Justin Goodhue writes about the Hawaii Classic Golf Tournament
Nov. 13, 2002
Friday, November 1: At 8 am we met in the parking lot of Birdwood Golf Course to start our long journey to Hawaii. We drove to Dulles airport and then flew to Honolulu via San Francisco. After a full day of travel, we arrived to the warm climate of Hawaii anxiously shedding sweaters and jackets with just a short drive to our final destination, Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku, Hawaii. We looked forward to a great few days of competition in beautiful Hawaii, but more importantly we wanted to defend our team title from last year. We knew our job was not going to be easy with great teams there such as UNLV, Tennessee and many others, but we couldn’t wait to play great golf and finish the fall season off well.
Saturday, November 2: Since we didn’t arrive until late last night, we were able to sleep in until 9 o’clock (definitely a rarity). We ate breakfast and set out to the golf course where we practiced for a couple of hours before we teed-off to play our practice round. Since some of us played in the tournament last year and had seen the course, Coach divided us up so that the veterans could help out the younger guys in local course knowledge. We played in two threesomes including the standard five-man squad and Coach. To add a little incentive to the round, we decided to play a match between groups. The losers had to carry the bags of the winners back to the hotel and then clean their clubs. The practice round went very well with everyone learning a lot about the course and planning their strategy for how they would attack each individual hole in the tournament. As far as our little match went, Coach’s team lost, which provided some great comedy as everyone got to see our seasoned coach carrying two golf bags on his shoulders all the way back to the hotel.
Sunday, November 3: Today, we had our second practice round, which was much more serious as we put the final touches on our games and finalized our golf course strategies. We all played in one group and shared our opinions on different shots and ways to play each hole. Concluding the round, we each practiced the different parts of our games that we felt was necessary. Personally, I spent my time at the putting green and hitting bunker shots and pitch shots. Others perfected their swings at the driving range or had putting contests to get used to the speed and roll of the greens. At 7:30, we all met for a tournament banquet in the hotel. All 19 teams in the tournament were there and we had a great meal before being officially welcomed to the tournament and introduced team-by-team by the tournament director. The banquet did not last long and we immediately set off to have a team meeting where we discussed our golf course strategy and goals for the first day of competition. This was the time to voice any concerns we had about certain holes and to plan the best, smart way to tackle the tricky holes. Everyone seemed to be feeling very good about their games and we got to bed early to get a good night’s rest for tomorrow.
Monday, November 4: Today was our first day of the tournament, which included 36 holes (Round 1 and Round 2). We were up at 5:30 am giving us enough time to get ready and warm up for our 7:30 start. Our pairing was with UNLV, Hawaii-Hilo, and International Pacific College (a golf academy in Australia). This meant that each man on our team was paired with a player on each of the other teams in which we were paired. Our first round did not go well, we shot 299(+11) and were somewhere in the middle of the pack of 19 teams. Since there is no break between rounds, we had no time for a team meeting or time to cool off, so we just kept grinding along and ended up playing a good second round. We shot 288(Even) and moved up to fourth place, which we were happy about. After 9 hours of continuous play on the golf course we still had a little work to do on the practice range to help fine-tune our games for an even better third round. We each practiced different parts of our games before the sun went down and then called it a day.
Tuesday, November 5: Today was the final round of the tournament and just like yesterday we were up at 5:30 ready to tee-off at 7:30. We were paired with UNLV, Tennessee, and South Carolina, which was good because they were the leading teams in respective order. We were 18 shots behind UNLV and 10 shots behind South Carolina, but we didn’t worry about that as we just wanted to play as well as we could and like always, try to get as many rounds under par as possible. As it turned out, we had a good round of 288(Even), but it was not good enough to pass any teams and in fact Washington State slipped ahead of us after an outstanding, low team round of the day (285). It was disappointing that we lost ground after playing well today, but we were still pleased overall with our play. We were happy with our good play in the second and third rounds where we shot even par in each, and were also happy to see everyone on the team contributing with good golf. Once we finished eating lunch after the round, we were able to have a couple of free hours to spend on the beach before we embarked on our trip home on a red-eye flight at 10 PM Hawaii time (3 AM EDT).
Wednesday, November 6: After a long night spent on the plane, we arrived at Dulles International Airport around 3 PM and then drove back to Charlottesville. We now look forward to some time off from playing and competing until early February. Although the trip was long to and from Hawaii, we all had a blast and look forward to building on our fall season starting February 10 at the Rice Intercollegiate in Houston, Texas!