The Eagle Creek Golf Club pro wanted to improve on a disappointing 11-over par 81 on the Black Horse course from Sunday afternoon. He knocked four strokes off his score on Monday — and did it on the more difficult of the two courses, Bayonet.
“I found the greens on the Bayonet course less severe,” Morgan said. “By comparison, I would put four Eagle Creek practice-putting greens together like a huge puzzle, and the challenge is to find a target on a green that had a readable slope — and one with a cup that is not 50-feet away.
“And a player also has to allow for the pull of the bay, as well as the grain in the green,” he added. “This all comes into play after you try and get the ball to the green in regulation.”
Morgan admitted there was a lot of guessing between he and his caddy, Eagle Creek club member Alberto Yoguez.
“I hit it the same both rounds as far as fairway to green, but the game out there is all about putting,” he said.
Morgan needed 39 putts to complete his Sunday round, compared to 30 on Monday. There was no problem with driving the golf ball, a facet of the game he believed to be his strength when he left last Monday.
“I drove it well, probably hitting the fairways 80 percent of the time,” Morgan said. “I would say 20 of 28 over the two days. For the better part, the irons were decent. It was just that I putted it like Ray Charles. On Sunday I was three-putting from seven feet.”
Morgan described the fairways as very different texture than Eagle Creek.
“They were of the type that was hard to take a divot-very firm ground much like playing off Eagle Creek’s greens,” he said.
His 81-77—158 total had him in around the 240th spot of the 312 players.
“My hope was to shoot between two and five over on the Bayonet course and a couple under on the Black Horse course,” Morgan said. “I saw those numbers as giving me a chance to play a third round on Tuesday, but it was not to be.
“It seemed like the holes I needed four-irons for second shots were at greens that ran away from the fairway,” he added. “You had to find a way to spin the ball after picking the right club — and I didn’t do enough of either to get the ball close.”
The tournament had a long ways to go when the 35-year veteran Morgan and his family sat down for lunch late Monday afternoon. Rod Perry from Port Orange, Fla. had the lead after two rounds at five-under. There was a lot jockeying on the leaderboard.
Jaysen Hansen (Copley, Ohio), a member of the Ohio Cup team with Morgan last year, had a rough second day. He went from the lead at four-under on Sunday to a tie for 17th after Monday’s round.
“I learned that when I have high expectations, I don’t do very well,” Morgan said. “I guess I have to go out there and be me, taking what the course gives me while slapping it around having fun.
“I made some pars and birdies that better players than myself probably did not, which tells me I can compete at this level,” he added. “I’ll know more what to expect next time — and there will be a next time.”
Morgan’s family walked the course most of the time, although two-year-old son Emerson needed some time back at the house on occasions. Their lodging on 17 Mile Drive was 15 minutes away.
“They had a ball and we will spend another day at the ocean” Morgan said.
The family has already spent time at the aquarium but have Caramel By-The-Sea and Big Sur still on their must see schedule.
Morgan called it an amazing place to visit — even if the golfer of the family does not play great golf.
The Morgan’s fly back home on Thursday and as Morgan puts it, “I will flip it back into golf pro mode on Friday.”