It is officially the first two tournament rounds. Mara, Jim Clark and their two amateurs tee’d off at 11:45am at Poppy Hills on Friday and 7:15am at Pebble Beach on Saturday.
These first two days are an experience like no other. To be inside the ropes at a Champions Tour Event with professional athletes, while playing golf on TV, bring up a lot of unknown emotions, challenges and learning moments. It’s something that you really can’t recreate in any other setting.
Mara’s Viewpoint on Rd 1:
To say I had nervous excitement when we arrived at the course for Round 1 is an understatement. I got through warmups, fending off some nervousness, but as we got to the first tee we realized play was delayed due to golfers still making the turn from the morning rounds and my nervousness began to build.
Once we got started, the first two holes were difficult. I wanted to do so well for my team. I didn’t have the start I wanted to and my self-disappointment got the best of me. Thankfully, I was able to shake off the nerves, regroup and begin to enjoy the experience.
Looking back, it was really neat to hit some good shots and have a few opportunities for my golf score to help contribute to our teams overall results. During this first round, the two amateurs we were paired with were a husband and wife duo from California. They had played the last three years and their time finished in third place in 2016.
At the end of Day 1, my golf results weren’t up to par but what I gained from the experience was well worth the roller coaster. I was able to watch how everyone handled themselves on course, how they used Judgment when navigating a very difficult course, and how the pros seemed to be able to persevere through a bad hole and re-engage to make the next hole better.
I was looking forward to recommitting myself to a positive day 2.
Friday evening we had a participant only pizza part at the STEM Zone which was set up on Hole 17 Green. The area was very similar to the STEM Zone set up during the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst, so it was fun to go back through and get to do all the activities again.
Mara’s Viewpoint on Rd 2:
Saturday morning we had the earliest tee time of the day, 7:15am, off of Hole 10. Sunrise right now in California is around 6:50am; so we were met by a few building lights near the range to get warmed up. The overall temperature that morning was definitely the coolest of any this week and I was happy to see the sun start to rise.
When we got out to Hole 10 Tee, it was a beautiful start to the day. There was barely any wind to speak off and the ocean was glowing from daylight peeking through.
I was ready to have a great day with my team!
We got off to a good start the first few holes, I even had a chip in on Hole 12! Definitely an early round highlight.
Of the two courses, I definitely felt more comfortable and confident playing Pebble Beach. Plus, the views were amazing so it was much more difficult to get down on yourself if you hit a bad shot with that back drop.
While our pro didn’t have his best day, we enjoying the team comradery and pushing to support one another for the best score possible for our team. Throughout the round we all had holes where we made contributions to our team score, which was a lot of fun.
Saturday night was our only ‘free’ night of the week. Our very sweet host family took us all to dinner at Spanish Bay Lodge. This was a really awesome experience because we got there in time to see the back piper play down the fairway and later was the sunset over the ocean. I’ve never seen a West Coast sunset before, so it was icing on the cake this week.