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Course record? Who'd a thunk it

Never have I had as good of a chance to set a course record.

Let me explain.

The second nine holes of Quail Point's spiffy little putting course opens today to general play.

On Friday, there was a sneak preview for media and others. I was to be out of town, so I arranged to get out Thursday for a trip around the full 18.

I would be playing with Vince Domenzain, general manager and director of golf at Centennial Golf Club and Quail Point, and, privately, I was thinking if I could just beat Vince, I'd establish the course record.

Oh, how plans unravel.

Upon arrival, I learned Matt Grove, the complex's greens superintendent and co-designer of the putting course with John Fought, would join us. I like Matt, but that just made my challenge greater.

It was further compounded when, before we started, Vince told me the course record had already been set. A senior group played a couple weeks prior, and one Jim Ellis set the standard with a 52.

OK, so the challenge grew, but the record was still in sight.

The nine holes opening today are much like the first, which we wrote about in May. Every hole on the all-grass layout has undulations that prevent simple, straight shots.

The new nine isn't yet rolling as fast as the first, but the goal is to have the putting facility at about the same speed as the big course's greens.

The 18 holes can be flip-flopped, which will reduce wear and tear, and scorecards have ledgers for both the Quail Course and the Lake Course.

We played the Quail, and it took only the second hole for me to learn a local rule: If you hit it off the green into the tall grass, it's out of bounds.

Playing for a big break to the right, my, uh, tee putt found the high stuff left.

"Out of bounds?" I asked, repeating Vince's words.

"Look on the back of the scorecard," he said, referring to the rules.

Sure enough. I brought the ball back to the putting surface, took a one-stroke penalty and made bogey 5.

We continued and gradually got used to the speed and breaks.

The new nine measures 815 feet, or 7 feet longer than the original nine. Three holes hit triple digits in length, including the longest, No. 3, which is 130 feet. The shortest is 61 feet.

Par on each side is 30, with three par 4s on each.

Vince and I made the turn at 27, Matt at 28.

On the back nine, it was 23 for Vince and I, giving us each 50, with Matt a couple shots back.

Vince eagled the last hole, a par 4, and I skimmed the left edge from 5 feet on my eagle attempt, settling for birdie.

"We tied for the course record," said Vince. "You can have the amateur record."

Even if it doesn't last through the weekend — heck, it's probably gone by now — I don't imagine I'll hear those words again.