Dynamic duo of Victoria golf look to stay strong (video)
March 16, 2013 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated March 15, 2013 at 10:16 p.m.
Doug Wilson was less than a hundred yards from the flag stick on the second hole of the white nine at Riverside Golf Course.
Yet, in that short distance, he was able to find a sprinkler head just before the green.
The defending Wild Games golf tournament co-champion, along with his partner and co-champion Claude Bridges, watched his ball kick to the right side of the green, leaving the duo with a makable putt.
It was a stroke of luck the ball didn't end up in a hazard or in the rough.
However, there wouldn't much more luck for the defending Wild Games champions.
Wilson's putt rolled to a stop inches short of the hole and Bridges, who was putting from the same spot, watched his putt roll around and then lip out of the hole.
"It kind of gave us a view of what the day was going to be like," Wilson said.
Bridges and Wilson finished the day with a 6-under, 66, four strokes behind leaders Mark Bazan and Mike Duff. The first round of the Wild Games is a two-man, best-ball format. Sunday's second round is a scramble with each golfer playing his own ball.
"Tomorrow is a very different kind of game," Bridges said.
"It makes it where you can be a few strokes behind and still have a chance to come back," Wilson said of the difference in formats. "With a scramble, the scores won't have much of a variance. We feel that we have a chance to make a run tomorrow."
Neither Bridges nor Wilson are new to being near at the top of a leaderboard. Four years ago, they won the same tournament, and two years ago Bridges won the Victoria's city championship tournament. The duo has been playing together for half a decade now and have won plenty of tournaments together.
"We just play really well together," Bridges said. "One of us hits a bad shot and the other will hit a good one."
What makes Bridges and Wilson good playing partners is the way they complement one another.
"I do something different on my drive and he's really good at putting," Wilson said. "We both our irons very similar. So, we're a good compliment to one another."
But, as Bridges said, the flag stick just wasn't there for them on Saturday.
The wind was never consistently blowing hard on the course, but it did pick up in intensity throughout the day. However, neither Wilson nor Bridges considered it much of a factor in the round. For them, it came down to making putts.
"It's been windy down here for about a month now," Wilson said. "It definitely makes it more challenging, but it was that way for everybody."
"Also, the greens were really firm today," Bridges added.
Bridges and Wilson didn't get off to a fast start, but began making birdies later in the round.
There are still 18 holes left to be played and a four stroke difference isn't hard to make up. However, the defending champions know they'll need a better performance Sunday if they want to keep the title.
"We didn't hit very close to the hole today, but only gave away four or five strokes with our putters," Wilson said. "The other group we played with (Bazan and Duff) seemed like they made everything. We're just happy to be four shots out with a chance after how bad we played today."