putting line. It was an awful time for that to happen since it dropped him to (-1) for the event on the cut line with half the field needing to still finish.
I myself didn’t actually know what emotion to feel. I really felt that was the end of the event because the cut was close to moving to (-2). Ryan was a bit hot about it so much that he putted for some 3-4 hours afterwards. Later in the evening we were delighted to know that (-1) held up and made the cut. It really is a tough golf course so it’s hard for guys to post low scores.
We started the round so so. We were (+1) through 7 holes, basically stuck in neutral. The 8th hole was a 5 iron above his feet to 10-12 feet that was rolled in dead center. The 9th hole was a 9 iron to 4 feet. On the par 5 – 12th hole Ryan hit a solid drive that left 268 yards down the hill for his second shot to a green with about 3 big slopes.
(Approach view into #12)
He stepped up to hit the shot and had to back off. We talked that if something doesn’t feel right just back off and restart. So he got back into it and hit his 2 hybrid to about 15 feet down the hill. It was a pretty awesome shot and only someone seeing the hole could understand how good it was. He put a great read on a double breaker and drained it for an eagle 3. He was excited to make a big putt after how the first few days went.
The 14th hole was a very tough pin. Long is dead. Short spins off the green into a collection area. The pin location gives you about 8 paces to work with front to back. It’s definitely a shot where trajectory and spin are essential. Last year I believe we tripled this hole location late on Friday to miss the cut. Thursday we birdied that similar pin location to get some revenge. So with the pin in a similar spot again on Saturday, we actually had a very similar yardage and wind to Thursday. So Ryan hit a smooth pitching wedge to some 5 feet and made that birdie putt.
Hole 15 was a huge up and down from short left on the par 3. His 6 iron didn’t quite carry and landed in this grassy bank. It stay short of the bunker but was a severe uphill lie. The ball was also sitting on a clump of grass which made it simple to go right under it. He hit a great gap wedge to about 7-8 feet and drained the left to right putt to keep the round momentum going. It was an absolutely huge putt that builds confidence.
Hole 18 left us 92 yards for the third shot. It was blowing into our face and the ball was above his feet. Ryan originally wanted to hit lob wedge. The pin location shows you long is dead and too much spin can come back 30 feet so it’s a pretty precise shot. We had a small discussion on the lie and wind and he chose to hit a flighted gap wedge. As soon as he hit it he said be good and it finished about 4 feet from the cup. The putt had some left to right in it and was a good one for the nerves and confidence. He drained it dead center to shoot (-5) 65.
It leaves him 4 shots back with 18 holes to play. This golf course is very challenging with the wind and the firmness the greens. His 65 was the low round of the day and was matched by only one other guy. Ryan played his last 11 holes in (-6) after a rough start and an awful ending to yesterday. It was awesome to see him hang in there and get something going. We will see what Sunday has in store.