Feb. 12, 2004
Wednesday, Feb. 11: Day 3
I tried to finish my paper, but I just couldn't concentrate. I did a radio interview in the morning for about half an hour and it was tons of fun. It was cool becuse the questions were fun and entertaining. My friends called in because they heard me on the air. I did interviews with the Mighty 1090 and XTRA Sports 690.
I went to the course about noon and I was there all afternoon. I chipped, putted and hit balls. I met Gary McCord. I hit balls on the range next to Vijay [Singh]. I was on the putting green when Tony went over to Gary McCord, introduced himself and brought him over to meet me. McCord's a really nice guy and he's originally from Orange County.
I was on the range and Vijay came and took the spot next to me. After a while, Tony broke the ice and said, "Hey Vijay, I've got a freshman here from UCLA. Do you have any advice for him?" Vijay's only advice was to play hard. He was very cordial.
It was funny because Vijay sets up the most elaborate practice station. He's got a club in the ground, clubs marking his alignment, his caddie's hand is on his [Vijay's] hip, he's got the headcover under his arms. It's just hilarious.
Thursday, Feb. 12: First Round
I had a 10:18 a.m. tee time on the first tee of the North Course. I got to the course about 8:45, had breakfast in the lockerroom, then headed out to the range. The range was great because they put your placard out with your name on it once you choose a spot. I warmed up for about a half hour and then went to the putting green.
I was putting and heard a someone say, "I heard there was a Bruin playing in this tournament." I looked up and it was Corey Pavin. We talked for a few minutes and he wished me luck. He also said he would be on campus next week for the Cal game.
Finally, I headed down to the tee. I was surprised that I was a lot more nervous than I thought I would be. There was a ton of people watching, including a lot of my friends and family. I met my partners and they seemed to be nice guys.
On the first hole, a par 5, my second shot was sitting 50 yards from the green in the center of the fairway. I proceeded to kill whatever burrowing animal lay underneath my ball. I hit the ball about halfway to the hole. I was so embarassed. On my next shot, I kept thinking 'make a good swing' and I proceeded to hit the ball first ... and long. Luckily, I two-putted for a bogey.
I settled down and made par on No.2. On No. 3, a par 3, I hit the worst iron shot I've ever hit and it landed in a [greenside] bunker. I had a downhill lie to a tightly cut pin on a downslope. I hit a perfect bunker shot to a couple of inches and tapped in for par.
I came to No.5 still one-over par. I hit a decent drive. I had 140 yards to the pin. It was downhill into the wind. I wanted to hit nine-iron; Tony thought I should hit an eight. I hit my nine-iron well, but it came up short and that led to a bogey.
I made three pars after that before coming to No. 9, a par 5. I hit my drive way left. From the rough, I hit an awesome three-wood recovery just short of the green. I chipped up to two feet. Then I missed the putt for birdie. I played the front nine in two-over par.
I parred No.10. On No.11, I drove it right into rough that was shin-high. All I could do was hit an eight-iron out, even though I had 205 yards to the hole. I was on the green in three and two-putted for a bogey.
At that point I looked up at the standard-bearer, and I didn't like the black three next to my name. (Red numbers signify scores below par, black numbers indicate scores above par.)
Number 12 is a par 3. I hit a great five-iron to 12 feet. My putt horse-shoed around the cup and stayed out. Another par.
Number 13 is a long par 4. I hit a good drive, and I had 180 yards to the flag. I hit a six-iron to eight feet and made the putt. Finally, I birdie! My gallery went crazy.
I made pars at 14 and 15. On 15, I drove my tee shot into the shin-high rough and could only advance the ball with a nine-iron. I had 130 yards for my third shot and hit it on. Two putts and I made a par.
At No. 16, I made a 30-foot putt from the fringe for another birdie ... the gallery went nuts!
At the par 3 17th, I hit a six-iron to 12 feet. My putt lipped out. Groans.
On 18 (par 5), I hit my best drive of the day, and I had 200 yards to the hole. I hit a four-iron that landed an inch from the cup. Almost a double-eagle. It rolled 16 feet past the hole. My putt for eagle was downhill, right to left that I just missed to the left. I had a tap-in birdie.
Most of the good scores today were on the North Course. The best score on the [longer] South Course was Hal Sutton's 67.
Tomorrow my tee time is at 9:15 on the 10th tee of the South Course. The good thing is that I will be playing the most brutal stretch of holes early. More than likely, it won't be too windy.
My strategy is to play well and shoot something under par. I think the cut will be even or one-under par.