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A smooth swing backed by power propelled my Titleist 230 yards down the fairway. An explosion of emotions ran through me as I started off the most important round of golf to date. The first hole of regionals proved to be as challenging as the rest of the course would be that day.
With temperatures in the lower forties, I teed off at approximately 10:40 a.m. I had a thirty-foot putt to save par. I drained it, right in the center of the cup. I thought to myself, "Now let's build off of that." The next tee shot was down the right side of the fairway and in perfect position to the pin. I was striking the ball very well, even though my swing felt like an unfolding lawn chair. I would have to keep this up for seventeen more holes.
In the back of my mind, I knew that a 77 would get me to state for sure. At this same course, just two weeks prior, I shot 77 with a bogey and then a double bogey to finish my last two holes. I knew that if I could just replicate that round, I would be going to state. That 77 wasn't even a very good round for me. I made a lot of errors, mental and physical, that would have saved me a lot of strokes. A 73 won that tournament, so without those errors, I would have been right there. All I had to do was to play well.
After carding a 39 on the front nine with five three-putts, I was on track to a 75. Things were looking up. Standing on the number ten tee was a very different experience than it was on the front nine. The cold, dark clouds moved overhead with a light wind blowing right to left. The wind soon raised goose bumps on all of our skin. It had become quite cold, and everyone knew that this was going to turn ugly. A decent tee shot started off the second half of my round. As I was walking to my ball in the fairway, the wind picked up dramatically and sleet was stinging the back of my neck. My hands were soaked, along with the rest of my body. My clothes were drenched, making the temperature seem much lower than it already was. I knew I would have to play through these elements well enough to post a good round.
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"A Disappointing Golf Game." 123HelpMe.com. 08 Apr 2020
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Then the rain delay happened. I do not have a good history with rain delays. On two previous rain delays, I was leading the field by one stroke. When the rain subsided, I ended up going out and ruining my round, to finish well back of the leaders.
I knew that I would have to go against everything that was telling me that I was going to go out and ruin this round, if I were to make state. What did I do? I started right off with a triple bogey. I knew I had to pull it together. The next hole was a pretty short par five. I hit two bad shots, but still managed to sink a twenty footer for birdie. I was getting it back. I was now five over par which was a seventy-seven. I would have to par my last four holes to keep on my agenda. No problem, I have pared 4 holes in a row a million times before.
Nervousness filled my conversations with the other competitors. We kept debating what score would be the cut off for state. I thought it would be around seventy-nine, while the others concurred that it would be lower. I didn't care; I had to finish my last few holes well.
Walking on to the eighteenth green, I felt an enormous amount of emotions all at once. I was nervous because of all the people watching the final hole, and because I didn't know if my score was going to hold up. I felt sorrow, because this could be the last putt that I hit in my high school career. I was disappointed because I did not shoot as well as I would have liked. I was anxious to see the scores posted.
I looked over my birdie putt. It was about twenty feet and broke a little from right to left. I hit the putt right on line. It was looking good, but stopped well short of the hole. I would have a six-foot putt for par. I waited for everyone else in my group to finish. I looked over my putt...set up...and put it right in the center of the cup.
We all shook hands and congratulated each other on a good round. I immediately went to the scores table to sign my scorecard. It was turned in by an official and I awaited the scores of the players yet to come in.
My plan to shoot seventy-seven was good enough to get me into state. Seventy-eight was the cut off for state. My horrible round of eighty-one wasn't good enough to make the cut. I was disappointed in myself. My senior year I did not make state. All my hopes of playing college golf seemed to go down the drain.
I am a much different person because of just this one round of golf. I now have to work harder to achieve a spot on a college golf team. I have to do things that I would not have had to do if I had made state. I also now have the feeling that I am a failure. I cannot say, "Oh well, next year will be different". There is no next year in high school golf for me. I tried my hardest and did not achieve my goal. This experience has only taught me that I have to work harder than I would ever of had to. Sometimes things happen and sometimes things don't. Well, this one didn't, but instead of relying on myself to just come to the occasion, I am a much harder worker now. I am also more aware than ever of the other side of the spectrum: failure.