Third consecutive round of one under par 71 for Padraig leaves him in a tie for 20th place at the WGC-CA Championship. A birdie bogie start had him out in level par and not much happened after that as he made a string of pars. After hitting his second shot into the water at the tough par four 18th finishing hole, he showed his class with a picture perfect pitch to see him rescue a bogie. He now has a week off before returning to play three events in a row including the first Major of the year at Augusta.
Third round of one under par 71 sees Padraig in 18th place going into the final round of the CA Championship. A birdie birdie start was mixed with a bogie and a birdie to be out in two under par. Another birdie followed on the par five 10th hole but from here in Padraig stalled and couldn't hole anything as he gave himself a string of chances. An ugly double bogey six on the par four 17th hole put paid to his chances of winning the tournament but a low round Sunday could still give him a morale boasting week!
Disappointing second round of one under par 71 for Padraig at Doral. On a scorecard that contained the full spectrum of the rainbow, eagles, birdies, bogies and double bogies all made appearances, some more unwelcome than others! A great start with an eagle three on the par five 10th (his first hole), was followed by birdies on his third and fifth holes to be one behind at this stage at ten under par. Thereafter, Friday the 13th lived up to its reputation with more visits to the water than a kid in a waterpark. To his credit, he finished with a birdie two on the tough par three 9th hole. He now trails the leader by six shots and needs a low one on Saturday to get back into the tournament.
Fine opening round of six under par 66 sees Padraig just one shot off the lead at the CA Championship. Surprisingly erratic off the tee as he has been arrow straight in practice, his greens in regulation were top class and he recorded no dropped shots for the day. A nice start to the day of three birdies in his first five holes had him out in 33 shots which was followed by birdies on the 10th, 12th and 14th holes to make a picture perfect scorecard. He tees off in the second round at 11.05am local time with Justin Leonard and Robert Allenby.
Padraig's Tour Diary
I am here in Miami for the CA Championship which is an unscheduled tournament for me. After my performances on the West Coast of the States I decided that I would add this week’s event to my schedule as I need to get some more tournament rounds in. I had originally planned a three week break but having missed two cuts and then being knocked out of the first round of the Match Play I decided that the best place for me is playing tournament golf. My last four events definitely suffered because of over-practice during my winter break and as a result I struggled to get back to tournament playing golf. There is a big difference between playing tournament golf (having a score card in your hand and having to hole out), and practicing. When I’m practicing I can stand on a range and hit shots all day until I am happy with the way they are flying but when I am playing I only get one shot.
I had ten days at home after the Match Play and as usual I did some practice. Not as much as normal but enough! Since I arrived here at Doral I have been working with Bob Rotella to try and get my head into the right frame of mind. It is so hard to stand up and hit a shot without thinking about anything other than where you want to hit it. This is what I spend my time trying to do when I am working with him as this is how I have to be on the course. I am not one of those players that can go out on the course with a swing thought; for me to play my best I have to have a clear head and not to be thinking about my swing or anything else. I find it very hard to leave the winter practice behind in the early part of the season and as a result it generally hasn’t been my best time of the year. As the year progresses my head becomes clearer and so I find it easier to play golf uninhibited.
This is one of the World Golf Championship Events, and so it has a great field and there is also no cut. The fact that there is not cut is great for me; not that I am worrying about the cut but more because I know that I will be playing four competitive rounds and so it gives me plenty of opportunities to get my head right. We are playing the Blue Monster at Doral again this year; this is the third year that it has been held here. I have only played in one of the CA championships, but played in a couple of the Ford Championships that were held here previously.
The Blue Monster is one of the most famous courses on the PGA Tour; a par 72 that measures 7,266 yards. If you can carry it 300 yards then it doesn’t play that long as you can carry a lot of the trouble. There are a number of holes on this course that will have a big bearing on the outcome of the tournament; the 3rd, 16th and18th.
The 3rd hole is a 434 yard par four with water all up the right hand side and a big fairway bunker at 294 yards off the tee. It is a difficult drive as it is tight with the water and the bunker. Having managed to get your drive away you are left with anything from a 5 iron to an 8 iron into a heavily sloping green. There is the chance that you can run into the water on this hole with your second shot, or if you have missed it left you have the possibility of chipping it into the water. A par here is a great score.
The 16th is a short par 4 measuring 361 yards but if you take it straight at the green it is only 333 yards! This is a hole that you feel you should make birdie on but if you push too hard you can walk off with a bogey very easily. It is hard to hit the fairway if you do not go for the green as you are hitting across the fairway. The winner will play this hole under par but it will certainly cause problems for a lot of players.
The 18th is probably the most famous hole on the course and one of the most famous holes in golf. It is as tough a closing hole as you can play. There is water on the left that you can carry if you can hit it in the air for over 285 yards. If you can carry the water then it makes it considerably easier, although the prevailing wind is into from the water so carrying it is not usually an option. If you can’t carry the water then you have a small area to hit into, but invariably you end up hitting it right to make sure that you don’t go in and so you are left hitting your second shot from the rough into a really tough green with water short and left. The second shot is as equally tough as the drive. A par here is a great score.
I have played three tournaments on this course and never really managed to do much in them. The main reason is that it is usually early in my year and so I am not fully ready for tournament golf. This year I am here to play and not be worrying or thinking about my swing. I have worked hard to Bob Rotella all week so as to make sure that I am ready to play from Thursday and not waiting for the last few holes. At the Match Play I felt much better about my golf and would have loved to go a few more rounds as it would have given me more opportunity to improve. This week I am fully intent on being ready from the first tee and committing to all the work I have done with Bob.
I am here to get my head back in to playing mode and to try and get into contention on Sunday afternoon. I know that the best way for me to do this is to be in the same frame of mind I would be for the back nine on Sunday from the first tee on Thursday.