Local challenges on the golf course while watching the Masters: Extra points | Atlantic County Sports
In golf lingo, an eight on a scorecard is called a “snowman.”
My game in Saturday’s “Masters” tournament at Cape May National Golf Club not only included a pair of “Frosty’s”, I also built an igloo for them to relax and watch Scottie Scheffler win the real tournament in Augusta National.
It was the fifth consecutive year that I participated in the CMN tournament. Fifty of us picked a Masters entrant by chance, then combined our 18-hole score on Saturday with their final round on Sunday.
I picked Hudson Swafford, whose most notable Masters blow came in Friday’s second round, when his clubhead flew out of one of his irons. He shot 2 of 74 on Sunday, but he could have shot 54 and I still wouldn’t have been within 10 shots of winning.
I had high expectations. Just a week earlier, I hit 80 for the first time in over two years with a 79. But the golf gods are cruel. This time I was at 79 after 14 holes, thanks to an absolutely awful/comical front nine that featured those two eights and a Roy McAvoy-esque 11.
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My #4 hybrid is usually my club of choice for anything between 150 and 180 yards, mostly because I lost my five and six irons a few years ago and haven’t replaced them yet. It failed me at No. 6, which required a shot 160 yards into the wind over water to an elevated green.
I overcame my tee shot, which fell into the pond and surprised a swan. Half mad and half embarrassed, I pulled out and sent another Titleist into the drink, prompting said swan to lower his head and neck below the surface, lest he run the risk of being beheaded.
I dug into my bag and retrieved another bullet, then walked to the edge and pulled out a 9 iron for a 115 yard shot. He went about five yards further than the first two attempts, resulting in another penalty as the swan floated further out of reach. Shot number seven also dribbled into the lake before I finally found the green and putt two for a double hockey stick.
My playing partner, multi-time Women’s Club Champion Jane Menendez, finally stopped laughing as we headed to the Par-5 seventh hole, then started laughing again when we looked up and saw the swan fly away .
Naturally, I parried the seventh after making a 5-foot birdie putt, then made three more pars during the round to go with my two eights.
But I was still smiling because of a video that appeared on my cell phone.
Participating in the tournament made me miss the opening day of the Lower Cantons little league. My two oldest grandsons, Hampton (6) and Graham (almost 4), are playing T-ball this season for Eldridge Electric and played their first game on Saturday. Hampton also played last season and is early favorite for the Silver Slugger Award. There’s a slim chance Graham could win Rookie of the Year. When I asked him earlier in the week if he was excited, he replied, “Yes, Poppy! I have a hat (batting helmet) and one of those things you put your hand in.”
He meant a baseball glove.
Mimi (my wife Karen) kept me updated with a few videos. Their team was on the field when a batter hit a ground ball that went across the infield to the grass in short right field. All 12 players, including the third baseman and shortstop, raced for the ball, tackling each other in the process.
The first at bat was also memorable. Each batter advances one base at a time as the final batter circles the bases. The manager wisely arranged the batting order alphabetically, which meant Graham was second to last and Hampton was in the cleanup zone.
Graham’s first at bat saw him smash a slow roll on the first base line and he happily sprinted to first with some cajoling from the coach. When Hampton sent hard ground down the middle, Graham took off again … and ran for the pitcher’s mound.
Hey, even Mike Trout had to start somewhere.
More importantly, they had fun, which is supposed to be sport at this age.
Their smiles melted my snowmen.
David Weinberg’s columns can also be found on his Dave Weinberg Extra Points Facebook page and blog, as well as on 973ESPN.com. His podcast, Tequila and Touchdowns by Dave Weinberg, can be heard on Anchor, Facebook and Twitter. You can also hear him every Monday at 5:10 p.m. on Newstalk 1400-AM WOND and WONDRadio.com on Off the Press with Scott Cronick. His Weinberg Wednesday segment airs at 6:15 p.m. weekly on 97.3-FM ESPN.