Golf is a game of ups and downs — striking the ball like a laser versus chunking it, getting a good hop versus getting a hop behind a tree, taking the risk of an impossible shot and making it work versus taking the same risk and having the ball come back right at you.
You can go on and on.
The key, and the professionals have this down pat, is take the ups and downs in stride.
That’s what Anthony Infante just did.
Infante competed in the boys’ Class 1A state championship some three weeks ago and finished 37th, a disappointment for him. At age 17, the Miami Gulliver Prep senior had the wisdom to put it behind him and this past weekend won the prestigious Dade Amateur at International Links/Melreese.
Even though Infante won by 13 strokes after a 66 on the final day, he still had his ups and downs — and conquered them — in the tournament.
The main down came on Saturday when he shot a 70 but had to record it as a 71.
His playing partner, who was keeping Infante’s score, recorded a 71 and was in a rush to leave the course. Infante quickly also signed the scorecard. Then, shortly thereafter, he went over his round and realized “it didn’t make sense” and that he had actually shot a 70.
When he reported that to tournament officials, the response — as it should be — was “tough luck” because he had put his signature on the scorecard. He had to accept the 71 rather than the 70.
“I was told I had to accept the stroke,” he said. “It was frustrating.”
His playing partner had put him down for a bogey on a hole on which he made a sand save for a par.
“That was a hard-fought par,” Infante said, “so it made it even worse.”
He went on to say, “It was a learning experience. It proves you have to be careful.”
Infante also is thankful for one thing. If he had signed a card with a score lower than he shot, he would have been disqualified. So, after running away with the tournament on Sunday, what did he do?
Infante laughed and said, “I checked the scorecard five times before signing it.”
A key to Infante’s victory were two of the par-3s on the backside at Melreese, Nos. 12 and 15.
He came close to a hole-in-one on both of them.
“I came within a foot of the hole on No. 12 [202 yards] and on No. 15 [155 yards] I was two feet away,” he said.
He played the final three holes “conservatively” to close out the victory.
Infante is headed to Pacific University on a scholarship, taking the up of being the best amateur in Dade County with him and also the down moment of the state high school tournament. That’s the key — take both ends of the spectrum in stride.
However, that said, he couldn’t resist saying, “The Dade Amateur has to be one of the biggest things I’ve accomplished. It’s big because this is one of the biggest and best golf counties in the country.”