Saturday, May 5, 2018

Practice Pays Off!

Steve Young Invitational Outing
Paxon Hollow Golf Course
850 Paxon Hollow Road, Media, Pa.
Yards (Blue Tees): 2733/2976 - 5709
Par: 35/36 - 71
Rating (Blue): 67.7, Slope: 122
Score: 31/30=61, Place: 1st
Date: May 4, 2018

What a way to start a golf season! As you know, my first round of the year was in a charity golf outing that raises money for scholarships at Temple University. To prepare, I made three trips to the practice range in hopes of finding some type of game before we teed it up yesterday. Well the practice paid off as my foursome won!

Playing at Paxon Hollow Golf Course, a very well maintained municipal course in Marple Township, Pa., me and three partners made 10 birdies--with nearly half being from putt of 20-plus feet--and most importantly, NO bogies, to shoot a 61. And I was quite pleased to contribute five of those birdie putts. None was more gratifying that at the 9th Hole, who I made a 30-foot putt that broke at least four feet from right-to-left.

Our round began at the very tricky 17th Hole, a par 3 that is only 115 yards, but plays straight downhill. Temple Men's Basketball Coach Fran Dunphy, a very accomplished golfer, greeted us on the tee. He would tee off first and then groups were challenged to beat the Coach. I am proud to say I not only the sole member of our foursome to put their tee shot on the green, I put it closer to the hole that Dunphy!

After starting with a par at the 17th, our foursome faced the very challenging, 535-yard par 5 18th Hole. Your tee shot is to a narrow sloping fairway with a creek on the left. From there, the hole uphill towards the green. We made a 15 footer for a our first birdie of the round. I made another 15 footer for birdie at the 1st Hole and made birdie putts the 7th and 9th holes as well. We finished the front nine with a four-under 31.

Our winning scorecard

The birdie at the 9th propelled our foursome onto a run which saw us birdie six holes in row (9-14). I began the birdie streak with my putt at the 9th and ended it with another long one at the 14th. At the 15th, a 175-yard par three, we all missed the green and was scrambling to make par when our chips left us a good 30-plus feet from the hole. But my teammate stepped up an nailed it to keep us from dropping a vital shot!

The 17th Hole

That par save may have been the difference as our score tied another foursome's, but we took first place on a match of score cards. Of course, it didn't hurt that we birdied the first four handicapped holes.

The 9th Green

The outing, and the victory, provided my with a bounty of swag. Just for being in the tournament, I received a reversible fold umbrella, water bottle and $100 to spend on Under Armour merchandise (which I used to purchase a polo, a pullover and a backpack), a book about legendary Philadelphia Daily News basketball writer and Temple alum Phil Jasner (personally autographed by his son the author), and a Temple windbreaker. For winning the event, I received a $75 gift certificate to the Pro Shop, which I used on a Paxon Hollow-logo'd Under Armour polo and two pairs of FootJoy ankle socks.

The 18th Hole from the fairway

All-in-all, everyone in the foursome contributed to our winning effort: George hit some timely approach shots, Mike boomed his drives which often left us with short approach shots, Bob made several key putts, and I added some key putts and tee shots. My game felt very good for the first round of the season. The only glaring weakness to my game yesterday was hitting my fairway woods and hybrid off the turf. It is definitely something I need to practice and improve upon.

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