Round 2 – Ancora Classic, Jakarta

Round 2 didn’t quite go to plan this week in Jakarta. Actually, that’s a pretty big understatement. I went from being under par, my name appearing on the leader board, being very focused on day 1 to completely shooting myself in the foot and missing the cut. Unlike other tournaments this year where I’ve left myself lots to do after a poor opening round I was well positioned after my opening round of 72 to play all 4 rounds this week.

After a good warm up on the range it was a little disappointing to mis-hit a couple of mid iron shots early in round 2. Having said that my pulled tee shot into the 4th green wasn’t disastrous, it just left me with a tricky up and down to save par. I had a thick lie in the rough with very little room to land the ball. In hindsight, perhaps I was trying to play the shot a little too perfectly landing it short of the green to run up onto the slick green. I fluffed the chip short of the green. For my next chip shot I removed the flag as I often do from just off the edge of the green and picked my landing area with the intention and belief of holing it for an unlikely par. I fluffed it again, barely making it onto the green. 2 putts later and I walked to the 5th tee with a double bogey on my card and +3 for the day. I can’t remember the last time I duffed a chip shot never mind 2 on the run!

This is where my focus and concentration were to be severely tested and I’m afraid to say came up wanting. Again, hindsight is a wonderful thing and I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but perhaps I didn’t take quite long enough to compose myself before hitting my next tee shot after the previous holes antics. I had driven the ball almost faultlessly for the previous 22 holes so to block this tee shot way right towards the fairway bunkers was unexpected. Even more unexpected was to arrive at said bunker to find it empty, my ball was nowhere to be seen. After a couple of minutes searching for my ball I found it in some decorative bushes on the edge of the bunker. A poor decision to try and extract the ball from the vegetation with my lob wedge resulted in the ball only traveling far enough to end up on the face of the bunker.

After advancing the ball as far as I could from the tricky lie I was left with 196 yards to a dangerous back right pin position perched over the water for my 4th shot. I made the sensible decision to aim away from the pin, towards the left edge of the green where the green slopes from left to right. Unfortunately, despite my good intentions to hit a sensible shot and limit the damage on this long par 5 the ball came off the club face a little thin and cutting towards the pin. Another couple of yards and I may have got away with the less than perfect strike, instead I watched in horror as the ball caught the bank at the front of the green and trickled back slowly into the water hazard. I took a penalty drop and now faced a pitch up to the elevated green for my 6th shot. With my head still spinning from the shock of what was happening I then caught my pitch heavy. It landed on the front of the green before again returning down the slope and diving into its watery grave. A bolder pitch with another new ball was followed by a couple of putts and I walked off the green having racked up a tournament trashing 10!

Having not even given the cut a thought until this point it now became clear that I was going to have to play some pretty special golf for the rest of the round to be on the right side of the 36 hole cull. I hit some nice shots over the following few holes but where putts had dropped and things had seemingly gone my way the previous day I found myself putting from the wrong side of the hole and leaked further shots over the remaining holes. I ended up missing the cut comfortably signing for my worst score of the season. Undoubtably I had paid the price for the 30 minutes of madness earlier in the round.

However, and it’s important that anyone actually still reading this tale of woe understands that I will still be taking a lot of positives from this week. I played some very good golf on the opening day. My driving was straighter than it has been for years. The swing changes that I had made with my coach Andrew Argus less than a week before had seemingly worked well on the whole. Rather than coming away from the tournament disappointed I am actually really excited to continue the work I was doing last week on the range. I had my first taste of being under par and being in contention during a tournament here in Asia and I really liked it.

I’d like to thank the ASEAN Tour for the invitation spot in the field this week and I look forward to hopefully teeing it up again in 2012 in one of their excellently organised events.


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