Chris Heintz ... At The Buick Invitational


UCLA freshman Chris Heintz begins play this week in the Buick Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Chris qualified in October by shooting a one-under par 71 and earning one of two spots available for amateur competitors.

Friday, Feb. 13: Day 4

I started with a par on No.10. That was a good start.

On 11, I hit a four-iron to three feet and made the putt for birdie.

I made a great par save on No.12 from a green-side bunker.

Number 13 is a par 5 and I was in a bunker in two. My shot from the sand almost went in and I had a two-inch tap-in for birdie.

At 14 (par 4) I hit a great drive and stiffed an 8-iron to about six inches for another tap-in birdie. At this point I thought I was going to shoot 65. I had two tap-in birdies and a three-footer. I wasn't thinking about making the cut. I was thinking about actually playing in the tournament.

At 15, I hit a very Tiger-esque recovery shot. My drive went left and I had tree trouble in front of me on my second shot. I had to hit it 180 yards under some trees and hook it about 10 yards. The shot I hit went under a low tree branch, rose up over another branch and hooked around onto the green about 12 feet from the hole. I two-putted for par. I was feeling pretty good, like everything was going my way.

On the (par-3) 16th I smoked a three-iron into the wind to the middle of the green. I had a 20-footer for birdie that lipped out.

At 17 (par 4) I hit a great drive and then hit a six-iron 180 yards to the middle of the green about 25 feet from the cup. I misjudged the speed of the putt and left it about five feet short. I missed that putt and made a bogey.

On 18 I made a simple par. I felt really good having played the toughest part of the course in two-under par.

On the first hole I made a routine par.

On number two, I hit a good drive and put a wedge about eight feet, but missed the putt.

The third hole is a 200-yard downhill par 3 on a cliff. I hit a five-iron right on the flag that came up short and landed in the front bunker. The hole was just four paces from the bunker. I hit a reasonably good bunker shot, but missed the four-foot putt.

I made another bogey at the fourth hole. I hit my worst drive of the week - it went into the right fairway bunker and I had 230 yards to the hole. I hit a five-wood out and caught it solid but it went left of the green. I had a difficult chip and couldn't get it up and down.

On five, six and seven, I made routine pars.

The eighth is a par 3, 175 yards up a hill. I was between clubs: an easy 6 or a hard 7. I decided to go with the easy six and made the absolute worst swing. I hit it fat and short of the green. I wasn't able to get it up and down. My 10-footer lipped out.

On nine (par 5) I knew I was gone (missed the cut). I basically wanted to pick up and leave. I hit my drive way right. I tried to murder it. All I could do on my second shot was hit a seven-iron about 130 yards out of the rough. I was thinking that if I make this birdie putt, who knows, maybe by some freak way I could make the cut. But my putt never had a chance. I missed it low all the way.

I've got a lot to improve on. Patience and experience goes a long way.

I need to be more aggressive. When I was three-under I was content, instead of trying to make more birdies. I was a little lazy, a little sloppy. On those short birdie putts, I've really got to will them in there.

I need to improve my distance and learn to hit my irons better. No more 50-yard wedges like on the first hole yesterday. My putting always needs to improve. I can't be missing any short putts - two-footers for birdie.

It was a fun couple of days. There were tons of friends and family out there cheering me on and having a great time. They made the whole experience really special. It's something I'll always remember. I came away knowing that I can play at this level. There's no doubt that at the end of college, I can play on the PGA Tour.