VSGA Qualifier at Cannon Ridge ends in a Sudden Death Playoff
Trip report here from one of Adam Harrell’s students about a VSGA qualifier at Cannon Ridge Golf Course in Fredricksburg, VA that ends in a sudden death playoff for the last spot in a 2 day tournament at Spring Creek (the prize). Adam at the Epgacademy encourages this type of analysis of your round after the fact so you can learn from your mistakes and think critically about your play…So here goes…
The format was 2 man best ball, where each player played out the hole and the best score of the two players counted for the team, no handicaps play, its a straight tournament. This format creates low scores, not as low as a scramble, but lower than a typical handicapped VSGA event.
The course was setup with the tees all the way in the back, despite the rain the couple days before, but to our suprise the course drained very well and mud balls or casual water were never a problem. The greens were rolling extremely well having clearly been rolled that morning, all in all, it setup for a great day of competition.
#1 – Being the first hole, gitters kick in and I pull my tee shot left leaving a long tough approach to a short sided pin. I hit a hybrid down to about 30 yards from the green and end up making a 5, not getting up and down. Graham has a similar hole and we chaulk up the bad start to cold starting conditions, jitters, and name another excuse. +1
#2 – I hit a great drive over the long 220 yard carry and about 110 yards from the pin in the middle of the fairway. Graham hits a similar drive but is in the left rough. The wind was blowing down and to the right when i was calculating the shot and yet when I went to hit it, it seemed like the wind swirled and started in our faces. I hit a good feeling shot for the distance but the wind caught it up and left it on the front of the green. 2 putts and we make our first par. +1
#3 – This hole was at the very tips at 589 yards, but was playing straight down wind which had to be 25 or 30 mph at the time, also the hole plays significantly downhill off the drive. I hit my drive up the right side of the fairway and had 235 in, Graham had 260 in from the middle of the fairway. Graham hit a nice 3 wood to about 40 yards and hit his approach to about 15 feet for birdie. I hit a great 3 wood on the green to about 40 feet. My putt looked good the entire way but just lost speed at the end and lipped out on the left edge, still back on the horse and we are ready to attack. E
#4 – Long par 3, we both hit good tee shots just underneath the hole on the fringe and 2 putt for a simple par. E
#5 – Hardest hole on the course this day, without a doubt. Playing 463 with the wind directly in our face. We both hit good drives but I hit my second shot into the hazard on the left trying to nuke a 4 iron up the hill 210 yards. Graham hits up short of the green and fails to make an up and down, so we are back over par for the day. +1
#6 – Generally one of the hardest holes, this was playing straight downwind unlike the previous hole, still 499 yards. We both hit big tee balls, leaving 189 and 175 respectively. I hit a 6 iron from 189 and the ball bounds through the green onto the back rough…Shocked at how far this ball flew in the wind. Graham took notice and clubbed down and ended up in the middle of the green and 2 putted for par. +1
#7 – I hit an 8 iron into a strong left to right wind to 20 feet on the front of the green and sunk the birdie putt, right in the center, back to even. E
#8 – Although this hole was only 366 yards, it was directly into the strongest wind of the day and full drivers still left us with 150 and 135 in on our second shots. Graham hit his approach short and 3 putted for a bogey. I left my ball in the bunker on the 2nd shot but made a nice 15 foot putt for a sandy and to save par. E
#9 – I hit a great drive and great 2nd shot and had a 10 foot putt for a birdie and an under par front 9 for our team but the ball turbo lipped out of the left edge and we had to settle for par. E
Overall, great front 9, we fought back from a tough start and kept our composure for a good score.
#10 – Bad 2nd shots from both Graham and I left us with a bogey and a loss of our momentum. +1
#11 – Longish par 3 into the wind. Graham hits the best tee ball leaving a simple chip, yet suprisingly he leaves it short and misses the putt, another bogey, loss of concentration and bad start. +2
#12 – Great drive and well played 3 shot hole leaves me with a 20 foot birdie putt which I miss, yet we are back on the par bandwagon. +2
#13 – Good drives and fairly accurate 2nd shots leaves us with long but managable birdie putts. Graham 2 putts for another par. +2
#14 – I hooked my drive a little bit left and had 125 yards in with a tree blocking my direct view. I elected to try and hit a 80% hook pitching wedge and was just able to get the ball on the right side of the green. I was able to 2 putt and another par. +2
#15 – Long par 3 that Graham hits the green and 2 putts for another par. We are kicking ourselves for losing focus on 10 and 11, which should NOT have been bogeys if we stayed focused. +2
#16 – Graham hits 3 great shots to the middle of the green and 2 putts for another par. +2
At this point Graham and I know its gonna be close. If we can par in, we have a good shot, if we can get a birdie on 18, we are most likely in for sure. We give ourselves a lil pep talk…
#17 – Despite the pep talk we both leave our approaches short of the green and neither of us are able to get up and down. This was a major mistake in the round for our team. One of us should be able to get up and down from the spot we were both at, no excuses, actually need to go get another short game lesson from Adam…deadly bogey +3
#18 – We both hit great drives and good layup shots. We pretty much realize at this point we need a birdie to give ourselves the best chance at qualifying. I hit my approach short but have a 40 foot putt. Graham hits a great shot in and has an 8 foot putt. I miss my 40 footer and Graham is standing over an 8 foot putt not realizing this putt was for a spot in the Spring Creek Event. He pushes the putt just a lil and it doesn’t fall…final score 74
When we walk into the scoring tent we find out there is another group that is tied with us for the last SPOT!! So guess what, sudden death playoff!!
We head over to the first tee (our nemesis hole and bad mental image) for a sudden death playoff. The other team hits two very long drives but right and they will both have difficult approaches in. Graham hits his tee ball left and short and has 200 yards in from the semi-rough. I hit a long but a lil left tee ball and have 150 in from the semi-rough. Graham hits a great approach shot but the balls rolls down off of the dramatic false front on the 1st hole. Our opponents also hit decent 2nd shots but the ball also rolls down off the false front.
Now my heart is pounding and I realize this is my chance to hit a nice shot and take control of the playoff. The moment is too great for me and I hit the ball thin and it ends up in the front bunker. I hit my bunker shot just over the green, Graham is unable to get up and down. One of our opponents hits a boring chip on the green to 2 feet and makes a routine par…Playoff over, we can breath now
Overall, despite not winning the playoff or the entry to the Spring Creek event we learned a lot about our games under pressure and how it feels to be in that situation. We both look forward greatly to continue to work with Adam at the academy to put ourselves in more pressure situations and adjust accordingly. Who knows we are the first alternate and still might get in!