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.

HSBC Champions

Entry Date:
Nov 4, 2010

WGC - HSBC Champions - Review
It was a very disappointing week in the end; I never managed to get myself into the tournament but I did have a chance for a good finish. I ended up finishing in a tie for sixteenth place when, in fact, I had a great chance to finish in a tie for fifth place but a duffed pitch on the last cost me a double bogey. It turned what would have been a decent week into what felt like a terrible week.

I went to China after two weeks off and looking forward to getting back to playing; I was also feeling good about my game after my win two week before. All week I played nicely but just never managed make much inroad; in the first round I got to four under with two holes to play and then bogeyed my last two holes to finish on two under. This was the story of my week really, every time I made a move forward it felt like I took two steps backwards. Looking back on my week I am happy with how I hit the ball - I gave myself plenty of birdie chances but just didn’t convert enough of them. I hit some bad shots during the week too but, all in all, I was very happy with my long game. When I hit some bad shots I knew straight away what caused them, which is good as it means that my head is clear on what I have to do. I shot two under par on each of the first three rounds, which put me in tie for eighth going out in the final round and then I shot one over par on Sunday.

In each round I hit the ball well and gave myself a lot of birdie chances but I wasn’t able to make enough off them. I actually putted very poorly all week; I never felt comfortable over my putts, particularly my left to right putts. I did quite a bit of work on it during the week but it didn’t make a huge deal of difference. It was quite frustrating as I had a lot of chances, but when I did my stats it was frightening how many putts I missed and also how badly I chipped the ball. I chipped it 13 times and only got up and down 3 times. If I had chipped and putted anyway decent I could have been in contention.

The highlight of the week for me was my second shot on the par-5 14th on Saturday; I had 250 yards to the pin. It was into the wind so I was hitting three wood and the pin was back right. I hit a high fade that came out on a great line, I was thinking that it had a chance of being close but wasn’t really thinking it could go in which it did for my first ever albatross, which was a great feeling! It got me to eight under par and on the edge of contention if I could finish well but two bogeys on the 16th and 18th ended that hope. I won’t forget my albatross though!

Overall I am disappointed with the week as I had plenty of chances to get into the tournament but didn’t take them. Then on my last hole on Sunday I had 84 yards from the pin, thinking about making a birdie to get myself to eight under par, but instead I duffed my pitch and ended up taking a double bogey to drop to 16th rather than fifth! I was fuming on Sunday evening; as I wasn’t travelling until Monday I went to the gym on Sunday evening and "punished" myself for that pitch. I have it out of my head now and am looking forward to playing the Barclays Singapore Open where I have played well before.

WGC - HSBC Champions...
Sundays final round was yet again a tale of the finish. A good start saw him record two birdies in his first three holes but a double bogie six on the par four 5th hole brought him back to par. Another birdie on the par four 8th hole had him out in 35 shots. He threaded water somewhat on the back nine until a superb birdie two on the tough par three 17th hole gave him a realistic chance of finishing fifth with a birdie at the par five last. It was not to be as he chased the flag with his third shot and found water to finish with a double bogie seven and in a tie for 16th place. It was a disappointing finish to a week that promised so much but he has at least got the consolation that his game is in good shape with some big tournaments coming up to finish the season!

Third successive round of 70 for Padraig contained that rarest of birds, an albatross two on the par five 14th, it was Padraigs first albatross ever and joins the exalted company of two of his brothers who both had achieved the feat! This got him to eight under par for the tournament but two dropped shots on the way home saw him in a tie for 7th place at six under par heading into Sundays final round.

Padraig records a second round of two under par 70 to sit at four under par and in a tie for 9th place going into the weekend at Shanghai. What a difference a finish makes! After again getting off to a nice start with two early birdies, he dropped a shot at the par four 9th hole to be out in 35 shots. The round seemed to be slipping away when he had two more bogies but a storming finish of a birdie three on the 16th and an eagle three on the par five 18th had him smiling again. In all he recorded eight 3's on his card to show he still has the firepower to contest for the title at the weekend.

Opening round of two under par 70 leaves Padraig in a tie for 18th place after day one in Shanghai. Seven under par leads. Starting on the 10th tee, he got off to a solid start after swopping a bogie with a birdie to finish with two birdies to be out in two under par 34. Two more birdies followed before a disappointing finish saw him drop shots at his last two holes. Speaking afterwards he commented, "any day that you have three two's on your card should be a great day but I'm playing well and just need to keep focused on the task in hand". All to play for!

Padraig returns to tournament play as he tees it up this week at the HSBC Champions being played at Sheshan International golf course in Shanghai. With all the top golfers in the world playing as it now is a World Golf Championship event, fierce competition can be expected for the massive 860k euro first prize and the valuable world ranking points. Padraig tees off in round one at 8.55am local time with Louis Oosthuizen and Yuta Ikeda.

WGC - HSBC Champions - Preview
After a two-week break I am back in action at the WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai. I enjoyed my two weeks break at home as I was badly in need of one. During the first few days I just took it very easy and did very little but rest. During the second week I got back into doing some practice.

However after two weeks off I am ready to get back into action; I have four tournaments left before I am finished for the season. The four events that I have left are all big events but this week’s tournament has the added extra of being a World Golf Championship event. As a result it has a field comprising players from all the tours of the world including the majority of the top 50 players in the world.

As usual when I am off I do quite a bit of practice, but this time I also got a game in with some friends. It was great to get a round in before I came away as it told me how I was progressing and what I had to work on before the start of the tournament.

I got to Shanghai on Sunday afternoon; I travelled early, as I wanted to give myself more time to get over the jet lag. On Monday I played nine holes and did some practice, mainly on my short game; on Tuesday I went through the same routine as Monday. On Wednesday I played the pro-am; as always I enjoyed the pro-am as it got me thinking about getting the ball into the hole and trying to shoot a score. I find this the best form of preparation for a tournament. The hardest thing for me at the moment is that I know what I need to do with my swing but I also know that it will take a bit of time to get it right. When I hit a shot and its not what I am trying to do it can be frustrating. Overall I am very happy with what I am doing, including when its goes wrong. Also I have spent most of my time working on my short game, as I don’t want to get caught up working on my swing too much.

I am feeling good about what I did during my break and the work I have done this week. Even though I haven’t ever really contended here, other than a couple of top 10’s, I do like the course. With only four events left this season I am looking for a strong finish and with that in mind I am concentrating on trying to get my second win of the year. The key to that is to be ready from the start so as to give myself the best chance of getting into contention come Sunday afternoon. With the work that I have done I feel that I have made a good start on it.

Talk soon,
Padraig.

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