A Star is born
This wonderful account comes to us from one of our fantastic students; Andrea Bodnar. Andrea recently played in the Pro-Am for the Canadian Skins game in which, John Daly, Retief Goosen, Stephen Ames, Geoff Ogilvy and Colin Montgomerie participated. Andrea has made huge strides with her game (she has worked with both Tim Peightal and Shirley Furlong), and it is with great pride that we post her account of her day with ‘Monty’. We have no doubt tha Andrea is on her way to becoming a very fine player.
Tuesday June 19, 2007, Telus Skins Game PRO-AM
It was hard to wake up at six that morning – after the 11 pm finish of the dinner-with-the-pros the night before!
I headed down to the bus, loaded the clubs, and my Telus account executive John & I headed out to Raven G&CC. When we arrived, I went straight to the driving range, where I got a good 30 minutes of practice in, before we took photos with the pros. I was teamed with three gentlemen, and Colin Montgomerie was our pro.
Darren Entwistle (Telus CEO) was caddying for me, and we all headed to our starting holes at 8 am. The round was 9 holes. The format was a… “shamble”? We played off the best drive, and then from there on, we each played our own ball. Lowest individual score went on the team card for each hole.
We started on the back nine, number 10. Colin asked the three guys to hit first. They were so nervous! One guy sliced out of sight – big hitter but no aim. The second duffed his drive, and the third hit a weak, low shot.
Then Colin hit – great drive down the middle. After a lot of banter about “women’s” tees vs. “forward” tees (one of the volunteers set Monty straight!), we walked up to the bronze tees and I did my usual pre-shot routine. Thank goodness for the “clear key”! It literally blocked out everything around me, and I might as well have been standing alone, by myself on the driving range. Nice, easy swing, and it sailed down the middle of the fairway, passing Monty’s ball!!!! He was surprised when he looked at the furthest ball, and it turned out to be my cheapo Topflight!
So we played my shot. I hit first, with my 4 hybrid. Nice easy swing, straight down the fairway – and it rolled up on the green! Wow, I reached the green in two, on a par five!! Eagle opportunity. Monty said “ well struck!” and as we walked down the fairway together, he asked me what my handicap was! He did not believe it when I said 22!!
I missed the eagle by a couple of feet, but we had our first birdie!
Next hole, #11, par 4. Again, I hit down the middle, and mine was the longest. This was the long drive hole, which I won! Monty was teasing me about the 22 handicap and I explained that in the fall, when I entered my last score for 2006, that’s where it landed. Lots of lessons between then and now, at Bird Golf School!
Duffed my 4 hybrid on the second shot, but got right back for shot number three, and hit it to the green, where it rolled off the fringe. Too bad, but we were ok as Monty birdied!
On to #12, a par three. I mis-hit, and landed in the fringe. But we either birdied or par’d that one.
#13, par 5 was not great for me. I turfed (or topped) my drive, and I think we ended up using Monty’s drive. My other shots were fine.
#14, par 4, I was back on track, and we birdied.
#15 was the most awesome hole of the day. A 180 yard par three, looking down, down, down, onto what seemed like a very small green. The view was breathtaking, with Georgian Bay as the backdrop. By this time, may of the spectators for the afternoon Skins game were crowding around us, both at the tee box, as well as around the green far below.
The three guys hit first, and none of them landed on the green. I complained to Monty that it was unfair that they got the great views, and I would have none from the forward tees. So he asked me “Do you want to hit from here?”. And I said sure! He humorously griped that I should be playing from back there anyways! There was a crowd around us, and they were laughing, enjoying the banter.
I took my trusty 4 hybrid, set up, and took a nice, easy swing. As the ball sailed out, Monty cried “Well struck!”, really excited! You can tell that this man is so passionate about golf, and appreciates a good hit! The ball struck the green near the front left, and rolled to 5-6 feet from the pin! The crowds went wild, clapping and cheering!
Then Steve Podborsky, who joined us on that hole, took a shot, and landed in the bunker – which cost him $1000!
When we reached the bottom, after a long walk down, the crowd around the green started clapping and cheering when I walked up! They were so pleased and excited! The ladies loved seeing a girl beat the guys! This was the first time that day that I was asked for my autograph! Blush! But not the last! I lined up the putt, and it almost went in, but lipped out! Everyone let out a collective sigh of disappointment! But Monty got us our birdie!!
#16, a par five, was tough. We had to make it over a steep bank, then the fairway dog-legged right. The three guys turfed it, and Monty had a beautiful fade, which put it in the perfect spot! My drive was great, as long as Monty’s, but just dribbled into the rough.
So we played Monty’s ball, and I sent a straight shot to within a wedge of the green. I think Monty made the green here for our birdie.
On #17, par three, Monty made the green, but I was closer to the pin. Still, it was a good 20-25 foot putt. Monty & I bantered about the putt. He asked me what I thought & I said it was right to left. He agreed and suggested aiming 2 inches to the right of the hole. I did, and my putt rolled in! Crowd went insane, cheering and clapping! Monty just put his hands on hips, smiled and said “Well that’s it then! 22 eh?”! The film crews were circling all around me! That was my hole!!
On 18, par 4, I faded right, and one of the guys was the one with a great drive, and a great second shot! We finished at 7 under – the WINNERS of the Pro-AM!! I had Monty sign my yardage book on hole #15!
Monty said to me that he would play with me in a pro-am any day!! He jokingly asked if I wanted to play with them in the afternoon! He was very complimentary on my game! Super fun guy!
Later that afternoon, I met up with him on number 16, when we went behind the ropes, and told him I was there to cheer him on! His comment – never mind that, it’s my putting he needs! And people were still asking for my autograph! Hmmmm… This could be addictive!
The best round of my life! The highlight of my short golf career to date!!!!