Sunday, October 13, 2013

Erin Hills review from a player's perspective - By David Boote

David Boote had a last minute call up to the traveling lineup for Erin Hills last week and made the very most of the opportunity. Here David recounts the story of the successful week in Wisconsin from a team player perspective...

A big hello to all of our Stanford Men’s Golf fans!!

So it’s time to start off this year’s blogs with a bang, and no better way to do it then blogging a win! Last week was our second tournament of the Fall season and a great opportunity with some fresh new faces on the team to show what we can do. Two freshman; Jim Liu and Maverick McNealy, made their first collegiate start and it would have been three freshmen playing if it wasn’t for an injury to Viraat Badhwar’s wrist. Personally, it was a very quick turn around for myself.  Having missed out via the qualifying stages to Viraat I was told last minute the afternoon before we travelled that I was going. To say that I, along with the rest of the team was excited to play this gem of a course would have been an understatement…

Practise Round Day: We arrived at Erin Hills with a large buzz around the team. Three of our top 5 had played the course in the 2011 US amateur championship, so we certainty didn’t lack experience with the course. Having been warned of a potential bad weather system settling in later in the day, we set off for our practice round at 11.40am. The course was entirely how we all expected it; long, windy, fescue grass lining the fairways. - - Apart from the odd 1-foot wide trench bunker dotted around some of the greens which were disasters waiting to happen... We got as far as the 6th tee box, when the monsoon rainfall /biblical thunderstorm arrived. Huddling in a small lightning safe hut we, along with a few other teams, watching as the course around us was flooded with the rain. It seemed like it was set in for the day and we were wandering whether we would ever get back out to see the rest of the course.
Around an hour later, the weather had subsided and we were back out. However now light was not on our side! We managed to get round to the 11th tee box when the second siren went off signaling the end of play for the day.

That evening we settled into the hotel bar, resembling a barn style atmosphere where we discussed everything from course strategy for the coming days to which sports were better... British or American.. or why the US pro baseball league should ever be called the World Series?!

Competition Day 1: Everybody was in good spirits the first morning, perhaps helped along by Stanford Football’s win the night before. However we had our own Stanford athletic achievement to pursue.. It was time to knuckle down!
The first day was a great all round team performance, with all five scores par or better. We had accumulated a commanding six shot lead over UCLA, who we never beat last year.

Jim Liu practicing his Two Step dance moves in preparation for the Wisconsin ladies!!

Day 2: The second day was met with the same intensity. We consolidated our six shot lead by increasing it to 11 shots; helped along by Jim Liu’s round of 3 under, and two solid rounds of level par from Cam and Patrick. The other level par round from myself was not quite as solid but it was helped along by a nice bit of luck on the 6th hole!!

Day 3: It had been a while since we had last secured a team win so the nerves were greater today. However good warm up routines and assurance for our teammates helped us prepare for we what we needed to deliver. 
It was a solid day for a team with such a commanding lead. The term, “we did what had to be done,” springs to mind. Patrick led us as he so often does with a superb round of 3 under. Maverick managed a much needed round of one over whilst Cam and I played as we had been the previous days. Jim would have counted also if it wasn’t for an unfortunate start (for which he has earned himself the nickname, “Tin Cup”) and finish. But what a way to fight back from Jim to shot just 2 over! This kind of hard work and determination from both Freshmen this week is what we will need throughout the season!

And Guess what! We totaled up the scores and we did it! Patrick secured his sixth collegiate win in style, beating St. John’s University’s Ryan McCormick by 3 shots.

Here he is with his trophy (the photo was taken in the fescue because clearly he hadn’t experienced enough of it during the week)

And here is the winning team... What a strapping bunch of young lads!!

Of course, this win couldn’t have been achieved without all the hard work from both Coach Ray and Coach Rowe. As always they did everything they could to allow us to play our best golf.  

A huge thank you should also go to all the volunteers, the staff at Erin Hills Golf Club for all their hard work and to Marquette University for hosting!

Last, but certainly not least a big thank you to all the supporters that came out on the course to support us!