Davey, myself, Arvin and Jakey met up in Willits on Friday, a beautiful early afternoon of sun and strong wind. When we started out, I thought we had agreed to throw all the bag tags in the middle, but I discovered at the end that only Davey thought he was playing for his tag. So Dave and I went mano-a-mano, and it was a match for the ages! I didn't follow AJ and Jake's scores too well, but I can recount the duel of D vs J (for those of you not interested in boring hole-by-hole descriptions, please skip ahead):
We both birdied one and parred two and three. Warming up. On four, my drive looked good, and Dave's back must be all better, bc he drove it farther up that hill than I've ever seen him do. It might have been an ace run, but hit the right target tree, and rolled down the hill. My drive ended up pretty parked, so I birdied, he parred. He birdied 5, I parred. We both birdied 6, the pond hole (mine was about three feet away...!), and parred the uphill 7. I birdied 8 and parred 9, while Davey parred 8 and bogied 9 (first shot into the bush on the right), leaving me with a 2-shot lead after 9 at 4 under to 2 under.
The back nine was crazy. We both birdied a left-pin 10, me with an anhyzer, Davey with a flick. On 11, back left pin, I had what looked to be a perfect throw, while Dave hit the forward tree on the right, well short. Then one of the turning points of the match. Davey had a downhill putt of about 60 feet, and damn if he didn't sink it! My great throw must have rolled out, and I parred. One shot lead. We both par 12, and I miss a makable birdie putt on 13, we both par. And then came hole 14. Sharply sidehill hole through trees, with the big right-to-left wind. Davey takes out his Banshee, and I think "Mistake. That thing will skip, and with the wind and the dirt landing up there, it will be way down the hill in the blink of an eye." He throws it, and immediately says "Oh no." I watch it coming right to left quickly and think "Yup, just as I thought", and then it disappears from view, going toward the basket very fast, and then we hear: CHAINS!! AJ and Jake were both spotting, and immediately start jumping up and down! ACE FOR DAVEY ON 14!!! And as I'm jumping on him and pushing him around, I am also thinking, "No way. No F-ing way. I've got to convert to Judaism. It's got to be the religion. The guy has karma like no other." I've chained out of ace-runs going half the speed that throw had. And if it doesn't hit the basket, he's lucky to find it again (think of the color of that disc), much less make par. Instead, he takes a one-shot lead. I par.
We both par a very windy 15. On 16, Davey throws a standard power Destroyer shot right at it, and leaves himself a 15-footer for bird. Damnit. I take my beat-up Starfire and play a shot I've come to like on windy days on this hole--throw it well left of the basket with a pretty strong anhyzer, and let the wind work for you. The pepto-colored disc rides the wind like it was a trained stallion, comes right in at the basket, the stability puts on the brakes, and the thing BARELY misses the ace! It ends up two feet beyond the hole, on the opposite side! I'm telling you, I think Judaism would have dropped that disc right in. We both birdie the hole. Hole 17, Davey hits the big tree trunk on the right, I hit a high branch even shorter than that. My upshot isn't great, leaving me an uphill twenty-five footer for par. Davey's upshot is better, leaving him about 15 feet beyond the hole. I sink the putt! Davey, visibly rattled (ok, maybe only in my mind), misses the par putt, leaving us all square going to 18! I take out my Comet, and send it out. The wind doesn't give it quite enough help, but it leaves me a chance for birdie, settling at the base of the final mound. Dave's driver shot was a bit outside of me. He parks the second shot to assure his par, forcing me to birdie to take his #2 tag. I line up the putt. Very tough. Twenty-five feet or so, straight uphill, with a strong tailwind. Very tough to get this high enough. I pick my target well above the basket, and let it fly. It takes a piece of the top of the basket, and flutters harmlessly to the ground. The bag tag challenge ends in a tie. And as we all know, tie goes to the runner (or current owner). We played a playoff hole to settle the group's money issue, and Davey had a crazy skip on a very windy hole 1 to park that as well. It was clear, Davey had sold his soul to the Devil, or to Yahweh.
The final tally? I think AJ came out ahead of Jakey a bit, and after a solid even par on the front, posted a 4 over on the windy back side. But since I wasn't clear enough about calling him out, he held on to his #3 tag. Jim shoots a bogie-free 6 under, without any lucky breaks or bounces. One of the most controlled rounds of my life. Davey also shoots a 6 under, with two bogies, a crazy 60-foot putt he was probably just trying to park, and an ace which could just as easily have been a double-bogie or resulted in the loss of his beloved Banshee for all time. Somehow he still clings desperately to that #2 tag.
And I'm not bitter. No really. Seriously.