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The First Tee

It was the crack of dawn. Barely stumbling out of bed, I grabbed my clothes in a rush, and with a granola bar hanging half out of my mouth, fumbled for my shoes. I hurried to the car, listening to the typical morning screams, indicating that I was late. Riding in the car, I thought about the day ahead of me, and felt the nerves run through my body. It was not a far ride, only about twenty minutes, but enough to make me question myself. As I pulled in, multiple signs reading Green Oaks Country Club A.J.G.A. Tournament separated me from the course.

 

The course was in great shape, nearly flawless greens and fairways, and the smell of fresh cut grass was in the air. With the early morning dew on the tee box, I approached the putting green to get a feel for the Bermuda grass. While putting, I finally felt the sensation that every PGA player feels. The odd mixture between adrenaline and fear.  These same emotions carried me to the tee box as my name was finally announced.


As I reached into my bag and took out a tee and a ball, I slowly found the best place to settle myself. It was 8:54 in the morning and the 406 yard par four loomed in front of me. Suddenly, the course grew silent; it was just me and the course itself. Squaring up to the ball, my nerves were then finally soothed and seconds later I could see why. 265 yards later, I was looking at hole one’s green after a perfect tee shot. With a fairly easy pin position, I felt confident using a pitching wedge, nearly a 140 yards to the pin. The ball was struck perfectly, and I felt confident walking to the pin before it even landed. From a distance, the shot looked tight, probably eight feet from my view.  As I approached the green, I was surprised to find my ball around six feet with a fairly easy break. I removed my glove and grabbed my putter, reading the green very carefully. Looking at the putt from all angles, I was very confident with my line adjusted to the hole. My putter went back, thinking about missing out on an easy birdie opportunity. As the ball just grabbed the edge of the hole and dropped in, a burst of relief ran through my body. A sudden roar from the bystanders surrounding me added to the moment .


Constant quality shots were hit, and even better putts were made throughout my round. Nearing the end of the back nine, competition spiked to an all time high for the day. My nearest contender in second place had just made a birdie putt from about twenty feet and tied me for first place.  It was hole 18, me and my fellow contender tied going into the final hole.


Both of us hit very well placed tee shots and we were both only about one hundred yards from the pin. He was up, and the pressure built on him. I could see his legs shaking, fearing a shank or hitting the shot fat. As he took the club back, I knew something was not right. Moments later, he was far left after pulling his shot. This was it. This was my opportunity to make something happen and close out the tournament. I pulled my 54 degree wedge out of my bag, a club I was very comfortable with. I squared up to the ball and drew the club back, and suddenly everything around me was zoned out and it was just me and the ball. After making contact, the ball went right, but started to draw back to the hole. It was a great shot, leaving me with only a few feet for a birdie putt to go ahead in the match. After hitting an exquisite third shot, my opponent had managed to get up and down to make a very respectable par. On the green, my putt was nearly five feet and straight, a fairly easy putt for any golfer. I marked my ball, analyzed the minor break and approached the ball. Looking down at the ball I said to myself, “ball you better go to your home.” I took a deep breath and took my stroke. The ball seemed to have traveled in slow motion, spectators tracking its every turn and roll. Finally, it hit the back of the cup and fell into the hole.

 

I had finally won.

 

Just hearing the sound of the ball hitting the bottom of the cup was enough to nearly put me in tears, but lifting the trophy high above my head made it one of the best moments of my life, knowing that my hard work had finally paid off.




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