Thursday, January 28

My 18th Hole at Torrey Pines in the Moonlight

The Farmers Insurance Open starts today. The following piece is from the archives.

AT RIGHT AND BELOW IS TORREY PINES Golf Course on a sunny day. But the Torrey Pines golf story I'm going to tell you happened in the moonlight.

Torrey Pines and the La Jolla coastline.
All of us at one time or another have played golf until dark. I was out one day after work with two or three golf buddies on Torrey Pines South Course when we ran out of daylight. (It was 30 years ago when I lived in the San Diego area.) We were in the middle of the back nine, so we started walking in.

The sky was clear and there was a full moon. You could see your shadow in the moonlight.

When we got to the 18th -- the par five you might have seen on TV with the pond in front -- I decided to tee it up just for yucks. I made my swing, it felt good, and we continued to walk in.

I wasn't going to look too hard for the ball -- after all, it was dark -- but there it was right in the middle of the fairway.

I pulled my three wood, aimed a bit right to avoid the pond, and took my swing. Again, it felt good, but I had no idea where it went.

Admittedly, this was a difficult shot to execute in the daylight with the pond in full view. I normally bailed out right. In this particular situation, I had no such concerns. I just kept my head down and made a smooth swing. We kept walking.

I walked on the line that I hoped my ball had traveled, but I had no expectation of finding it. There it was! It was on the fringe in two, a first for me. Now I'm definitely playing out.

I could barely make out the flag, so I walked on to the middle of the green to gauge slope and distance. I returned to my bag and pulled my 8-iron. I aimed right, knowing the chip would swing left. It was a total guess in the dark, but I hit a solid chip.

Maybe you have already guessed what happened. Yes, I chipped in for a 3. I eagled number 18 on Torrey South in the moonlight!

Unbelievable, I know. And absolutely true.

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