The first tournament of the 2012 GC AmTour season here in KC was on April 1 at Stone Canyon Golf Club. Stone Canyon is a newer course and was designed by Greg Norman. It is known as one of the tougher courses in KC with very fast greens. I have played it several times in the past and found it a tough test. The greens are deceptive. It may look like is breaks one way, but end up breaking hard in the opposite direction. The greens complexes create deception by the mounding around the green. I played a practice round a few weeks ago and broke my personal best with a 91.
In the offseason I have been practicing a lot. We had an unusually mild winter, so I was able to hit the range and play some rounds. Leading up to the tournament I managed to play 9 rounds before April, which is amazing for Kansas City. I even got in a lesson a couple of weeks before the tournament. I developed a habit of getting stuck, which led to fat shots or blocks to the right. My instructor tweaked my posture and that seems to have fixed the issue for now.
My index dropped down to 16 at the end of handicap season so I moved up to the Jones flight (16-20 index). Stone Canyon was my first tournament in the the higher flight. I prepared a lot for this. I practiced on fast greens knowing how difficult the greens would be. When I hit the range I would play the front 9 in my head and pick targets and distances that I would face on the course. I was nervous in the days leading up. Playing with better players made me want to prove myself and not embarrass myself either.
On Sunday my tee time was 12:30 and it was very warm and windy. No. 1 was a short par 4, so I teed off with a hybrid, which I put in the fairway. Got on the green and two putted for a par. Bogeyed the next two holes, parred the next two. I was keeping the ball in the fairway and out of trouble. My putting wasn’t great, but I wasn’t three putting. We make the turn and I realize I had a handful of pars and the rest were all bogeys. In a way that relaxed me. I didn’t have to worry about embarrassing myself. I was even competing in the better flight. On the back I ran into a little trouble. I was in a greenside bunker on 10 that took me two to get out and onto the green. On 11 I landed past the green, chipped on and took my first three putt. A couple of holes later and the wind has really picked up. On 13, a long par 5, I was faced with a slice wind. I aimed my shot down the left side and figured the wind would carry it back to the fairway. No, the drive was straight as could be. I still put up a bogey in spite of my first bad drive of the day. On 14 I lost the ball I had played with the entire round. I finished the round okay. When I added up my score I found I had a 41 on the front and a 52 on the back. My 93 was enough to give me second place in the Jones flight out of 13 players. I couldn’t have been happier with my performance. My preparation paid off.