All week, Shane Bacon will be at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., writing about his experience on the bag for the LPGA's Irene Cho. Stop by each day to read about the happenings from the day's round.
You all probably remember that commercial that aired some years ago with a couple of strapping young sons playing golf with their father, both hitting big drives as dad steps to the tee. As the narrator is speaking, dad cranks a drive towards the gauntlet set by his offspring, only to have it take a couple of bounces off a cart path and end up in the middle of the fairway, ahead of his two boys. Those are what you'd consider good breaks in the game of golf.
On Friday at the Safeway Classic, we got none of 'em. Zero. So few that I made a joke on our 16th hole, after LPGA professional and poor-picker of caddies, Irene Cho, boomed a 280-yard drive down the middle of the fairway, that it surprised me the ball didn't hit a mound in the fairway and kick it in the bunker left. It was that type of day.
It all started on our sixth hole of the day, the par-5 15th, when her drive missed the fairway by a mosquito's eyelash, and ended up in a hole that would make drilling companies cringe. As I was stupidly stepping off yardage to get a nice lay-up distance (the hole is an unreachable par-5 for the ladies), Irene already had her rescue club out, plunking it down the fairway. It was the type of lie that close to the fairway that would have U.S. Open participants scrambling for the nearest official to yell out. The next bad break only took two holes, when Irene hit a marvelous three-wood off the tee only to find it dead center of a divot that was deep enough to turn an ankle.
Both times it was a par that we carded with the pencil, but both times it seemed birdie was inevitable.
But, as we all know, such is golf. You have days when it seems every bounce you can get you do get, and then there are days when even good putts find a spike mark to tango with.
The back nine didn't get much better for our three-leaf clover day. Irene hit a solid hybrid on one of the par-3s only to have it take a bounce that would have knocked Tigger off his tail. Our closing stretch, that saw two birdies in the final three holes, even had a near-death experience when a second shot into one of the closing par-fives kicked left off a hill that it is absolutely impossible to get a left kick on. You'd have a better chance of hitting the Atlantic Ocean from the 7th tee at Pebble Beach.
The final score was 75, three-over par on a day that seemed about three-over.
Maybe on Saturday the bounces will decide they don't hate us after all.