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.

Shell Houston Open

Entry Date:
Mar 31, 2011

Shell Houston Open - Review
Last week was an interesting one as I left Houston feeling happy with myself but also thinking that I could have done better. Although, I’m not really thinking that I could have got it to twenty under par, which was the winning total, I felt that I played nicely all week apart from a few shots here and there.

I went there, as always, for two reasons, firstly to try and win the tournament but also to get myself ready for the Masters. Since the Shell Houston Open moved to this week in the schedule I have played, as it is great preparation for Augusta. The course this year was in amazing condition, probably the best conditioned course on tour. They put a great effort into getting the course something close to that of Augusta.

In terms of the week I am both happy and a little disappointed as I finished well but know that I could have done better. That said I felt I got quite a lot out of my last round - I hit some slack shots during it and managed to recover well from them. However I am very happy with how I played all week and feel that it has been a great warm up for the Masters.

I got myself into the tournament from round one and played pretty consistent golf all week, I made a lot of birdies and also felt that I left a number of shots behind. In terms of getting ready for the coming week it was a great warm up in the sense that I got myself into the tournament but yet I wasn’t too stressed. I got to see my game under a bit of pressure so as to see where it is at, as there is no more pressure than Augusta and you need to know where you are at going into the Masters.

It was nice to shoot the scores that I did, especially on a course where I haven’t really done too well on before. I was happy with all areas of my game and felt that the work I have done over the last few weeks is really paying off. I have spent those weeks concentrating on my short game, wedge play and routines. In particular I felt that I hit my wedges well and had a lot of confidence in them. It is a great feeling to be confident in this area of your game as it makes up for so much; if you can’t reach a par five you still feel that you will make birdie. It just gives you so many more options. When I think back to how I played as an amateur and an early pro, my wedge play was much better back then, but the great thing about it is that I know that by working on it I will only get better.

Another thing that gave me a lot of confidence this week was the fact that I was getting the ball out there quite a distance from the tee. Coming into Augusta it is nice to know that I am hitting the ball reasonably long as there is a huge advantage in being long there.

Shell Houston Open.
Final round of two under par 70 leaves Padraig at eleven under par for the tournament and in a tie for 8th place at the Shell Houston Open. Three birdies in his first five holes were swapped with two bogies in his round and he will go to Augusta full of confidence. His short game and putting were in good order for the week, pre requisites around the Augusta National course.

Disappointing third round for Padraig of two under par 70 which leaves him at nine under par for the tournament and four behind going into Sundays final round. It was disappointing because he raced to four under par and the lead at the turn and made it five under with three to play as he swapped two more birdies with a bogie four on the short par four 10th hole. Thereafter it was a roller coaster ride as he dropped shots on his last three holes with some erratic play. His recovery shot on the par three 16th hole where he attempted to play the ball against the viewing stands left most viewers speechless! He is nothing if not entertaining and is still in with a shout of the title come Sunday evening.

Second round of three under par 69 sees Padraig finish at seven under par and only two behind heading into the weekend in Texas. Starting on the back nine, he reeled off five birdies in his first eight holes but three consecutive bogies seemed to halt his progress. An eagle three on his 17th par five hole saw him jump back up the leaderboard and in with a shout of winning this prestigious title! He tees off in the penultimate group at 11.30am local time (+6GMT) with Jimmy Walker and Josh Teater.

Padraig continued his build up to Augusta with a solid opening round of four under par at the Shell Houston Open. One dropped shot for the day on his 11th hole signaled some solid play. He recorded five birdies in all. He is currently tied in 9th place and with an early start Friday will be hoping for a low one to gain some momentum!

Padraig is back on the USPGA tour for this weeks Shell Houston Open which precedes the first major of the year, The Masters. The course at Redwood Golf Club which measures 7400 yards is set up like Augusta National with very quick greens and tough pin placements. Padraig has played well here in the past and tees off at 12.50pm local time with Ernie Els and Gary Woodland.

Shell Houston Open - Preview
This week I am in Houston, Texas, for the Shell Houston Open. I have been coming here for a few years now - since they moved the tournament to the week before the Masters. I have always played the week before a major and so once they changed their date it was penciled in on my schedule. The course here at Redstone is nothing like Augusta as there is really nowhere like Augusta, that said the Houston Golf Association do a great job in setting the course up in a similar manner. This is probably the best condition regular tour event course of the year. It is set up with very little rough so as to prepare us for next week, this year they have mown the fairways into us which reduces the run on the ball. I certainly enjoy the test that we are presented with here and definitely feel that it helps me in my preparation for next week.

I have been coming here for a number of years now and have had mixed results; there is no doubt that being the week before Augusta has its plusses and minuses for a tournament. For me I always want to play no matter where it is but at times the tournament can take a back seat as you spend more time thinking about Augusta. I know that in previous years I have suffered from this and it has affected my performance. This year I am here and fully focused on the Shell Houston Open; I am obviously aware that next week is the first major of the year but I also know that the best preparation for the any major is winning golf tournaments.

I got here on Sunday afternoon but didn’t come to the course until Monday. I played nine holes on Monday and did a small amount of practice. Tuesday I did a similar routine and then on Wednesday I played the pro-am. I have played 36 holes over the three days and done a small amount of practice, the majority of my practice has been on my short game. Over the last few weeks I have spent much more time working on my short game; this is because I felt that my short game was letting me down at times on the course. I am very happy with the state of my game and all that is needed now is a few good results.

This week is definitely a week that you need to have a good short game as all the greens have run offs around them. Any area that could be shaved around the greens has been to get it more like next week. The greens are much flatter but they can get very fast and like next week it is a course that suits the longer hitters. It helps to be able to fly it a long way in the air here.

I am looking forward to playing this week; I have prepared well and feel good about my game. I would like to get myself into contention on Sunday and give myself a chance to win so as to test myself under a bit of pressure. With the work I have done on my short game and the fact that I am happy with my long game I am very hopeful for a good week.

Talk soon,
Padraig.

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