Wow!!! Those who know me will assure you that it is a rare occasion when I’m left speechless. Chip Nelson created one of those instants Wednesday when I was handed his group’s scorecard. Chip had just obliterated the existing course record for the Ambiente course by shooting a 60 from the Verde tees.
It was a warm day. Winds occasionally gusted to ten knots. The course was in good shape. The stage was set for an 11:10 a.m. tee off in a group with Dr. Jack Summers and Captain Lee Mitchell. The opening hole on the Ambiente course sets the tone. It’s a challenging dogleg with both fairway and green guarded with cavernous sand traps. Chip carded a birdie three.
Chip birdied the second hole and stood on the tee box of the 504 yard par 5 third hole. He was already two under par. He carded an eagle on the third to go four under after three. After another birdie on the fourth hole, Chip just missed the green with his drive on the par 4 fifth. That didn’t appear to hurt him because he chipped it in for another eagle. After five holes, Chip was seven under par!
He settled down a bit and parred the next two holes. On the 210 yard par 3 eighth hole, Chip found the pin tucked in behind the massive trap known for eating golfers and their balls. After a masterful tee shot, he drained the putt for another birdie. He was eight under par after eight holes of golf.
With a par on #9, he recorded an almost unbelievable 28 on the front side.
It’s hard to imagine someone being a bit disappointed to shoot a 32 on the very challenging back nine of Ambiente, but that’s the score Chip had to live with … a mere four under par 32. All golfers come to the scorer’s table with the thought of “If only that one putt would have fallen …” In Chip’s case, he narrowly missed a putt on #18 that would have left him with a 59. Poor guy – he’ll do his best to own up to his record setting and personal best 60. We saw Camelback history made yesterday. A rousing cheer for Chip Nelson for an absolutely spectacular round of golf.