Monday, August 19, 2013

Catching Up, Again

Well, since I last posted here, Team Euro spanked Team USA 18-10 to take the Solheim Cup for the 2nd time in a row and the 1st time ever on U.S. soil behind Caroline Hedwall's 5-0 record, 20-year-old Chiba native Misuzu Narita caught Esther Lee by going 65-65 over the weekend in the NEC Karuizawa 72 and beat her in a playoff for her 2nd career JLPGA victory, Christine Song won the Eagle Classic to become the 1st 2-time winner on the Symetra Tour in 2013 and leap to 2nd on the money list with only 2 events left on the schedule (in the last 2 weeks of September), and Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa finished 6 and 9 shots, respectively, out of the amazing playoff between Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth at the Wyndham Championship.  I actually got to watch a lot of the Solheim Cup's 1st 2 days and was impressed with so many aspects of Team Euro's play:  Hedwall's fire, Pettersen's and Matthew's leadership, Ciganda's comeback, Hull's boldness, Recari's steadiness, Icher's and Masson's putting, and better-than-expected play from just about everybody else.  Most of the matches were much closer than they looked on paper; it always seemed like the Americans had trouble sinking the pressure putts and the Europeans made the most of their opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Constructivist family spent Saturday at an awesome beach with the CT Constructivists; then, instead of driving home that day, we stayed an extra night so the cousins could spend a little more time together, left late Sunday morning, stayed for a few hours in Fort Lee, NJ, made it to Williamsport, PA, just in time to watch the Tokyo (Japan)-Taoyuan (Taiwan) game in the Little League World Series (which Japan won in a nailbiter 3-2), and got home to Hamburg after 1 am.  The girls were fascinated watching boys only a few years older than they are playing baseball at such a high level and they enjoyed cheering for Japan.

Me, I turned around and fired my worst round of the season today in the Buffalo district qualifier for the NYSGA's Mid-Amateur Championship.  I now have even more more sympathy for Stacy Lewis and others who had trouble adjusting to Colorado Golf Club's fast, undulating greens this past week, as I was befuddled all day on and around Gowanda Country Club's tiny, hard, slick, usually extremely-elevated, and often inverted-bowl-shaped greens.  I just couldn't break the habit of popping my chips and putts that I gained over a season of playing at South Shore Country Club's incredibly slow and bumpy greens this summer.  Sure, touching my clubs only at 2 driving ranges in the past week (once with my brother's 3 boys and once with imoto)--not to mention being tired from our last-gasp-of-summer child-care/vacation visit and closing whirlwind tour of 3 states--played a role, but I actually was only a little bit off with my ball-striking (I had only 4 really bad full swings; the rest were very close to the fairways and greens if not on them).  Unfortunately, I don't think any amount of playing or rest last week would have helped prepare me for Gowanda's mental challenges:   trying to anticipate how my drives would run out on its usually-tilted fairways, clubbing myself and judging what kind of approach shot to hit, dealing with the thick rough around the greens that played havoc with my pitches and chips, and reading and executing my putts.  About the only thing I did well was stick to my game plan of playing the short, tight, tree-lined course aggressively, but that aggressiveness into and around the greens turned birdie opportunities into par saves, pars into bogeys, and bogeys into doubles or worse.  What's worse, I don't think I sank a putt longer than 3 feet all day.  Long story short:  it's a good thing I don't play golf for a living!

Speaking of which, it's back to a full-time work schedule for me the rest of the week, what with my fall semester starting up next Monday and all :).  But I'm still getting psyched up for the CN Canadian Women's Open, where teenagers Lydia Ko, Charley Hull, and Brooke Henderson will be among the golfers joining the best of the LPGA in Edmonton.  It's the next-to-last event in North America before the tour heads overseas for 6 straight events; the 2013 season then ends back on this continent in the middle of November.  I'm curious to see over these last 10 events whether Stacy Lewis will be able to challenge Inbee Park for Player of the Year and the money list title, whether anyone else will be able to step it up and try to keep pace with them, what will happen in the season's 5th major, what effect the Solheim Cup will have on those who competed in it, how long Paula Creamer, Na Yeon Choi, and Ai Miyazato can go winless, and whether Moriya Jutanugarn will be able to hold off Chie Arimura, Ayako Uehara, and Caroline Masson in the race for Rookie of the Year.  I'll try to avoid going on last fall and winter's extended sabbatical from blogging, but I'm not making any promises!  We've got a busy and exciting academic year shaping up at SUNY Fredonia and I've got a lot on my plate.

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