With his friend by his side, Scheil adds a little lore Pinehurst’s most unique course
By Alex Podlogar
Patrick Scheil was on time. His buddy Matt Allison wasn’t.
Scheil watched as their tee time came and went on Tuesday. No Matt. One minute went by. Another. Then another.
The starter was there. No Matt.
Another two minutes. Another.
At this rate, Scheil could’ve gone to the range. Maybe rolled a few putts. He didn’t have his 58-degree wedge – it was getting a new shaft – and while that would’ve been especially nice to have for a course like Pinehurst No. 3, he’d have to make do without it. He had just walked to the first tee of No. 3 from his condo to meet Matt for an afternoon round.
Another minute went by.
Finally, there was Matt, in a cart. Seven minutes late.
“Oh, I was late,” Allison says. “No range. No putting green. The first swing of the day was off the first tee.”
The starter, though, was understanding. He just moved them back. Hey, No. 3 is a fun course.
“I love No. 3,” Scheil says. “It’s so much fun, but you don’t ever really realize how short it is because you really have to think your way around it. And the greens? There’s definitely greens out there that will remind you of No. 2.”
So, the starter said, have a good day, fellas.
Both are good players – Scheil, 33, played collegiately at Southern Illinois and still has his professional status. He took driver to start the unique 5,155-yard, par-68 course, ripping it to the edge of the green of the 283-yard par-4 first hole. Two putts for a birdie. Good start.
The next hole is a 119-yard par-3. Gap wedge for Scheil to a few feet. Greens are perfect. Birdie. Two under through two.
And then? A couple of routine pars. Good looks, but pars. A birdie at the par-4 fifth got Scheil to 3 under before a par at the 166-yard sixth. And then a birdie on seven. And another on eight. With 12 feet for birdie on nine, Scheil rolled another one in.
“I just looked at Matt after that one and said, referring to the front nine, ‘I don’t know what that just was.’”
It was a 26.
“It just sounds stupid to even say out loud,” Scheil says.
Of course, there are another nine holes waiting. Scheil knew it. Allison knew it. Both are caddies in the area and know a special round when they happen upon one. They know golf’s magic number.
But still, 26?
“I had to kind of acknowledge it,” Scheil says, “otherwise it would’ve been in my head on every hole.”
“I was like, ‘Dude, what are you saying?’” Allison says. “You trying to jinx us?”
Maybe. Scheil had a 10-footer for birdie on 10 and missed, but followed with a birdie on the par-5 11th. A par at the 196-yard, par-3 12th is a good score any day, and another birdie on a par-5, the 13th, got Scheil to 8 under.
Now, it got tight.
“Matt really didn’t know how to act,” Scheil says. “It’s kind of like being around a pitcher throwing a no-hitter. He’s trying to think whether to say something, whether not to say anything, what to do. He just wanted to get out of the way. He hit his shots quickly, tried to tell me a few stories. Anything he could think of.”
Scheil noticed his friend grasping at straws.
“I kind of broke the tension a little bit,” Scheil says. “I told him, ‘Hey buddy, I need a caddie here. Just, you know, life-coach me a little bit here.’”
On 14, Scheil found the greenside bunker, and faced perhaps his toughest shot of the day.
Scheil hit it to 4 feet. Oh boy, here we go.
“Every great round needs a great par save, I really believe that,” Allison says. “And this was it.”
Scheil buried the 4-footer. He then got up-and-down again for par on 15. He made the birdie he needed on 16, but almost gave it away when faced with another up-and-down on 17. On 18, he had about a 12-footer for birdie that slid by, but it was enough.
Nine birdies. Nine pars. 26-33.
“It’s not my lowest round cumulative to par,” says Scheil, who’s shot 61 three times, “but it sure does sound the best.”
Scheil’s 59 calls to mind another one at Pinehurst. Will Grimmer, then 16 years old, shot 59 on Pinehurst No. 1 in the 2013 North & South Junior Championship.
And while some may try to mock that it’s not a real 59 since it came on the par-68 Course 3, Scheil…well, he gets it.
“I say to that person, I completely understand,” Scheil says. “If I were on that side of it, I would probably question it myself.
“But, from my point of view, I would say this: OK, go beat it then.”
I say to that person, I completely understand. If I were on that side of it, I would probably question it myself. But, from my point of view, I would say this: OK, go beat it then.Patrick Scheil
“Hey, a 59 is a 59,” Allison says. “No doubt about it.”
Although, Allison jokes…
“But, hey, you know, he did kind of limp it in for a 59.”
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