Life is a lot easier when you play badly and then all of a sudden you get in contention and win one. No one gets on your back. When you finish runner-up seven times, everyone is asking, 'Why aren't you winning?' It's much more fun when you jump into a win out of the blue. It's a much tougher game when you play consistently well.

WGC - CA Championship

Entry Date:
Mar 18, 2009

Padraig's Tour Diary

I am very happy that I decided to change my schedule and play in the CA Championship. While I only finished in a tie for twentieth and it may seem odd for me to be happy with that sort of performance, it was a good week overall. I did a lot of very good work with Bob Rotella and found that as the week went on I got better and better in terms of my focus and routines. This probably also sounds a bit odd as my best score was in the first round but when I look back on the week I can see that as each day went on I was getting better and there were fewer mistakes.

I have played a number of events on this course now and I have yet to do any better than a top 15 finish. For some reason I find this course a little tougher than most; I have good scores on it but I struggle to shoot four good scores. This week was no different; I opened up with a round of six under and then from there on struggled to move forward. I got to ten under a few times over the next three rounds but then managed to drop a shot or two; I just wasn’t able to kick on and really get into the tournament. In the end I finished in a tie for twentieth by making a good bogey on my last hole, there is no doubt that I was disappointed to bogey the last but I was also happy that it was only a bogey. It would have been nice to finish higher but I did at least make some good progress during the week, although it would have been great if I could have made the progress and get into contention for the tournament.

Over the four rounds I made an eagle, 17 birdies, 6 bogeys and 2 double bogeys; the problem here was the number of bogeys and double bogeys. To get into contention in a tournament you can’t drop this many shots. I picked up enough shots to get myself into contention but there were too many mistakes. My first round went well; I made six birdies and no bogeys for a round of six under. My six birdies came by the 14th and from here in I made solid pars and actually missed some good chances on the 15th, 16th and 17th for birdies. The toughest hole of the day and the whole week was the 18th; here I hit a great drive down the middle and made a solid par. I was probably more pleased with this hole than any other all day as it is a hole that you can make any number on. All week I struggled with my driver; not for distance but getting it on the fairway and for the week I had a driving accuracy of 39%. Luckily this course was playable in that the rough wasn’t too bad but if it had been a US Open style course then I would have really struggled. I am not really sure what the problem was as I had driven it well in Tucson; it is something that I will have to have a look at before I go back for Bay Hill.

The next three rounds I shot one under in each of them; the second round was probably one of the best one under par rounds that I have ever shot as I seemed to be getting bad breaks all day. The day started well; I eagled my first hole (10th), but then it started. On the 11th I pulled my tee shot a little and it ended up stuck up against a tree, from where I could only hit it out sideways by playing it left handed. I managed to make a par by holing an 18 foot putt, but on the next I lipped out for another eagle. On the 15th I pulled my 8 iron tee shot and it got stuck up against a tree again, this time it cost me a bogey. On the next hole I hit what I thought was a good drive but it came up a yard short of carrying the bunker and it plugged under the lip; I could only hit it out sideways again and again it cost me another bogey. I turned in two under for the day which was fine but then on the 1st my six iron second shot plugged under the lip of the greenside bunker. This time I could only get it back into the bunker, it wasn’t possible to get it out although; I did get it up and down the second time for a par. On the third I hit it in the water twice and both times my ball pitched on the bank and kicked into the water and in the end I finished with a double bogey. I got back to one under for the day after a birdie on the fifth but then gave it back on the 6th. On the 6th hole I pulled my drive, hit a tree and kicked at a right angle into the water; in the end I made a very good bogey as I had to drop on the other side of the water. In the end I holed a six footer for a birdie on my last hole to shoot one under par, which I couldn’t believe as it felt like I should have shot 80!

My third round was less adventurous; I made four birdies, one bogey and a double bogey. I was ten under for the tournament playing the 17th and I pulled my drive for the third time in a row. My second shot caught a tree and came straight down, from where I got a flier with a nine iron and flew the green and then took three more to get down. It was a very annoying hole to drop shots on as it is not that tough a hole. Then on the last hole I pushed my drive and it finished beside a tree but this time it was on the right side for me as I was able to hit my hybrid onto the green and make a par.

In my final round I made three birdies and two bogeys. I birdied the first after hitting the green in two and the tenth after hitting it in two as well. The 16th, I drove it in the greenside bunker and got it up and down for birdie; my bogey on the 4th came from a three putt. It was a tough putt which I hit too hard and nearly knocked it off the green. I made some good up-and-downs for par during the round as well as missing a couple of chances. On the 18th I pushed my tee shot again; it wasn’t too bad though as I could get a four iron to it. The only thing was that I had to keep it under a tree; I did manage to keep it under the tree but I pulled it into the water left of the green. I was very annoyed as I knew that anything right of the pin was fine. I dropped it 75 yards from the pin and hit a half sand wedge to three feet and holed for bogey. A good bogey in the end!

Overall I was happy with how things went for the week. I definitely felt better over the ball than I did in my previous tournaments; I wasn’t getting as hung up about my practise. I was disappointed with my driving, especially as I had driven it well in Tucson. However I was very happy with my putting; I changed my putting routine last week at home and this was the first test. I took all my practise strokes behind the ball while looking at the hole and then walked in and hit it. It felt strange at first as I had never done this in a tournament before but as the week went on it began to feel good. So overall it was a successful week as I am coming away feeling better than when I arrived. I am home for a few days and then my next trip is a run of three events that finishes at the Masters.

Talk to you all soon, Padraig!