The Tenth At Colonial
From GolfBlogger’s 2011 trip to play in the Crowne Plaza Invitational:
For the Crowne Plaza Invitational Pro Am at the Colonial, our group started on the back nine. Thus, the tenth was our first. It’s a 408 yard par 4.
I came to the first tee full of negative waves. There had been discussion at the pairings party the previous night about how the par four tenth was a much more difficult hole to begin than the downhill par 5 first. The main threat was a water hazard directly in front of the tee. Although even an average golfer could negotiate that water with a short iron, rumor had it that someone in every group would—through first tee jitters—manage to plunk it into the drink.
I really didn’t want to be that guy.
Our group gathered around the tee box and Del Ross, IHG VP for US Sales and Marketing handed all of us very nice Crowne Plaza Invitational belt buckles (sans belts). Stuart Appleby got one, too, and dryly remarked that his waist wasn’t quite that small. After posing for a couple of photos, we stood aside as Stuart teed up at the rear of the ground. The Starter made his introductions and our pro laced a shot over the trees on the left to what I presumed was a safe spot he had picked earlier.
We then moved forward to the amateur tees, where the starter introduced Del. He hit a good shot down the middle and my nervousness grew. Ft. Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief was next, and he, too, pounded the ball up the fairway. Now there were only two of us left to put the ball into the water.
I was third. Big Dog in hand, I stepped to the box as the Starter introduced me to the crowd. That was an absolutely amazing feeling; for just one wonderful moment I was Mr. GolfBlogger, Pro Golfer.
Then the evil thoughts returned. What if I put the ball in the water? Worse, what if I whiffed? Stuart Appleby surely would do an inward groan at having to endure a round with such an insufferable hacker. The nice people at Crowne Plaza who invited me would realize that they’d wasted their money.
In short, I was a wreck.
I tried to put all of that out of my mind; to concentrate on routine and a smooth easy swing. It worked. I made one of the better tee shots of my life, sending the ball straight down the fairway on a low, rolling trajectory.
Big sigh of relief. I was walking on clouds.
Our fourth, veteran Robert Leonard, also managed to avoid the water hazard curse.
My second shot was a nine wood to the right of the elevated green. A pitch over the trip left me with a long putt. Stuart Appleby lined it up for me and I drained it for a par. In fact, we all made par on that opening hole.
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