The Eagle at The Duel

by Buddy
(Los Gatos, CA)

It’s the last day of the Golf Channel’s Three-Day “Duel in The Desert” Amateur 2-Man Tournament in February of 2007 at The Primm Valley Resort on the California/Nevada State Line.

My partner and I are right in the thick of it as we’re paired with the 2-Man Team that leads us by one stroke for the lead in our flight and we just made the turn.

The format for the day is 2-Man Best Ball and we started the round 1 shot back and gained no ground after the 1st nine holes. The back nine though, had been where we played our best golf in the 1st two rounds so we had some good confidence making the turn.

So, my partner makes a birdie on 10 to beat their par and we pull all even as we head to the par 5 11th hole. There is a pretty good wind blowing and it’s coming almost right at us, with just a bit of a push to the left.

My partner and I both hit decent drives that find the fairway, as does one of our opponents, but his partner is in trouble off to the right. My partner’s ball is about 20 yards closer to the green, so he’s hitting last as I and our opponent both lay up short of the green and safe from the water that lines the left side of the fairway.

My partner only has about 225 yards into the green, but with the wind it’s probably playing closer to 250 and that water all down the left with the wind pushing the ball slightly that way is looking pretty ominous . . . plus his ball is sitting smack in the middle of a small, shallow sand-filled divot.

Well, I turn around to see my partner has his 3-wood in his hand and ask, “What the hell are you doing?” He says that since I laid up and I should make an easy par, why not take a shot at it? "Okay Dude – it’s on you!!"

He hits this thing and it’s lookin’ sweet - a high-rising soft fade that’s riding the left-pushing wind (he’s a lefty golfer) and tracking right at the pin. He thinks he nutted it and it’s gonna sail the green, when it drops softly on the putting surface just right of and just behind the pin! When we get there we’re tryin’ to figure out how it held on the slope on which it was sitting. It looked like it should have rolled down toward the pin, but the slope is pretty severe and it actually should have rolled right off the green.

My ball and our opponent’s are both now on the green and he’s got about an 8-foot putt for birdie. I two putt for a par and then my partner and I look at the slippery down-hill slider from every angle, trying to figure a way to keep it on the green once he gets it rolling.

When we’re done he steps up (and later tells me he shaved about 6 inches off the break we had decided upon) and strokes the 15 foot left-breaking putt toward the hole. When it drops for an eagle 3, we’re jumpin’ around like he just won the Masters.

Our opponent then three-jacks his 8-foot birdie attempt and just like that we’re up three with 7 holes to play.

We went on to make two more birdies and finish 5-under on the back nine and coasted to victory while our opponents dropped a few more shots and ended up placing third in our flight.

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