Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back to the real world.

Today at Saucon Valley was picture perfect. Warm air, a nice breeze and the golf course. I set out mid-morning to do what my friends refer to as "stalking the golfer chick" and arrived in plenty of time for her 11:50am tee time. After yesterday's disastrous 8-over par round, today was merely a formality. She started the day at 6-over, 8 shots off the lead. It would take some sort of miracle for her to have a chance to win. As it was, she shot 2-under to finish in a tie for sixth, which was nice considering how bad Saturday was.
For my trouble, I received a pat on the back from her mom and a "you're a true fan" comment as I stood at the first fairway waiting for her opening tee shot. I said, "If I'm going to be here when she's 2-under, I have to be here when she's 6-over." True.
She played much better today, for what it was worth. The nice part of it was that the gallery following her was much smaller than the contingent when she played with Lorena Ochoa on Thursday and Friday. As for me, I left when her round was over. There wasn't anyone on the leaderboard I was particularly interested in, plus the 18th green isn't exactly the best vantage point for a final hole. The grandstands were packed, and there isn't much room in standing room. Third round leader Christie Kerr fell off the pace, and Eun-Hee Ji won by a stoke on a birdie putt on the 18th hole. She seems like a nice kid.
As for the tournament, it was great. A real first-class event. I'm always amazed when I wander around the course and think about the infrastructure and preparation involved in staging one of these things. At least 8 holes had constructed grandstands, every hole had a set of volunteers lining the tee, fairway and green. Every player had a set of people with them - a standard bearer, scorekeeper, caddies and a couple of other people whose purpose I didn't know. Each hole had a rules official. There were TV stands, the Metlife blimp, a ton of concession stands and about a thousand portable toilets. The one drawback: There was no place to wash your hands. They had that alcohol goop, but that just gums up my fingers after a while.
Best surprise: A nice food stand run by Mr. Bill's Poultry in Allentown. They had awesome chicken sausages with feta cheese, spinach and spices. If you're in the Allentown Farmer's Market, stop by and take some home.
So, the week of paradise is lost and it's back to work tomorrow. Now comes the summer and 4 Dave Matthews Band shows, the first one in two weeks.

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