Final round this morning and then we make the trek back to Hangzhou. We will have an hour and a half bus ride to Shenzen to leave from a different airport. Huizhou and Shenzen border Hong Kong. All three together would make another enormous city. They rival Shanghai when combined. Currently Shanghai ranks third worldwide behind Tokyo and Delhi.
Glad we got the entire crew up and flying early today. Have to get them fed and checked out of the hotel before heading to the course. There's a early morning dew on the ground and Deep Purple has invaded the course. Smoke on the fairway?
Not sure who I will play with today, but excited to give it a go again. The course is very narrow with lots of trees and water. Slicers will lose a lot of balls here. Glad my miss goes left. The course slope from the blues is 137. It ain't an easy track. Don't care which tees my playing partners choose. I'm playing from the white tees. Slope is only 122 there.
Tourney over. Leo played well again and missed first place on the boys side by one stroke. Athena struggled again with the driver. She's disappointed, but knows she will get it straightened out. However, she did win long drive. This was a new experience for the two of them. Kids on campus know about their talent, but this gives them a chance to shine a bit as the administration will make a big deal of them in front of the entire school.
Athena and Leo have the same coach. You could see they both had the same warmup routine and each has been trained on how to prepare on a tournament day. It might sound weird, but the competition level for the girls here in China is very different for boys compared to girls. Athena is ranked 30th in the entire country here, but Leo is unranked. The girls scores were in general were lower than the boys. She tells me there are many more girls in China that play compared to boys. It's similar to Korea that pumps out tons of LPGA professionals. She sees a wave of young Chinese girls hitting the professional scene soon. There are many in the 10 to 12 age range that are already playing with professionals. A few of them missed this tournament because they are playing in a larger tournament. She considered the other tournament, but opted for this one because she thought it would be more fun. She knew several of the girls at this tournament that are ranked as well. Her current goal is a division 1 scholarship somewhere in the southern US, and perhaps professionally one day. Leo would like the same, but I think he knows it will be a tougher road for him. They both practice between 10 to 20 hours each week including all day each Saturday.
I played a solid round today. Much much better with my irons and I continued to stripe my driver. Two of the guys that started on the blue tees switched to the whites after staring down a 439 yard par four. They moved the tees back today because of the tournament. I shot an 84 with no birdies, but had many chances.
The greens were pretty bad. The grass in the greens at Palm Island has some form of disease. It's nearly all dead with patches that are still hanging on. Perhaps the worst greens I've ever played on. Fairways were in great shape and overall the course was beautiful. Odd thing about the courses here in Asia, no shirts for sale with the course logo. No ball markers in the pro shop with a logo. That one makes sense because no Chinese player would ever mark their own ball. Their caddie does it and lines up your putt for you. Do that yourself and your not allowing them to do their job. I've enjoyed working with my caddies on lining up putts.
The club house was huge and ornante, but there's never any sort of snack bar. No protein bars. No hot dogs or sandwiches. No energy drinks or even bottles of water. However, there's always tons of free bottles of water. Wish I had taken a picture of the inside, especially the hole in one plaques that were carved into wood. Very cool display.
Here's my group from today. We had a lot of fun. I've been working on being the guy to give high fives and fist bumps when others hit good shots. It sets a tone that in the group that I like more and I believe it helps me play better. It's the "let your attitude determine your game, not your game determine your attitude" mentality. I'm a believer. Also, it's fun to interact with the caddies. I don't think they're used to having players be open and friendly with them. It's not the Chinese way. Screw that. I made it my goal today to get my caddie (Hwang) to laugh. Mission accomplished many times.
I've talked to Filipe (our athletic director) about trying to host a golf tournament for the international schools in Hangzhou. It would be small, but the kids that played this weekend are all on board.
Looking forward to a relaxing weekend with Ivy. Will be nice to chill with an adult for a couple of days.