Coming into this week I was very happy with how I was hitting the ball but my results of late had been poor - The Players Championship, Irish Open and the Celtic Manor Wales Open were all poor tournaments as far as results go. This week was a good week as far as the result is concerned but for me it was much the same as the previous week other than I holed a couple of putts. I missed the cut in Wales last week but didn’t feel that I played much different to this week. After making the cut here on three over I had a good weekend to move me right into contention.
I played here last year and really liked the course, but I missed the cut so to come and perform well here this year was particularly nice. In the first round I played as I have done for the last few weeks - giving myself plenty of chances but not really taking advantage of them. The wind was blowing pretty strong all day on Thursday which meant that par on any hole was a good score. I opened up with a couple of solid pars before making a birdie on the par five 3rd. I went for the green in two and hit it in the greenside bunker. A good bunker shot set up a solid birdie; I was feeling good about myself at this point. Then on the par three 4th I hit a lovely six iron, held it up in the right to left wind but it came up short and then kicked into the water. I couldn’t believe it as I had just hit a majestic shot it went in the water. This put me back to level par and a little annoyed! The rest of the round was a little uneventful, I parred everything else bar the 11th where I three putted for a bogey. I gave myself plenty of chances but couldn’t take any of them but I also got up and down a couple of times to save par. I was a little disappointed after the round as I had played well; hitting 86% of fairways and 67% of greens which on such a windy day was a good performance. I was still feeling quite uncomfortable over some of my right to left putts and as a result I missed a few.
Over the next three days I played very similar to the first; the worst stretch that I had was the opening holes of the second round. I bogeyed my first hole and then hit my tee shot into the water on my second hole of the day to make a double bogey. It was exactly like what had happened in the last few weeks, whenever I hit a poor shot I was getting punished heavily for it. I managed to compose myself and make three birdies over the next six holes to get myself back to level for the day. On my ninth, the 18th hole, I pulled my tee shot a little, it should have been fine but it got a bad bounce and ended up in the water and cost me another bogey. Two more bogeys on my back nine and a single birdie meant that I shot two over par for a total of three over for the tournament.
I changed back to my old faithful putter for the weekend as I was really finding it hard to be comfortable over my putts with the Seemore. It definitely felt better but didn’t solve the problem, I still felt a little uncomfortable over some of the right to left putts. My weekend performance was much better than my first two days in terms of scoring but there really wasn’t much in the difference of how I played. In the third round I made four birdies and no bogeys which was nice as I haven’t had a bogey free round for a while but it could so easily have been different. I made eight pars and a birdie on the 6th in the front nine, missing a few good chances. Then on the back nine I was still knocking out pars and beginning to get frustrated about the lack of birdies, when I did make a birdie it was a two putt from just short of the 16th in two. Then on the 17th I holed a 50 footer across the green to get to three under for the day; everything felt great after this as it was an unexpected one. It’s amazing what a long putt does for your morale. Then on the last I hit a nine iron from 146 yards to two feet. Two tap ins and a long putt to finish off my round meant that I had shot four under and was in a tie for 9th position.
The final round started well for me, a great sand wedge on the second and then a good lob wedge to the third set up two birdies, but a poor chip on the fourth cost me a bogey, I was through the green with my tee shot but had an easy chip which I miss hit into the bunker, meaning I had to get up and down for a bogey. After this I stalled, parring everything until the 17th where I holed a six footer for birdie. As with most of my rounds I gave myself plenty of chances but just couldn’t convert them, it was particularly frustrating as I knew that I was right in contention. I was playing with Boo Weekley and he was tied for the lead for a lot of the round and was the one I was chasing; I kept patient and gave myself chances but just couldn’t hole enough of them. In the end I made a birdie on the 17th to get to three under and then gave myself a 15 foot putt on the last which would have got me into the play-off if it had it gone in. I was happy with how I played on the last day as I stayed patient and kept plugging away, unfortunately it wasn’t good enough on this day. The important thing about it was that I stuck to my guns and kept to my routines; it was perfect preparation for the U.S. Open. I would have liked to have got into the play-off to have had a chance to win but it wasn’t to be.
Looking back at the week I could easily find the shot that made me miss the play-off, which is a good thing as a far as I am concerned as it tells me that I am on the right track. If I can finish where I did without holing everything and getting the breaks then I know that it is only a matter of time. As far as my preparation for the US Open is concerned I am very happy; I did a lot of good work on my routines and focus and it worked well on Sunday afternoon. I would like to be a bit more comfortable with my putting but the good news is that I have a few days to sort that out.