On Friday, Brian Henninger and I were scheduled to tee off in the afternoon wave at Poppy Hills GC, with no set morning activities, it was my first (and only) day I would get to sleep in! But not too late as I wanted to get to player breakfast before they closed! Being a week of first, I had my first omelet at player breakfast! YUM!
Later we headed to Poppy Hill GC to get ready for Round 1 – with a new tool in my pocket – a lucky ball marker from my host dad, Mr. Carl. It was a coin he had received during a golf tournament called The Clint, hosted at his home course, Tehama Golf Club.
Playing in the afternoon wave, we had a little extra time so I was able to grab a pin sheet from the starter tent and take a few minutes to mark up my yardage book with where today’s pins would be. I also had the chance to watch a few of the morning groups play through Hole 18 green.
Mr. Henninger and I were paired with two amateurs for Round 1, Greg Orr and Landry Gibbs of Texarkana, Texas.
My first hole that I played was an absolute mess, I was just beyond nervous. I ended up hooking my tee shot all the way into the waste bunker area of the hole adjacent to us, where I had to wait for people in another group to tee off before I could go and hit my shot. Then from there, I hit too far behind my golf ball, luckily avoiding all trees, barely made it to the cart path. I took a drop and ended up shanking my shot so bad that it went straight right into the woods. I decided to pick up but was really sad.
Mr. Henninger, however, made a birdie on our first hole (Hole 10) so that was really awesome!
On the 11th hole, our second hole, I hit a solid shot onto the green, assuring me the first hole was long gone! Then on the 12th hole, I hit an amazing drive, sealing the deal that I was on the right track.
Hole 18 (our 9th Hole) was my highlight of the day!
I hit a solid driver and had around a 200 yard carry over the hazard in front of the green (a par 5). My initial thought was to lay up on a safer line, about a 150 yard shot, but Mr. Henninger came over and talked me into going for the green. I hit my 4 wood and it carried just enough to get over the hazard and rolled onto the green about 15 ft from the pin!
I two putted for my first birdie of the tournament!
On Hole 4 (our 13th Hole), I hit a long drive, giving me my favorite distance into the green – 88 yds. I hit my 52 degree to about 18 ft and drained my putt for birdie. I was so excited!
My host dad for the week, Mr. Carl, was able to come out to watch our last four holes of the day. While I made a few bogeys coming in, it was really great to have his support and enthusiasm felt on the course.
After Round 1 of the PURE Insurance Championship, Brian Henninger and I were tied for 38th Place at 3 under par.
After golf, our Friday night event was the Core Values Dinner & Train Concert presented by EMoney. This event was on the lawn behind the 18th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links. It truly doesn’t get any better – dinner and a concert over looking Pebble Beach. I had never heard Train before and just loved the concert!
And, an added bonus to the evening was that I had won a gift card to the Pebble Beach Golf Shop! They had a contest to guess the correct number of balls in a container and Mr. Henninger helped me come up with a number, which ended up being the closest!
Tomorrow I have an 8:43am tee time on Pebble Beach Golf Links. I will be playing with Mr. Henninger and 2 new amateur participants. The weather is supposed to be beautiful and the sun is supposed to be out all day! I cannot wait to get my second crack at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Saturday morning was back to our early awake schedule! But it was well worth it because we were headed to the first tee of Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Some of my golf highlights from the day included almost holing out from green side bunkers on Hole 8 and 10, making a par on the famous Hole 7. Then when we reached Hole 18, I hit an incredible tee shot past the big tree in the fairway, able to go for the par 5 green in two, hit the green. Such a cool memory I will never forget!
As we walked those 18 Holes, I just took in the immaculate beauty and landscape every hole provided. While I am incredibly competitive, I had to remind myself the uniqueness of being in California and the opportunity I was provided to walk the fairways of Pebble Beach Golf Links.
After the round, I had the opportunity for another first this week! Coach Matt’s former co-worker now lives nearby Pebble Beach and set us up to go Paddle Boarding in the Monterey Bay. We got changed into wet suits and headed out. Being out on the water was even more beautiful then looking from a distance. I saw jellyfish, otters and sea lions. Initially I was nervous when we got close to the sea lions but as I got comfortable it was really neat to see them following me while paddle boarding and just swimming all around us out in the ocean.
As we left dinner Saturday night, the 2nd round scores from the afternoon wave began to trickle in and it was clear that I would miss the junior cut to play Pebble Beach Golf Links, again on Sunday, by 2 strokes.
Although I am disappointed, I do get to play Poppy Hills GC tomorrow with the other juniors in a Ryder Cup style match.
On a positive note, I’m so happy Mr. Henninger made the cut! He bogeyed Hole 18 today and we thought he was going to miss the cut.
What an amazing two days in California it has been!