The annual trip up the mountain to Crans Montana seems to come round quicker every year. The golf course is around a two hour journey from Geneva Airport, and we( two other jock caddies) either hire a car for the week, or take the scenic train journey. We decided to hire the car for the flexibility and freedom it provided. Unfortunately, roadworks hampered or journey for quite a bit of the way. We got sent a detour, and decided to be clever and use the sat nav. Not a good idea. We came to a halt halfway up a mountain in the middle of a vineyard....... Single track road, no barriers, and not an English speaker in sight. We had to reverse down the track, very slowly before getting back on to the beaten track, and following our nose instead. We got there after 3 hours, and we were all very relieved.
For the first time this year, Paul wasn't in the pro-am, so we hit some balls and had a wander round the course. There had been some bunkering changes to holes 1,2 &4,1 while the 9th green had been completely revamped. I liked our tee times. 9.20 and 2.20 meant we avoided the early morning cold snap, and Paul took advantage, being 4 under after 11 holes on Thursday. However, every hole on Crans Sur Sierre is a potential banana skin, and we made some bogeys coming in, resulting in a level par 70. Not to be put down, Paul came out the following afternoon and dug his heels in, birdeing 2 of the last four holes to be safely in for the weekend at 2 under. As we often do during this week, after our late round we head straight to our favourite pizzeria for dinner(Chippie always has spaghetti bolognaise) and of course the boss always pays. Lovely.
Saturday was going great guns, four under for the day playing the 15th, looking to go five under, but the course jumped up and kicked us up the backside, and a 69 was the result. This had dropped us down to the back end of the field, so Sunday was a bit of a do or die day. Paul hadn't had a great warm up on the range beforehand, but still gave it a go. We took a bit of a gamble on the fourth hole. Being out of position from the tee, the second shot was a chip out sideways, or attempt to hook a nine iron round the trees to the front of the green. Naturally, the latter was always going to be the option. However the ball didn't really hook , the ball bounded into a bush, and a triple bogey seven was the result. Unperturbed, Paul battled away. It was important to play four rounds, as he hadn't played much recently, and competitive golf was what we needed. Within 10 minutes of walking off the 18th, the bag was packed, and Chippie was hot footing it down the mountain in a taxi to the airport. I had a casual five minute stroll back to my apartment for the week, and watched the end of the golf, as one of the most popular caddies on tour(Mucker, as he is affectionately known) was on the bag of Graeme Storm, who was in a play off. Unfortunately he didn't win, but his second place percentage cheque was a very welcome one, and there was more than one drink bought that night.
We left at 11am the next morning to head back to the airport, using our nose rather than the sat nav. Piece of cake....... 1 hour 55 minutes!!! Sometimes the old fashioned ways are the best....
We had a quick flight from Geneva to Amsterdam on Monday afternoon. Traditionally, the 3.15 easy jet flight after the Omega European Masters is like a tour charter flight. It's full of caddies and players heading to holland for the next event. We arrived at our hotel around 6pm, and promptly dumped the suitcases, and headed of in search of some nice food. Tuesday was a casual affair. Paul wasn't arriving until Wednesday, as he had a foundation pro-am to attend on Monday and Tuesday, so I walked round the course, which was in excellent condition as always, and is one of the best we play all year. Not quite a links course, The Kennemer Golf Club is a fantastic test, and proves that a course doesn't have to be long to be a challenge.
We had an afternoon tee time for our opening round, which was delayed further by the unfortunate injury to Fabrizio Zanotti, who was hit on the head by a golf ball. Fortunately, he recovered, but the delay meant we didn't finish our opening round before dark. Paul had struggled early on, but birdies at the 14th and 15th brought us back to +1 by the time play was halted. When we returned in the morning, paul finished with a couple of pars, and we had an hour before we started our second round. The wind had picked up, and the course was firming up. However, an under par round would be required to make it through to the weekend , as level par was looking to be the cut. Chippie rose to the challenge superbly. After 14 holes, 3 birdies and 11 pars were marked up on a flawless score card, but the sting in the tail was still to come. Our 14th hole was the par four sixth, which is a blind driveable par 4. Trying to do the right thing, we chose to lay up, leave ourselves a wedge, and a chance for another birdie. Paul's five iron off the tee was slightly pulled, but I could see it bounce as it disappeared over the hill. When we got there, we couldn't find the ball. There were around 40 spectators, a referee, and a cameraman, who didn't see the ball come down, as they had been expecting Paul to go for the green. The result.... A triple bogey 7. This knocked the wind out of us, and three bogeys finished the round off, missing the cut by four shots in the end. You could've knocked both of us down with the one feather. Before I knew it, the bag was packed and I was back in my hotel, licking my wounds. I booked a flight home for the following morning and headed out for a few pints and to hear some more bad luck storiess(there's always somebody had a worse day than you)
Unfortunately it's been the way of things recently, with Paul playing quite nicely and not getting much reward. I'm sure things will turn around, as his attitude has been at its best all year. Onwards to Wales next week. Hopefully it stays dry....