Santa Rosa, Calif. – The fictional driving-range pro Roy McAvoy was famous in the Hollywood film “Tin Cup” for making a “miraculous” 12 on the finishing hole of the U.S. Open, holing out from the fairway with a 3-wood after taking several drops from a water hazard.
As actress Rene Russo uttered to Kevin Costner, who played McAvoy, “years from now nobody will remember who won, but they will always remember your 12.”
Michigan’s Joseph Juszczyk will leave Mayacama Golf Club with a similar feeling. Take away a bizarre 11 on the par-4 eighth hole during the first round of the Ninth USGA Men’s State Team Championship and the 23-year-old from Dearborn Heights might have claimed individual medalist honors.
It was all part of an interesting three days on the 6,726-yard Jack Nicklaus design for Juszczyk and his Michigan mates.
“I gave 13 shots away to par in three holes,” said Juszczyk, who closed with a 5-under-par 66 on Thursday, the second-best round of the championship.
After an opening-round 80, which included the 11 and a double-bogey 6 at the par-4 10th hole (his first of the day), Juszczyk played the other 52 holes in seven under par. His second-round 69 included a triple-bogey 7 at the par-4 12th hole.
That round also had an interesting twist. On the ninth tee, Juszczyk heard a pop from his driver. When he looked down the entire bottom of the head was cracked. Mayacama’s pro-shop staff found him a replacement, which he used for the final 27 holes before returning it after Thursday’s final round.
Also on Wednesday, Juszczyk’s teammate, Jeff Champine, received a two-stroke penalty for being late to the first tee.
Take away those strange incidents and Michigan might have joined Georgia and Kansas in the final pairings on Thursday. Instead, the team settled for an 11-over 437 total after carding 143 and 139 over the final 36 holes in the three-count-two format.
“Yeah thanks, I really didn’t think about it [today],” said Juszczyk.
The 11 on Tuesday began with a poor drive to the right. When Juszczyk got to the ball he thought he could easily get it back into play and take a bogey at worse. First he tried to extract the ball left-handed ala Dustin Johnson at this year’s U.S. Open. Three futile attempts later, he went to his more natural side and tried to get the ball out right-handed. He had taken seven strokes when he finally could send a ball at the green. And a three-putt later, he was writing 11 onto his card.
“It’s easy to second-guess it now,” said Juszczyk. “When I was over the ball, I truly thought I could get it out of there. I was 99 percent sure I could get the ball out.”
The Men’s State Team Championship likely was the Wayne State graduate’s last amateur competition. Juszczyk plans to turn pro later this fall. His plans are to qualify for next year’s Canadian Tour, play some Hooters Tour Winter Series and eGolf Tour events before hopefully making a run at the PGA Tour in 2011.
This past summer, Juszczyk was the runner-up to Michigan Men’s State Team teammate Eric Lilleboe, was the stroke-play medalist at the North and South Amateur and qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay, where he missed the match-play cut by one stroke.
And no, there weren’t any 11s carded at that championship.
“There wasn’t anything crazy there,” he said with a smile. “Just tough golf.”
David Shefter is a USGA communications staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.