The Slyder Experience
by Bryon Reid
Antlelope North 17Dustin has a very athletic swing and the only thing that had kept me in the match was my putting; I evened up the match on the 15th and we went to the 17th all square. I hit a nice drive down the middle and Dustin pulled his off the tee through the tree guarding the left side of the fairway. His ball rested in some pretty tall rough for his second. His second shot went far right behind the trees in the rough about 150 yards from the green. Mike and I decided the best strategy was to lay up on my second and I ended up about 60 yards short in the right side of the fairway. Dustin's third shot left him some real work to get up and down for par and all I needed was something to the middle of the green. That easy shot ended up short of the left front of the green about a foot short of the sand with a thin, downhill lie, one of the worst shots I hit that day. I was lucky enough to hit a pretty good chip to about 5 feet behind the pin facing a slightly moving uphill put for par. Dustin was in with a bogie, and I was able to put the ball in the left side of the cup for par and take the hole. It is hard to describe the relief I felt making that putt.
Antlelope North 18I knew going into the 18th one up that, at worst, we would halve the match. So on the 18th tee, with Action Jackson, John Perdue, Doug Mercer, and Dale Janisse all watching, I promptly duck-hooked my drive short and to the left in the rough at the top of the downslope of the fairway. Dustin hit a beautiful 3 iron? off the tee right down the middle leaving him about 175 to the pin. I had about 240 to the pin and I played a well struck 3 wood just short of the green on the left hand side. Dustin's second ended up in roughly the same condition as my ball only on the right hand side. Dustin was away and his chip left him with a good 20 footer for par so I wasn't very fancy with my chip; just get it on and two putt. The two putt allowed me to take the match 1 up. What a feeling! I wanted to play in the Slyder Cup this year to capture some of that competitive drive that is missing from my life. Be careful of what you wish for! The pressure was incredible, not only in this match but in all of them. What a fabulous time I had.
Playoff TimeIt was very rewarding to stand around as a team and live and die by the result of each team coming in on the 18th. It was a roller coaster of emotions until the news came that we were officially tied. Not having participated before, I was totally clueless as the Captains negotiated a format for sudden death. All I knew as I watched the first hole was that I was sure glad it wasn't me out there. The first was a great hole to watch; some really great shots under a lot of pressure, and as the hole finished in a push, I thought they would continue on to the next hole!
Me?It didn't dawn on me that new participants would be called, and once I figured that out, I knew I was safe because Captain Harper had seen me absolutely blow up playing Ocotillo. When he asked if I was ready, I thought he was joking; I had already packed my bag for the car. But who could turn Ryan down? I thought Mike K would carry the hole anyway. With Alfredo in trouble and Glen a little short off the tee, I tried to calm the nerves and not embarrass myself. I actually hit my drive pretty well and saw it going long towards the bunker, but didn't think it would make the trouble. Mike hit a great drive which gave me a lot of confidence for the team. I found the ball about six inches in the rough; it had rolled through the bunker and left me with a bad lie and a worse stance. I was standing twelve inches below the ball in the bunker. I took a four iron and hoped for the best, but was only able to advance the ball the to about 175 out. Alfredo was in trouble and Action Jackson hit a beautiful three metal that looked to be pin high. Mike hit his long draw and ended up in the front bunker. All I knew was that I had to put it on the green to push Glen; I had seen how good he was with his short game. Mike and I discussed the shot and for the first time that day, I was able to do what he advised me to do. I hit a six iron with a smooth swing and watched the ball end up under the pin. The cheers were awesome (better than the laughter following my second shot). Up at the hole, after Mike's third, Glen hit a great chip that ended up just three feet under the hole; I knew he would make that putt. My putt was about ten feet with a good three foot break and a lot of speed as it closed in on the hole. Mike and I agreed on the line and I knew I couldn't run it far past the hole. So as I lined up the putt, with my legs shaking, the thought came to me that I needed to make this putt to prove to Dustin that all the putts I had made earlier had not been flukes. I pulled the trigger and it died in the right side of the cup! I think I was as surprised as everyone else, but it was a perfect ending to a great experience, one I'll cherish for a long time.
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