Russley hosted us this morning for day 24. It was another bleak day as we stumbled into the car and with rather sore heads made our way to the first tee for our 7am tee time‚?¶ This morning was the first time we can really say we burnt the candle at both ends. It was, therefore rather unsurprising that I fatted the first tee shot about 90m. But at least it was straight and I made par.
Playing at Russley was like seeing an old mate again who has been away travelling the world for a while. Once upon a time I was a member at the place for around15 years until the family membership at Clearwater drew me away. Jamie was also a member of Russley whilst at high school and varsity. So it was all very familiar. There were no excuses of ‚??another new course every day‚?? today. Russley has been home to many a battle between the two of us, including an(other) almighty choke by me at the 20th¬†hole in our school matchplay final. Alas, that would have been the pinnacle of my golfing career.
Russley is a solid, narrow traditional golf course that tomorrow is hosting the final round of the New Zealand open qualifying. It used to also be the home of the garden city golf classic, a tournament that in its day drew a high quality field, including once the young Tom Watson.¬† You have to hit the ball straight off the tee or there is trouble.¬† On a misty and damp morning the course off the back tees was playing quite long and there are a number of tough par fours.¬† Today we had the odd quality shot, but at no stage did either of us string a few quality holes together and therefore our scoring really suffered (87/91). My round started like the recurring nightmare I used to face (when, like many a youngster I held high hopes of a dream round every time I stepped up to the first tee) on the second tee. The second has out of bounds along the right, and is a fairly daunting drive down a narrow shute. ¬†And today my nightmare came true as I blocked it straight out of bounds and lost my new pro-v1. A costly shot all round.¬† The signature hole at Russley is probably the par 5 sixth, a long par with a huge lake around the front of the green. Following a Russley-esque chip out from the trees I was standing over a six iron to the back pin placement, surrounded by water. But rather than salivating over the challenge before me I had something of the dry horrors. I proceeded to hit a pure shank head height and slicing towards out of bounds. Thankfully, I stayed in bounds and managed to nudge the ball onto the green for four, before rounding off the hole with a four putt. Nice. ¬†¬†Thankfully my game picked up on the last couple of holes and I finished with two solid pars on the very tough finishing holes (including the newly redesigned 420m 18th).¬† This proved enough to take the match 2 up against Jamie so he goes into tomorrows launch unshaven.
Definitely a must play course in Christchurch, although of course I am biased. Thanks to the crew at the course for their hospitality. The rest of the day has been spent watching the NZ PGA championship at Clearwater ‚?? where a few guys pulled out all the stops to lose the tournament on the 18th¬†‚?? cringing to watch. Tomorrow is our official launch and I am amped.
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