Sunday, March 21, 2010

Season Opening

Sam is away this weekend in Brittany with the Belgian national team at the opening tournament of the season. It's in Dinard, at one of the oldest courses in Europe, a links masterpiece that opened in 1887 that touts itself boasting "gorses and brooms, moors and dunes, cliffs and strands." Over the phone, Sam tells me it is gorgeous, just "gorgeous - one of the best I have ever played." This is quite an endorsement from a 17 year old who has competed at British Open courses such as Royal St. Georges.

The event is a two round Grand Prix, open to all ages. Some 70 top-ranked golfers are competing. The first day is blustery and rainy. On the internet, I see Sam has shot a 72 - four over par. The highest score is even par. Going into the final found, Sam finds himself in 10th place and within striking distance of the lead.

On the phone, he sounds satisfied. "I hit the ball terrifically," he reports, making 16 greens out of 18 in regulation. But he says he took 36 putts. "The greens were soooo fast and I had the yips." Into the 16th hole, he was only 1 over par and then he four putted from 15 feet. "I said to myself, 'be cautious and don't hit it hard,' but the ball just kept on rolling past the hole."

As he said goodbye, he said he was off to the practice green to work on the putting.

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