Will Shoots Personal Best: 68

I ended up caddying for Will on Saturday in the first round of the qualifier for Club Championship. He shot an outstanding 35-33 for his own personal best at Hackensack, 68.

He was hitting the ball so well, it was just a privilege to be able to watch it. But to actually play a part in it was an honor. Will and I were really working together throughout, with me providing valuable insight into exact distances to the flag. Will trusted my every judgment, and the swings he was making out there were perfect – he had approaches land between 8 inches and 6 feet about eight or nine times.

He had a 25-footer for eagle on one. Chipped to four feet on two. Blasted out of the sand to 10 feet on three (his first of only two bogeys). Knocked it to 6 feet on four, 5 feet on five, 6 feet on seven, 8 inches on 12, 5 feet on 13 (a rare miss), four feet on 16, 8 feet on 17 (another miss, sadly). He rolled it in from 20 feet for birdie on 15. It was just an all-around fabulous display of professional-level golf. His was the low round of the day by four strokes.

I wasn’t going to carry for him originally. I planned on letting him qualify on his own, leaving me free to make some money on Saturday and then head down the shore that night. Besides, I knew he could qualify no problem and that where he really needed me was in the matches the next two weekends. But I had no ride up to the club to make the early loops – so I took the train and got there in the middle of qualifiying rounds. What was I going to do? Pick up the bag of some random joe against Will just so I could make a lousy 60 or 80 bucks? No way.

But the shore plans remained in effect, which meant I would not be on the bag Sunday. This lead to a little experiment. What would the difference be between Will having me by his side and playing alone off the cart? Although it’s not exactly scientific, with only one round of testing, the result turns out to be: 13 strokes.

Yeah. Boy went out on Sunday morning leading the field by four and ended up with an 81 – a match of cards put him as the fourth seed. No big deal; he’s in the tournament. But the word around the club now is that I am like a natural force of Looper and that, without me on the bag, the Golden Boy Will turns magically into the duffer Bill. As Denis put it, “Thank God you’re going to be out here for him next weekend.”

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