Can You Beat Biggy?

Scorching Back Nine at Flamingo the Key to Victory This Time

By David Biggy | Jul 31, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Jeff Doty tees off on the 17th hole at Bill Burr’s Flamingo Golf in Ship Bottom during the ‘Can You Beat Biggy?’ challenge match on July 25.

Ship Bottom — Jeff Doty loves playing miniature golf on Long Beach Island. He’s been coming here on family vacations since 1959 and has played a lot at Bill Burr’s Flamingo Golf in Ship Bottom during the past 50 years.

“I’ve played this course at least 50 times,” said the 69-year-old from Greenwich, Conn., who brought two additional generations’ worth of players with him – his 42-year-old son, Josh, and 15-year-old grandson, Brian – for the “Can You Beat Biggy?” challenge on July 25. “I won the tournament here in 1993. I think I shot a 29.”

Whoa! Hold on a second! A 29?!?! Going into the day, the course record is 21. Jeff was 43, a few years younger than I am now, at the time. And, sure, it’s 26 years later. But he shot a 29 at Flamingo! That’s no joke.

Well, he sure looked like a guy who could still shoot at least a low-30s round after the first four holes. He buried a pair of holes-in-one on the first and fourth to grab the early lead by a couple strokes. Fortunately for me, he cooled off a little as we worked through the front nine, while Josh and I managed to keep pace.

At the midway point, the three of us were tied with 20, while Brian – clearly not too concerned with the competition part of this whole deal, later revealing Grandpa and Dad told him just before they arrived why they were there and “I just came to play and have fun” – had scored a 25.

Nonetheless, for the adults taking this somewhat seriously (yes, we were having fun as well), this was going to get real. The back nine always makes or breaks somebody. Of course, Jeff had been paying attention to “Can You Beat Biggy?” during the previous six weeks – “I know this is where you get good,” he said as we approached the 10th.

Two holes-in-one sandwiched around a 2 on the first three holes of the back nine nudged me into the lead by a stroke over Josh and two over Jeff. A rough No. 13 for Josh, on which he stroked only his second 4 of the course to that point, kept me up by two over Jeff but gave me a three-stroke lead on Josh.

The Biggy hammer then crashed down on the Doty duo. Jeff and I remained two strokes apart after we each scored holes-in-one on the 14th, while Josh scored a 2 to fall back by four strokes. But I immediately added to the pressure by dropping an ace on No. 15 – the windmill hole.

To be fair, Jeff was incredibly precise with his putts. But on the 15th, he was too precise, twice sending his ball into the quarter-inch partition entering the space underneath the windmill, forcing him to tee off multiple times. He ended up with a 5 and only a colossal choke job on my part would have allowed him to catch me at that point.

“That’s part of the game,” Jeff said. “Sometimes you get bad bounces and that’s it. I started off great, with the two holes-in-one on the first four holes, but the windmill did me in.”

Josh also buried a hole-in-one on No. 15, but I was up by four on him and six on his father. I effectively ended any hope of a comeback by either of them when I knocked down my fifth hole-in-one of the back nine on the next hole.

Going into the 18th, I had used only 11 strokes on the previous eight holes. I finished with a 13-under-par 33, while Josh grabbed the second spot at 7-under 39, Jeff followed with a 5-under 41 and Brian did a great job on the back nine to end with a 2-under 44.

“You play to win, but I had all kinds of bad luck on the back nine,” said Josh, who lives in Fishers, Ind. “It was interesting with the three of us tied after the front nine, but you definitely took it to us on the back.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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