Junior Johannes Veerman will take Aggie fans along with the team as they make their annual trek to Hawai'i for the John Burns Intercollegiate. This blog will be updated daily.
Today was rough. We went out seeking a strong finish to the tournament but came up well short. It's actually really disheartening; the extra practice, the work outs at 6 am, and the extra time that we spend on golf, it almost makes one think that it is all in vain. But the bottom line is that we will just have to work harder, get mentally tougher to where whatever the conditions are, we will play well.
Highlights: not too many today. Drew Evans played solid today carding a 69 sinking a 15 foot par putt on his last hole
Day 2, also known as moving day. We came out today to play catch up, and we sort of did climbing up 3 spots into 3rd. The day started out with rain coming sideways while we were on the range warming up before our round. Cameron and I huddled under my umbrella, shielding ourselves from the down pour. After the cell passed, Cam said 'Man, i hope it doesn't rain again.' Greg Yates looked up from 3 spots over and replied with "No way man! Bring on the rain!" And sure enough 10 mintues later when Ty Dunlap was teeing off, it stormed again. Thanks Greg. The day again proved to be challenging with the winds not relinquishing their constant howling combined with the sporadic rain showers that passed by. In the end we came out shooting 7 over, which originally moved us into 4th behind Cal, BYU and New Mexico. However after the round was over, we found out the the trees on the left of 12 was not a hazard even though there were red markings on it. Apparently the maintenance people marked off an area close to the trees with red construction sticks which led people to believe that it was hazard. Our medalist, Case Cochran, played a fantastic round today shooting a 71 but was disqualified because his playing partner said it was hazard when Case tugged his tee shot left. The same thing happened to New Mexico, effectively disqualifying one of their scores that counted with their drop score; vaulting us into 3rd. We are looking forward for tomorrow, we're going to go out and fight for every single shot, and see what that tally's up to at the end of the day. And who knows where we could end up!Highlights of the day: Cam and Case almost made a hole in one on 15 today both hitting it to a foot. Drew hit a ball in the water today and sunk a 25 foot putt for par to turn the back at 2 over, then made quick birdies on 1 and 3 to bring it back to even. Greg Yates finished strong with 2 birdies on his last 2 holes.
We were all excited today to finally start our tournament! All the days of anitcipation to compete have built up our excitement. A couple guys on the team looked at the forecast last night and said that the wind was supposed to blow about 5 to 10 mph when we teed off. That's a load of rubbish. When Cam and I walked out of the hotel at 6am the palm trees were bent over because the wind was howling at 20 - 30 mphs. Nothing like an extra bit of challenge to create separation between the good and great players. The day started of nicely. It was overcast for the first hour in our round, but then it started to rain, and then it started to pour. And then it began to come down on us sideways. The heavy rain persisted for about 15 minutes, and then it disappeared like it never happened. That's Hawaii for you right there. The team struggled on the front side shooting 5 over. But we battled through the backside and only gave up one shot, shooting a total of 6 over on the day. It's not the start that we wanted but because of a strong back 9, the hole that we dug is not too deep. A strong showing tomorrow could vault us a final group pairing for Friday, and then we will go from there. But let's just worry about tomorrow first, one shot at a time. After our round we relaxed at the beach and threw around the football with each other. The waves were huge, making body surfing possible which was a lot of fun until a particularly big one smashed Cam into the beach, but he's a big boy that walked away unscathed. A couple of highlights from the day was Cameron Peck, who played solid today at 2 under, birdied 16 today with a 7 iron from 230 out. With the firm green and severe winds, the distance the shots went varied greatly. In Cameron's case, down wind he hit a 7 iron 230 yards, but a couple of hole before he hit his 7 iron 140 yards. Drew Evans after taking his medicine on hole 16 chipped out from jail, and proceeded to almost hole out his wedge from 100 yards leaving himself a tap in par. And Ty Dunlap saw a turtle on 9, pretty cool.
Today was the start of business; first step the practice round. Hawaii has been really special so far, but it is important that we do not lose sight of why we actually came here; to win this golf tournament. Today was our practice round. The scores today did not count, but as the parable goes, chance favors the prepared mind. So we got out there today and developed a game plan in blistering winds of 30 mph, gusting up to perhaps 40. The course is fair. Most of the holes have wide fairways with only a couple holes that require precise tee shots, and the greens are absolutely perfect. The speed of the greens are reasonable, but they roll true. The rough is thick, but not very long and the bunkers are strategically placed out to where slightly mishit shots will find them. But overall the course is great and should prove to be challenging if the winds persists. After our practice round, we relaxed for a bit and then ate dinner at a really nice restaurant. Perhaps the highlight of the dinner was that a couple of us ordered meals of whole fish. I told them that in indonesia the eyeball of the fish is actually considered a delicacy, and to my utter amazement Case Cochran, Cameron Peck and Drew Evans all tried the eyeball of the fish. Their response: it's not bad, it is really chewy though. These guys are awesome!!
The duo of Aggie men's golf and Hawaii produced yet another spectacular day. We woke up early and drove to the other side of the island to embark on an adventure; swimming with the dolphins! This is one of the highlights on our schedule that is looked forward to for the whole year, and it definitely did not disappoint. Case Cochran and Cameron Peck, both returning to Hawaii for the fourth time were just as excited as the rest of us! Drew Evans and I had never gone before, and boy were we pumped. After casting off, we sailed out onto the ocean. After a couple of minutes we saw jumping fish, which peaked our excitement. And sure enough, right behind them were the dolphins. And right then and there, we just about lost it. We ran around the boat yelling at each other about the dolphins that were around us. Throwing each other our video camera to capture these sea creatures as fast as we could because they would leave as fast as they came. After about 30 minutes on the boat looking at dolphins, the captain anchored the boat, and gave us the thumbs up to jump into the ocean. We strapped on our snorkels and mashed our feet into our flippers as quick as we could, and then dove in. The dolphins were beautiful, graceful and strong in their movements as they propelled and played with each other in the water. It was an unforgettable experience. After we swam with the dolphins, we sailed North where we could snorkel and look at more fish. But at this point nothing could rival the dolphins, so we all spent our time diving off the boat into the ocean, synchronizing our dives with each other, jumping over the railing and doing somersaults off the deck. It was fantastic. Other creatures we saw on the boat ride were whales and sea turtles. On the way back to Turtle Bay, we ate outside on a field next to an incredible burger place, Kua Aina, because it was so crowded inside. We laid out our towels and had a quaint picnic amongst ourselves, it was very relaxing as we laughed and joked with each other. All of us slept on the way back to the hotel, and once we got back we had a couple of hours to do whatever we wanted. Most of us practiced golf while some studied and worked on assignments due for school until time was up. Afterwards we ate dinner at Ola's, a very nice restaurant by the beach.
Coach called us all at 6:30 in the morning, but needless to say all of us were awake way before then, partly because of the four-hour time difference but also because we have not woken up past 6 in the last 4 weeks. Today we were going to play golf at the military base across the island. Again we drove a route that consisted of waves crashing into cliffs, which made the one hour drive fly by. We met with Lt. Col. Ted Hastings and from there passed a security check and then played on the military base with 6 other A&M alumni that were stationed at the military base. The conditions were challenging, winds blowing at 40 mph, and greens that were made of glass with elephants buried in there everywhere. There was a stretch of holes that are said to rival pebble beach's scenery of the ocean, something hard for us to believe as we played there last fall, but holes 13 to 16 were played alongside the beach up on drop-off, and definitely competed with the breathtaking views of Pebble Beach. Needless to say all of us had a fantastic time playing a championship golf course with military personnel who proved to be great company. After our round, we went to Lt. Col. Chris Oliver's house, one of the alumni we played with, and had a couple snacks. Their oldest daughter will be attending A&M next year in the fall as a freshman! Whoop! All the Aggies we meet everywhere are always kind and generous to us, like we are all part of one big family, taking care of each other which is very neat and special for me to experience. Afterwards by a unanimous vote from the golf team, we went to the Air Force part of the base and saw the planes, but what we looked at most were the helicopters. They looked like they came out of movies, but to see it up close and personal made you really appreciate the ingenuity of the machine. From there we went to another Aggie's house, Mike Hickey, who invited us into his house on top of a cliff overlooking Waikiki for dinner. It was incredible. They have two sons, Cooper and Cash, Cooper is an athlete and plays shortstop on his baseball team and Cash is still really young, he preferred to play with his Legos but nonetheless has a bright future is sports as he comes from an athletic family. We had Korean Barbecue for dinner which made Cameron Peck slip into a coma for overeating; it was really delicious. It was quite a spectacular day we had, and are all excited tomorrow!
Today when we flew into Honolulu, I saw a submarine submerge into the Pacific as we passed over Pearl Harbor. We haven't even landed yet and we were already seeing sights that will be etched into our memories! Fantastic. After we collected our luggage and picked up our rental cars, we ate at the team's favorite burger joint where if you ordered avocado in your burger there would be half an avocado in there instead of the usual slice or two that I was accustomed to. After that followed refreshing snow cones, and then we continued our trek across the coast line to our lodging, Turtle Bay. The trek along the coast was beautiful, magnificent, marvelous, and stunning to say the least. Neither of these word choices truly justifies the sights of the beaches, waves and cliffs we drove by, I'm not trying to rub it in, but I guess you just have to be here to understand what I mean. When we arrived at our hotel, we had a small dinner in the lobby and then we promptly passed out in our beds.