This post from Liam Frean is the eighth in the Living as a Links Golfer section of the site. The section will grow as Liam lives the life of a student golfer in St Andrews, Scotland! The photos below are from Graylyn’s review of the St Andrews Eden Course.
Sitting at my desk, I started procrastinating by recalling my match for University of St Andrews Third Team, which was on the St Andrews Eden Course. Along with me not being a big fan of the course, the weather was horrific. Serious amounts of rain along with a very strong breeze made for a challenging day. Having packed ever golf glove I own along with a second outfit, I was ready to carry a bag weighing more than me.
Starting down wind, I knew the first few holes couldn’t be playing too long – putting a premium on good wedge play. On the first I managed to hit a wedge 20 yards past the pin and didn’t manage to get up and down for the half against my competitor. The next hole is usually a very long par 4 so my driver came straight out the bag. I hit one of those drives that you know couldn’t have been hit better, which resulted in a big testosterone boost. Unfortunately, a bunker lay 340 down the right edge of the fairway which my ball kindly found on the second bounce. Serves me right for puffing my chest out so much after the shot. After a serious sinking feeling I could not get the half and walked to my least favourite stretch of holes 2 down.A par on the 3rd was enough to get a win with my opposition falling victim to the severe slopes on the green. Now facing into the wind with the hardest green to hit staring me down I knew I could get it back to level. I pulled the 3 wood left trying to avoid the water on the right giving me a 70 yard pitch shot on a bare lie; given the state of my wedge game, this probably was my least favourite shot. My opponent put his ball on the green about 16 feet from the hole so I knew I needed a good shot. I hit down on the shot to try get the ball up quickly. It took two bounces towards the hole and past it by a foot and stopped dead to the surprise of myself and everyone else I was playing with. Getting it back to level I wanted to keep the momentum going, winning the next but giving up the lead almost immediately.Holes were not halved until the 11th when we halved the hole to keep the game level. The 12th was halved again with the awkward 13th ahead. With my drive in the rough and his in the fairway it was not looking good. I couldn’t muscle my ball onto the green leaving it 40 yards short, he was now in control. A possible lack of concentration saw him hook his shot onto the next tee box leaving him an awkward up and down. I was first to play, leaving myself a 6 foot while putting the pressure back on him. He over powered his shot leaving himself 12 feet. He missed his putt, making mine all the easier. I took the win on that hole.Knowing the match was close, I wanted to close out my game for the point on the leaderboard. I won the par 5 16th which was playing a country mile into the wind – leaving me one up with two to play. This left the 17th with out of bounds all down the right. I pulled my drive left to relative safety with my opponent piping his shot down the middle and followed that by fist pumping and then turning to give me a look; it was on. I had a 180 yard shot into the wind which was probably playing 200. I hit the best shot of my season, drawing it against the wind and giving myself 10 foot for birdie and returned the favour by looking straight back at my opponent. I knew that the pressure was firmly on my opposition. He couldn’t get to the green against the strong wind and then could not get up and down. I put my first putt 4 foot past the pin in a bit of excitement but I gathered myself and hit the next putt firmly in the middle.
Unfortunately, the team lost 3.5 to 4.5. It was a tough day in the bad weather with birdies being hard to come by. I was happy to get my win but gutted to see the team lose. It was by far the most competitive game I have had for a while and take my hat off to my opponent for making it such an intense game. It’s now time for exams and then holidays, so I have to end the procrastination before I can start relaxing. Hopefully when I write my next article on this desk I won’t have a stack of work to get through.