We’ve all had a chance to shoot a personal best and fumbled the bag on the 18th hole, usually in the form of an in-the-pocket “double” as so not to inflate the handicap. So we’d like to think we can all relate to Ontario, California’s Dean Chavez, who had his own meltdown of sorts in a qualifier for the SCGA’s Mid-Amateur Championship on Tuesday.
But we can’t.
We can’t because this was such an epic bag-fumbling that no final hole 7 to shoot 81 could possibly compare to what happened to Chavez at Goose Creek, where 12 spots were up for grabs in a field of 78.
Through 15 holes, Chavez didn’t just have a qualifying spot locked up, he was on his way to earning medalist honours with relative ease. The man was picking Goose Creek apart, sitting at four under with just three to play. Had he simply played those final three holes in seven over—yes, SEVEN over—he would have qualified without issue. Had he played them in eight over, he still would have been among the top 12 and ties and it would have gone to a match of scorecards to determine who was in and who would be first and second alternates.
Chavez wound up playing those last three in 11 over, finishing 4-7-12(!!!) in one of the more gutting meltdowns you’ll ever see. Props to Ryan French, AKA Monday Q Info on Twitter, for finding this one:
Four under through 15, 11 over in the last three. You can’t make that up, folks. Incredibly, it was still good enough to break 80, and his 78 was only three back of the qualifying score. A snowman on the 18th and he’d be in. B-r-u-t-a-l brutal.
In fairness to Chavez, the 18th looks like a brute, and his 12 was far from the only high score there on Tuesday:
Another player who also shot 78, Robert Artino, made a 9 on the 18th. Scott Wilson and Matt Murray, who shot 77 and 76, respectively, made 7s. Special shoutout to Steve Mena, who made a birdie on this monstrous par 4 to shoot 75 and earn the 12th and final qualifying spot. As clutch as they come.
The silver lining for Chavez? There’s no shot tracker for SCGA Mid-Am qualifiers, so no one will know just how he made that 12 unless he or one of his playing partners tell others. And there’s the other silver lining – Chavez has a story to tell for life, if he so chooses.