Cinderella Story–not so much

So 2019 was to be the culmination of Mike’s senior open experience, playing at the 2019 US Senior Open beneath the beloved Golden Dome, his father and brother’s alma mater, the place where he sends tuition for two kids next year.  Instead, Mike gets a humility lesson and fails to qualify at Lone Palm Golf Club in Lakeland, FL on May 30.  Close but no cigar.

So lemons=lemonade for the Team Finster.   There’s another big open–THE Senior Open across the pond, to be held this year at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s in Lancashire, England July 25-28.  (AKA the Senior British Open.)  Mike will be there on Monday, July 22 to play a qualifying round at Fairhaven in Lytham, England.  Play well and he’ll be back among the big boys later that week.

I caught Mike today practicing his links golf techniques at his home course, Royal and Ancient Mangrove Bay.

Yeah, I don’t think the Queen goes for flip flops on the golf course.

Hope to have lots of pics and stories to share from this next Finster adventure.

2018 US Senior Open Wrap up and GO IRISH!

So a final congrats to Mike Finster, who finished tied for 44th at +13 at the US Senior Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.  His score matched such luminaries as Fred Couples and John Cook.  Mike ended up second in the amateur race to Jeff Wilson, who finished +10.  Again, congrats to Jeff.

Mike will begin immediate preparations for the 2019 US Senior Open at the Warren Course at the University of Notre Dame, June 24-30, 2019.  Immediate preparations meaning he will sell some roofing, regularly attend Mass, enjoy his beautiful family and groom the next great Finster golfer, young Joseph.  He will play in some local amateur tournaments, including the Florida Open starting July 13 at Innisbrook, and will continue to dominate Tampa Bay area member/guest tournaments.

As for 2019, check out the video below and  prepare for chills:

Final round 2018 US Senior Open. Mike Finster’s quest for low amateur honors

Middle of the pack 11:26 a.m. mountain time tee time today, much better than the dawn start last time Mike made the cut at an open (three years ago, when he was in last place).   Mike’s paired with South African David Frost, a guy he’s played with before.  The crowd (with apparently sore feet after three long days on the course) gathers for the final slog around The Broadmoor.

Mike starts off +8 and tied for 39th, one behind yesterday’s partner Jeff Wilson for low amateur honors.  Winning that, by the way, would earn an invite to the US Amateur at Pebble Beach and an automatic bid in 2019 to the US Senior Open to be played at—wait for it–the Warren Course at the University of Notre Dame.  Mike’s daughter attends ND, and Mike’s dad and brother went there.  I look forward to visiting my alma mater June 24-30, 2019.

Mike autographs for adoring fan.

MB with some of Mike’s classmates at Northwestern.

Starts with a par on the tough #1, but doubles #2 to go +10. Gets one back with a birdie on the long par 5 #3.  Wilson, meanwhile, bogies #1 to start his day.

Mike cruises with four pars in the middle of the outward nine, but finds trouble and a bogie and a double to finish the front, 4 over and a 40 on the card for the day.  Wilson has his own troubles, finishing bogey/bogey but cards a 38 and opens up a 2 shot lead on our favorite.

Back nine starts off again with colorful numbers, par/double/par–then a birdie on lucky 13 and a nice reaction.

Par, bogey, then another birdie on 16.

Two more pars on 17 and 18 and it’s over–a gritty 75, +13 for the tournament.  Jeff Wilson, meanwhile is doing what he needs to do to stay in the amateur lead. He’s coming up 18 at +10, pretty much guaranteed to take the coveted amateur honors.  Congrats to him.

After the round more autographs for the crowd.

 

And dinner with the family.

 

Third round 2018 US Senior Open—Mike plays the weekend

I told Mike he always makes the cut at Senior Opens west of the Mississippi and I was right on.  So Mike starts today at 9:17 am mountain time paired with fellow low amateur Jeff Wilson.  The Californian plays a lot of amateur golf and at 47 shot 62 in the US Amateur.   So should be a great match.

Thanks by the way to John Musselman, Ashley Fox and Marybeth Finster for supplying reports, pictures and videos from the course.   Here’s first hole coverage.  Rolex says right on time.

Not a great start—gotta be a big emotional letdown after the tension of having to make some big shots to clear the cut line just a little more than 12 hours earlier.  Two bogeys to start, then 2 pars, including a par save off a spectator on the 601 yard par 5 third.  Wilson, meanwhile, starts off -1 through 5 holes to take a 3 shot lead in the low amateur contest.

Both guys settle in, Mike +2 at the turn and Jeff -2.  Mike goes bogey/bird to start the inward nine, Jeff matches with 2 pars.  But Mike pars the next five, while Jeff bogies 14 and 16.  The tide turns on 17, when Mike knocks in his second bird of the day.

So that puts Mike just one behind his partner.  Both par 18.  So two really good rounds from the top amateurs in this Open championship.  Both have a great chance to take home the top amateur prize at the end of play Sunday.

Your humble webmaster, forced to follow from afar . . .

PS  This is the guy Mike hit on #3.  Finster treated him and his wife to lunch in the clubhouse after the round.  Golf, like karma, is a boomerang.

Second round 2018–Mike Finster makes the cut!

Mike started the day near the top of the amateur leaderboard.  His day began on the harder back nine, and it took its toll, with 4 bogies in the first 6 holes.  But then 2 grind-it-out pars and off to the tough 18th.

A third straight par on 18 —where he made double on Thurs.  So good momentum heading to the front 9 and its two reachable par 5s.

Birdie 1!  So honors on 2—iron off the tee on short par 4 lands in bunker and leads to bogey.   Long par 5 #3, where Mike rolled in eagle Thursday, ends in a routine par.  So six holes to go and starting to watch the cut line.  Mike’s at +6, and +9 or better plays the weekend.

Bogeys tough #4 par 3, then grinds out 4 pars.  Gets to 18 needing a bogey on the short par 5.  A wayward drive forces a layup to about 150 yards.  Hits it to within 15 feet.

And the crowd goes wild.

Mike 2 putts for par.

Finishes +5 for the day, +7 for the tourney, 1 above the cut line and tied for low amateur.  Happy belated (one day) anniversary to Mike and Marybeth!  They deserve it.

 

First round wrap up

So Mike finished the day at a very respectable +2, though it could have been better. A double bogey on 18 leaves a bad taste but that’s golf. So let’s start off with the day’s hightlight, an eagle on the 608 yard par 5 #3. Love Scott Matirne’s Cajun whoop.

First Round of the 2018 US Senior Open

Today’s the day God’s been getting Mike Finster ready for! (Of course, they all are.)  The gallery gathers–good crowd this year.

And at 8:55 a.m. he’s off.  As usual, Mike’s scorecard is “colorful.”  But hanging around even is a good score.  There are some big numbers out there, including Hall Fame pitcher John Smoltz at +10 after 11 and Jesper Parnevik (when did he get old?) at +6 after 6.

 

Tee times and details

Mike’s tee time Thursday: 8:55 a.m. hole #1 (Mountain time)

Mike’s tee time Friday, 2:25 p.m., hole #10, same group (Mountain time)

Where to watch:

FS1 (Fox Sports 1,  www.foxsports.com/watch/fs1) will broadcast the tournament live Thurs. and Fri., 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.  (EDT).   Live stream will be available at USGA.org before and after the Fox feed.

Saturday and Sunday, FS1 will broadcast 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT, and USGA.org will provide live stream of a featured group during that same time.

 

 

Wednesday Practice at the 2018 US Senior Open

Another great day on the golf course for Mike.  He got to spend some time with Dow Finsterwald (no relation), one of the greatest golfters of the late 1950s and early 1960s and the 1958 PGA Champion (only has 1 more major than Finster, not wald).  He’s pro emeritus at The Broadmoor.

Then off to the range, where the Most Interesting Man in Tanglewood hung out with the Most Interesting Man in the World.

It’s always fun to watch Mike hit the ball.  On the first tee, MB says Mike outdrove the guys in his group by 50 yards.  Including a guy named Bernhard Langer.

Who might be able to teach Mike something about the greens . . . .