The plan for the remainder of the stay is to play golf in the morning and go to Universal Studios in the afternoon. Today's round will be played at Orange County National on the Crooked Cat course. Crooked Cat has hosted the PGA Tour Q-School finals for 2003, 2005, 2007 and will host it again this year. Also Orange County is the home of the Phil Ritson school of golf. Phil is recognized as one of the top 10 teaching pros in the nation and practices the "golf your way" philosophy. Along the wall there are photos of Phil's celebrity students. I am not taking any lessons from the school, although I could use some help especially with my putting, today. The reason I chose this course was that hole #12 is listed in the book "1001 golf holes you must play before you die".
Crooked Cat was designed by Dave Harman and Isao Aoki. It definitely has a distinctive Scottish links feel, which is good for me because there are less opportunities for me to lose balls. The only time I lost a ball was the blind drive on #11, where I pulled my tee shot left into the high grass. Supposedly, there are water hazards on this course, but most of the hazards are now just marsh areas vices lakes. As matter of fact, #13 called Land O'Lake was so dry I was able to play the ball out of the marsh when my shot to the green fell short. I do not know whether the lakes were intentional drained or this area is suffering from a drought.
On the front nine, I was hitting the ball decently off the tee and made 5/7 fairways. I was having my problems within 50 yards of the green where I mis-hit 6 pitches and failed to get the ball on the putting surface. Once on the putting surface, I was also uncharacteristically struggling; I needed 20 putts for the first nine holes. I still managed to play out in 51 including one par hole. Hole #7 "Tarten" was a 360 yard par 4. I drove the ball to the right of the fairway but followed up with a 5 iron, which made the green in regulation.
I struggled with consistency on the back nine and only managed to make 2/7 fairways. Again I had my problems putting...the greens in Florida roll faster than the greens in Virginia. Especially frustrating was the 3-putt on hole #14 "Pine Lake", 460 yard par 5. On this hole I drove the ball on the fairway and made the green in regulation but failed to make the par...I did not par any holes in the back. The must play hole, #12 "Sweep" is a 350 yard, par 4 with "water" guarding the entire right side. There was nothing spectacular with my play on this hole and I carded a double-bogey 6. I finished the back nine in 54 for a total of 105 for the day...Ho hum.