Sunday, July 12, 2009


Sam spent the past week in Luxembourg with friends competing in the Luxembourg International. Lilliputan Luxembourg may not hold the most prestigious golf tournament in the world, but it is an “international” with a strong field from Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. In previous “internationals,” Sam never has made the cut. His goal is to break that barrier.

Tournament organizers have shaved the greens and the course contains multiple out of bounds areas. Most of Sam’s friends bomb out in the first round, shooting well over 80. But Sam keeps his concentration and shoots an excellent three over par. The next day is less good, nine over, but still sufficient to make the cut.

I drive to Luxembourg on the Friday night after work. Most of Sam's friends have returned home. I caddy again for him. The course, carved out of hilly farmland, is as treacherous as Sam warned. The first hole is a dogleg par four, with a steep descent of a second shot to the green. The flag is tucked behind a trap. Instead of playing it safe, Sam goes at the flag and leaves himself with a short birdie putt, which he makes. He birdies the next par five. On another hole, he chips in. By the 12th hole, he is four under.

Disaster has to strike. Out of bounds lurk on each hole and sure enough Sam drives on the 13th into the woods. But he recovers with his second ball and limits the fallout to a double bogey. Although he bogies the next hole, he birdies a par five. Despite a lip out on the 17th hole for a bogey, he storms back with a terrific nine iron over water and just misses the birdie putt on the 18th.

He finishes with 72, one under par and one of the best rounds of the entire field. He ends up 19th in the tournament, the third highest Belgian - and receives a dose of confidence going into next week's Dutch International, one of the five most important junior tournaments of the year in Europe.

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