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Finland  Axel

14 Oct 2017 at 04:31

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17 Oct 2017 at 13:28

Congrats to Tony V. He joins the short list of players who have won both the USPMGA Masters and the Professional Putters Association National...

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POLL

Will any team that won a major international team competition this year repeat as champs in 2017?


- Yes - Sweden (Nations Cup)

- Yes - Germany (U23 Nations Cup)

- Yes - Other Team Tournaments

- Yes - All of them!

- No


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Total 11 votes, since 01 Jan 2017.

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United States of America Patrick Sheridan's blog« See all PatPenguin's blogs

Defending a Title – Part 1
17 Sep 2017 at 14:11 | Posted in: Competition | Views: 235 | Comments: 0
Defending a Title – Part 1
A Wet Whale on the Course

When tournament blogging I’ve been trying to do at least one post pre-tournament with some stuff to look forward to and then one post-tournament as a wrap up. However, with a crazy travel schedule leading up to the Maine State Dolphin Open, I didn’t have the chance so I’ll be doing a two-part blog after the event. Hopefully both parts will keep you entertained as you read it on your commute, while waiting in line or while using the toilet (I know that’s where most of you are reading this). I’m going to try to sneak another post in prior to our upcoming Matterhorn International Pro-Am.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this year’s Maine State Dolphin Open is the first time I will be rolling into a semi-major tournament as the defending champion. My goal this year was not necessarily to defend the title, although that would be nice, but to have a strong showing to prove that the prior year wasn’t just a fluke. The difficult thing is that I won’t be getting much practice before the tournament as the course is about 4.5 hours from my house. Luckily, I’ve played many tournaments there and not much changes over the years so most of the practice is just jumpstarting the memory banks.

The Dolphin course is an “old school” miniature golf course which normally plays around 34-38 for most of the rounds but can plays as low as the low 30s and as high as the 40s if an obstacle bites you. The holes are a good mix of straight playing angles (the first 7 holes are this way), a few obstacles (including a spinning ship’s wheel, a loop, and bobbin’ buoys – the hardest hole on the course) and a two holes that are shaped like a dolphin and whale where they are angle shots but the blue carpet runs much quicker than the standard green on the rest of the course. All of the holes are ace-able (as you can see on my video, although I couldn’t get 15 on tape) and if you miss one a couple you could be on your way to a four if you have an unfavorable bounce away from the obstacle.

To get back in the putting groove after a couple week hiatus, I started the Saturday before Maine with a quick trip to one of my local courses with my two year-old son. Now I didn’t end up playing with my putter, my ball or my shoes (thanks Paula Gay for that tip!) and I spent most of the time watching Malcolm have a grand old time, but I did hit a few putts to get the kinks out even if they were on a course that bore little resemblance to the one I’d be playing. I thought that would be the end of my pre-Maine practice but on that Monday (Labor Day in the US), Malcolm was so interested in playing “golf” that I rolled out some of the fake turf and practice putting green I had at home on the deck. (Side note: for the entire week before our trip all we heard from Malcolm was “Maine” and “golf” – I think I’ve taught him well). Again while this set up had almost nothing to do with the Dolphin course, the repetition was good and helped me work on doing some consistent putting as well as spending time with my son.

Up next was the difficult part of the week. I had to go to Dallas (about a 6 hour flight with a connection) for a meeting on Wednesday. My play was to fly out Tuesday then come back Thursday morning, jump in the car and head to Maine with the family. My wife, son and pug Bruschi normally accompany to me Maine as we turn it into a mini-vacation as well. My hope was to get to Maine late afternoon in time for dinner and a practice round or two at the course. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. After getting up at 4am to get to the airport in Dallas for a 6am flight, the flight ended up being delayed by almost 4 hours due to a fuel leak. This meant I had to reschedule my connection and thankfully I still managed to get home the same day – just about 4 hours later than I wanted. So after a quick stop by the house to grab the family, clothes and my gear we made the trip to Maine. I would say it was uneventful but it took us about an hour longer than anticipated so we finally arrived about 10pm in Maine, meaning I would not be getting in any practice that day and I was exhausted from all of the travel.

That left just Friday to plow through practice rounds. My family accompanied me to the course after breakfast at the hotel. We found out that there was a firefighters’ convention in town as well which meant our hotel was packed and the weekend would be filled with firetrucks much to my son’s delight, though it didn’t look like many of them decided to watch the intense competition at the minigolf course. We arrived at the course to find Farmington tournament winner John O’Leary already there and getting ready to get in some rounds. I went out on the course with Mal and Liz and immediately shot a 33 – which was better than any round I shot when winning the tournament last year. I was pretty excited to see I was in decent form. I’d finish the morning practice with a 37 and 38, both decent scores.

I went back to the hotel for a quick lunch of peanut butter and fluff, and then headed back to the course in the afternoon by myself for some serious practice rounds. It was a combination of playing rounds through by myself and playing rounds with John, Lee Stoddard (the course owner) and Mark “The Highlighter” Novicki when he arrived on scene. My first round out in the afternoon was a blistering 31 – better than anything I’ve ever shot on that course. The rest of my rounds were all pretty much in the mid-30s with just one 40 poking its head in there. By the time dinner came around I had put in 10 rounds of practice. I didn’t really do any additional putting save for a couple of tee shots I wanted to practice.

Dinner was down in Boothbay Harbor, a nice Maine seaside town that is generally a bit quieter after Labor Day in the US. We ate with Highlighter on the water and I had a very nice lobster roll and a couple of pints. The family returned with me to the course only to find that it started to rain. With no thunder around that didn’t keep us from playing so we zipped up some jackets and headed out to the course. I had a couple of decent mid-30s rounds on the wet carpet before entering into a $5 round with Evan Goodkowsky, another “regular” of this tournament and local to the course, John and Highlighter. I played ok but ultimately gave my money to John, which seemed to have been a theme for the past month. That round marked the 13th and final practice round of the day. It was then time for some ice cream and a decent night’s sleep back at the hotel. It wasn’t my plan for how the practice time would go but I was happy with the results overall and felt comfortable heading into the tournament. I had made plenty of aces and didn’t blow up too much one some of the difficult holes so it all seemed good.

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