State Team – Round 2
Well if you have ever been to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest between November and April, you know you get those cloudy, gray skies, with the constant drizzle, mixed in with some steady rain… almost every day of the week. I went to University of Oregon for six years (and did eventually graduate), so I was used to the constant winter weather. On Thursday morning, this is the exact type of weather that Team Arizona, and the rest of the morning wave experienced at The Country Club of St. Albans.
Driving over to the course at 6:30 a.m. in the morning we were all wondering if we would play, knowing how wet the course was already, and how steady the rain was coming down. But deep down inside, I had this feel that we would tee off and play, and it would be a very wet day.
With the forecast calling for moderate rain all morning, our guys were dressed and prepared, with rain jackets and pants, umbrellas, bucket hats and rain gloves… and multiple towels. During the round it seemed like my main job as captain was making sure our players had plenty of dry towels, advil and chocolate chip cookies (or jelly-bellies).
Team Arizona started on #1, with Dalen Linnerson at the 8:10 tee time, followed by Michael Wog II and Chris Kessler in the following tee times. I think the toughest part of the front nine is knowing that hole #2 will be played in steady rain, as a 490 yard, par 4, with a lateral water hazard down the entire right side of the hole. While our guys all survived #2, it seems like everyone looks forward to stretch of holes #4 and 5. Hole #4 is a 345 yard, par 4, dog-leg right. Although as the crow-flies, the hole is about 275 yards to take the direct flight and drive the green. And the 5th is hole is a dog-leg left, par 5, playing about 600 yards, the only par 5 on the front nine. Team Arizona took advantage of these two holes, as we played 2-under as a team on Thursday.
As our guys made the turn, from #9 to 10, it was looking like it would be more like a day of survival than anything else, as the steady rain continued. Considering all the adventurous weather conditions, team Arizona finished their day with a team total of 4-over par, 146. Chris Kessler shot an even par 71, with Dalen Linnerson shooting a 75 for the two team-counting scores. Michael Wog II fired a 79. Although our team was done playing by 1:15 p.m., half the field would be playing in the afternoon wave, and only time would tell if they would get to enjoy the steady rain that we enjoyed in the morning.
We would eventually find out Thursday evening that the afternoon wave enjoyed their round with almost no rain (although the course was very wet due to the morning precipitation). But as every golfer knows, sometimes you will end up with an easy draw and sometimes a tough one…. and playing in the morning wave at The Country Club at St. Albans, with steady rain, was definitely the tougher draw.
On Thursday afternoon with our golf all done for the day, we decided to take advantage of our time in St. Louis and do something a tourist would do. Since the Cardinals were out of town, we decided to head to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour near downtown. The free, hour-long tour gave us an inside look at how beer is made, and at the corporate headquarters at one of the largest beer companies in the world. Although one might say that neatest part of the tour was the two free beers we can consume at the end of the tour in the “hospitality room”, one of the highlights was seeing several of famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses, that are kept in the stables on the property. Before there were planes, trains and automobiles, Clydesdale horses were the main source of transportation to deliver beer in the 1ate 1800’s and early 1900’s.
After all was said and done with Thursday’s Round 2, Team Arizona finished T-22nd through 36 holes, at 8-over par 292. With rain forecasted for most of Friday’s Final Round, the USGA implemented a cut, and only half of the field advanced to play the final round on Friday. By finishing in the top-half of the field, Team Arizona survived to play one more day in cloudy, overcast skies, before returning to the 90-plus Arizona heat.