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Day 6

This should be another thrilling day of golf. I have a 11:00 tee time at Carnostie. This is the course where Jean Vande Velde blew a 3-shot lead on the final hole of the British Open to loose.

Hell, I could do that. Of course the part about HAVING a 3-shot lead on the final hole of the British Open would be tougher.

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Scottish Weather

Happy Anniversary to my parents, Ralph and Shirley Graves. Today, they celebrate 46 years of marital bliss! Thanks to my sister Janet for reminding me.

I slept in this morning and enjoyed my first leisurely breakfast of the trip. My hostess Jean Pardoe, prepared a great, meaty breakfast of bacon (you and I would call it ham), sausage, fried eggs, fruit, coffee and juice. My 11:20 tee time at Carnoustie allowed me to gather my wits and take a nice, calm ride of abut 40 minutes to play at the scene of Jean Van DeValde's debacle at the 1999 British Open.

It's probably a cruel fact that poor Jean's name will be forever linked with that place. They're still selling posters in the gift shop of the painful grimace he wore when the reality that he had blown a 3-shot lead on the final hole struck him. My caddy, Dave says that it was purely his caddy's fault. He says that as soon as Jean reached for any club other than a 9-iron for his third shot, the caddy should have thrown him the 9-iron and putter - and run for the car!

I don't think I mentioned it yesterday, but I had hired Dave as my caddy through my B&B in St. Andrews. One of the very coolest things about this is that he drove me to Carnostie this morning. So he picked me up about 10:00 and off we went. I apologize for not having many pictures of the course, but I got a little involved in the game. I took the pic below after I shot par on the first, and never thought of the camera again until I started to put this page together.

It turns out that Carnoustie borders one one of the Scottish Royal Marines weapons ranges. I found this out by taking a wrong turn and being stopped and turned around by a Scottish MP. All day as we were playing, we heard gunfire and mortar explosions. Dave said "They're wrappin' eup a liteel geeft for Yousamma Been Lautin, Daan."

I'm glad Dave was driving, because after golf we went to the "Hall" in Carnoustie for a pint. I had a pint, while Dave drank scotch. He insisted that I try his favorite brand, "Glen Trabanc" (or something like that). My main goal was not to make "girlie" faces while I drank it. I think I succeed - at least no one laughed.

Carnoustie Golf Club.

It was another great weather day. Not much sun, only a few sprinkles of rain and holding steady at about 60 degrees. I drove well again, and Dave, with a day of watching me play under his belt, was even more valuable. He stopped even asking my opinion and just gave me the club to hit. Almost every tee shot is blind and most approach shots allow a view of the flag, but not even a hint of the green. He was good for at least 15 strokes today as well. You have to remember that these guys are not "your" caddy. Instead, you are "their" golfer. Take my advice, believe their reads on the greens and don't even check to see what club they hand you. If you do, they exchange flabbergasted looks with the other caddies, and sigh heavily.

The front nine was a mixed affair, I was mixing pars with double-bogies for a long while, ending up with my poorest nine yet, but still not too bad. This shot looks back down the first fairway from the left side of the first green.

I was playing the inward nine (that's what we Scots call the back nine) really well, with 3 pars and no double-bogeys, when I seeped up to the 17th tee. Dave handed me a 5-Iron. I gave him a look, and he said "that's the cluub, Daan." The 17th has a burn (creek) that winds through the fairway. You have to hit over it 4 times on the way to the green. Now, when you see the scorecard, and notice my triple bagel, you would naturally assume that I donated a few to the water. Not the case. Instead, I hit a perfect 5-iron to within feet of the spot that Dave had directed me to. I then proceeded to hit (more like chunk) 4 more dry shots to get to the green. Lying 5, 4 feet from the hole, I promptly 2 putted for a 7.

With my confidence soaring, we stepped up to the 18th tee. Dave handed me the driver and I plain ol' crushed a drive right down the middle. Stepping up to my second shot, I made some comment about where the unfortunate Frenchman had shanked his second shot on the same hole. Dave pointed out the ill-fated line and then showed me where I should hit - about 20 degrees to the left.

I waggled my club, imagining my upcoming par - and (no surprise to you) smacked it right into the same rough that was made famous on worldwide television in 1999. Ok, ok, no big deal - I'm lying two and I'm only 160 yds (into the wind) out. Par's gone, but bogey is a very reasonable goal. Dave handed me my 3-wood. I've learned not to question him, but it seemed like a lot of club to me. Well, it was. I hit it perfectly (to defend Dave, I hadn't hit that club well yesterday or today), and it landed right in the middle of the green - and rolled 100 feet off the back, onto the sidewalk in front of the hotel.

After a drop, and 3 more shots, I was in with my second triple in a row, and a great deal of sympathy for Mr. Van DeVelde.

Score Card

The Crawford Arts Center of the University of St. Andrews is right across the street from my B&B. I've been walking by a sign that advertises a play called "Shakespeare's Shorts" for 3 days now. I had nothing on tap for tonight, so I decided to buy a ticket and sit at the back (encase I wanted to bail). As it turned out, the play was a farce about the only event anyone is talking about in St. Andrews: Prince William

The story was about Hamlet (aka Prince William) being expelled from Denmark to Scotland, to rule the ignorant and eat haggis. It was very Monty Pythonesque, and hilarious at times. It included a slide show deception Hamlet's arrival in St. Andrews, complete with paparazzi and security. The best part was that it was less than an hour long, so I didn't embarrass my self by falling asleep.

Aslar Guest House This is supposed to be a very cool B&B right in the heart of downtown St. Andrews.

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