Thursday, July 25, 2013

Live from Martis Camp: US Junior Amateur - Round of 16

This was definitely an interesting day at the US Junior Amateur.  We had not one, but two suspensions for lightening in the area.  The first suspension was simple for my group – we hadn’t teed off yet!  
Players Were Permitted to Practice Prior to the First Resumption of Play, the Putting Green of the Hole Last Played for that Group
           The second suspension was relatively easy to figure out as it happened while the group was between holes.  We went to our evacuation point, shelter 1, which was a bus between the 7th green and 8th tee.  We sat and waited for the updates to come through.  It was actually kind of fun.  During the suspension, in keeping with the theme of observers seeing more of the match in front than their own, I had a nice conversation with the kids from the match in front, Sam Horsfield and Aaron Terrazas.
In "Shelter 1" Waiting for News on the Weather
            Seeing the USGA at work during the suspension was also a great experience.  The communication between the staff and the referees, role call prior to the restart and the countdown was all familiar territory for me.  Sometimes its nice to be able to see tournament administration in progress without being the person in charge.
Prior to the Second Resumption Players Could Not Practice.  Sam Horsfield (red shorts) did some Jumping Jacks to Loosen Up
            We also had to suspend play for darkness as our match was still all square through 14 holes.  We completed the hole so it was not necessary for the players to mark their golf balls. Play resumes at 7:00 AM on the 15th tee.
            On the 13th hole, the first playing rules situation occurred when Samiere (my match was between PJ Samiere and Nick Heinen) hit his tee shot into an ESA water hazard.  It was interesting because there was also a lateral water hazard ESA right nearby.  Why does that matter?  Well, there was a drop zone available for a ball in the regular water hazard ESA, but not available if the ball was in the lateral water hazard ESA.  As the observer I informed my referee (Ted Antonopolous, head professional at Mayacama) that the ball was in the ESA and that the drop zone was available.  He confirmed with me that the ball was in the water hazard and not the lateral water hazard.  The question also arose about the player retrieving the ball.  I was standing next to David Staebler whose response on the radio was actually talked over: “There’s no penalty under the Rules of Golf, but you might be breaking the law!”  Although local Rules for ESA’s constantly include a clause that prohibits entering an ESA, there is only a penalty under the Rules of Golf if a player plays the ball from within an ESA or while having interference from an ESA. 
            On the final hole played, we also had some interesting what ifs.  Samiere’s tee shot had plugged in the face of the bunker.  What if they decided to discontinue play at that time, which was their option?  He would have to mark the position of the ball, or leave it in place and if the ball or lie was disturbed during course prep in the morning or overnight, the lie would have to be re-created. That would’ve been hard to do.  Then Staebler made a funny comment that Samiere should’ve aimed to hit his opponents bag.  In match play, if a player hits his opponent’s equipment he has the right to cancel the stroke and replay.  Had that occurred, Samiere would have dropped the ball in the bunker and it would not have come to rest within two club-lengths because of where it had to be dropped.  He would then place the ball after the re-drop also rolled too far and it wouldn’t have stayed in place.  He would then place the ball at the nearest spot in the bunker not nearer the hole where the ball would come to rest…likely a flat lie and a relatively easy bunker shot.  As it was Samiere hit a great shot and made an even better putt to save par from an almost impossible situation.  Boy these kids are good!


       The round of 16 is now complete.  Samiere won the first three holes of the morning to win 3 and 1.  It was actually quite impressive as the match play score reads - eagle, eagle, birdie.  I now get to rest through the quarterfinals and return to action as an observer in the second semi-final match led by The Voice, John Reis and the Committee Chairman Skip Gist.

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