I have been accused recently and in the past of apparently writing too negatively in my blog posts, so, on that note I played amazingly well yesterday and I’m really happy to have missed the halfway cut here at stage 1 of qualifying school.
Nah. That’s not true. I did play some good golf at times but the truth is it really sucks going home early after putting so much time and effort into my game over the last few months. The whole point in writing this blog is to give an honest, in depth reflection of things that happen to me on and off the golf course. I’m not a ‘sugar coat it for the sake of sounding falsely positive’ kind of guy. Trust me, when I’m out on the golf course I’m giving it 100% and I am extremely positive. What I write after the round is what I’ve had time to reflect on, when I’ve taken stock of the things that happened, an honest appraisal of my game and my performance.
I knew before teeing off yesterday that I would need to play really well to stand any chance of making the halfway cut. That’s not to say I was over thinking what number I would need to shoot or how important it was that I hit the ball well blah de blah de blah. I’m not a rookie. I know thinking about scores can only get in the way of playing well. But I’m also a realist. I had scored poorly on day 1 and needed a much improved day on the links to progress further in the tournament.
So, with that in mind, starting on the ‘easier’ front 9 gave me a good chance to get off to a better start then on day 1. I made a couple of opening pars before striking an absolutely beautiful 7 iron to the short par 3 third hole. The front left pin position was more accessible than on the previous day and my ball started exactly where I had aimed it, just to the left of the flag. As the wind began to take the ball to the right I lost sight of it, partly down to the bright sunshine and mainly down to my appalling eyesight! I knew the ball was headed in the right direction and I’d hit it well so the calls of “go in the hole” from my Australian playing partner and his caddy sounded encouraging!
We reached the green to find my ball a couple of feet away, directly behind the hole. It must have come pretty close to disappearing for an ace but more importantly it signaled my first birdie of the tournament and a step in the right direction. A sloppy bogey on the following hole was quickly cancelled out again by my second birdie of the round at the tiny greened 5th hole after a high spinning approach held the firm green. Alas, my under par spell again didn’t last as I failed to negotiate the tough 450 yard 6th hole. After a good solid drive into a strong headwind my 196 yard approach with a 4 iron missed the green to the right where I failed to get up and down.
The course was again playing tough with the wind gusting and the greens just as firm and quick as the previous day. I narrowly missed two more par putts before reaching the turn at +2 A great approach to the 10th was only bettered by the 109 yard pitching wedge approach from sand on the 11th, both shots coming to rest around 10 & 15 feet from the hole respectively. Looking back now I’m still amazed both putts missed. I hit them both on exactly the line I was intending, neither of them broke quite enough and both stayed above ground.
Bogeys on the long 12th & 13th pretty much sealed my fate and despite hitting an incredible 5 iron recovery from the right rough on the 14th the birdie putt once again defied gravity and stayed out of the hole. The 4 iron that I hit as purely as any shot I’ve hit in years on the long 16th hole again raised cries of “get in the hole”, this time the ball finished just a couple of inches to the right of the cup. The birdie was the only highlight in the tough stretch of finishing holes that saw me fritter away a couple more shots.
My total of 160 for two rounds was a few too many to progress to the following two days play. In hindsight I really didn’t hit the ball solidly enough over the two days but it was the huge number of close shaves on the greens that cost me dearly. I wish I felt like I’d putted badly so that the decision to change putters would be easy. I hit a lot of very good putts this week which simply didn’t drop. Lots lipped out, lots didn’t quite take as much break as I’d read but few were poorly executed. I’ve been stubborn over the years and stuck with my trusty STX putters through thick and thin. Maybe it’s finally time to experiment with something else and see if my fortunes on the greens change for the better.
I’m returning to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow on an earlier than planned flight. I wish my good friends Tommy, Greg & Dean the best of luck for the last round of final stage in the morning. So, it’s time to get back, take stock of where my game is and figure out how to keep on improving. I was definitely playing much better coming into this week so I just have to get back to that feeling again with some more practice at Impact Elite Golf Academy with my coach Andrew Argus on Monday.