CROMWELL, CT - JUNE 24: Padraig Harrington prepares for his tee shot during the final round of the 2012 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 24, 2012 in Cromwell, Connecticut. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Travelers Championship - Review
Going into the Travelers Championship I felt that it could be a struggle, as I knew that I was tired and I had a busy first half of the week. When I started on Thursday morning I was feeling good and it definitely helped that I have played the tournament a number of times now. My first round was going along nicely, I was giving myself plenty of chances, and after twelve holes I was three under par and cruising along. A bad tee shot on the fourth, my 13th, followed by a three putt cost me a double bogey and then another poor tee on the fifth cost me a bogey four. In the end I finished on one under par for the round and when I sat down at lunch and thought about my round I could see that I was definitely a little flat - I really felt that I played tired golf. This was the reminder that I needed so I didn’t do much practice on Thursday afternoon - I went back to hotel and had a rest.
I was due to play in the afternoon on Friday and just as I walked onto the tee the hooter went to sound a suspension of play. It wasn’t a long delay; we got going back on the course about two hours after our original time. The only problem was that we knew going out that the storm was coming in again. I got as far as the sixth tee and just as I was walking up to hit my drive on the par five the hooter went again. As it turned out we didn’t get to play again and it was called off until 7am Saturday morning. A delay is normally a total pain but for me it wasn’t too bad as it meant that I got to sit around, relax and recharge the batteries. Even though I was facing playing 31 holes on Saturday I was happy to have the forced rest on Friday.
I had an early wake up on Saturday, 3.45 am, as I had to do my exercises and then get to course for physio, breakfast, my warm up and then allow time to drive out to the sixth hole. When I got to the course I was feeling good after my light day on Friday and got off to a nice start by birding my first hole of the day. This got me going and over the 31 holes I played on Saturday I played them in eight under par, which included a run of seven birdies in eight holes from the sixth to the thirteenth in the third round. All day I gave myself good chances and took quite a few of them. I also made a few errors during the day, which were quite disappointing and annoying. The most annoying of them all was the fact that I bogeyed the eighteenth hole twice from the middle of the fairway. I finished the day three shots behind and in a tie for sixth.
On Sunday I played in the third last group with Stuart Appleby. I knew before I went out that I needed to shoot a low score to have a chance to win as the course gives up a lot of birdies. I birdied the second to get to ten under but after this I struggled a bit - I just didn’t hit it close enough over the next few holes and then a bad drive on the sixth cost me a bogey. I was struggling to focus on my target all day and found myself getting distracted easily. It turned out to be a tough day - I didn’t hit it close enough when I had the opportunity and when I did I wasn’t able to convert my chances. I ended up shooting one under to finish on ten under par and in a tie for eleventh. Unfortunately the day didn’t turn out as I hoped. I was looking to give myself a chance to win and in the end I never got near the leaders. All in all, it wasn’t a bad week but I know that it could have been so much better. My chipping was poor again, which is something that I will be addressing straight away. I hit my wedges a lot better week than I did the previous week but again there is plenty of room for improvement. I am very happy with my long game so I will be spending a lot of time working on my short game over the next few weeks.
Padraig shoots a final round of one under par 69 to finish in a tie for 11th and continue his recent good form. After a nice start with a birdie three on his second hole, he stalled his round with a bogey six on the par five 6th hole. On a day when a bunched leaderboard were all making birdies, this proved fatal for his hopes of winning the tournament. He now heads for Portrush for the Irish Open with high hopes after some very encouraging performances in the States in the past couple of months!
Superb third round 65 containing eight birdies propels Padraig into a tie for 6th place and only three behind the leaders going into Sundays final round. Yet again, he dropped a shot at the last but he continues his recent good form. He tees off in the final round at 1.40pm local time with Stuart Appleby.
Rain delayed second round of three under par 67 leaves Padraig only four behind the leaders going into the weekend at the Travelers Championship. Four birdies were recorded with the only blemish being a dropped shot at the last.
Opening round of one under par 71 leaves Padraig in a tie for 43rd place, six under par leads the tournament. Starting on the back nine, he went out in one under par and added two birdies on his 10th and 11th holes to sit at three under par. A double bogey six on the par four fourth hole put paid to a good round. He tees off late on friday at 12.55pm.
Padraig continues his stay on the USPGA Tour as he tees it up this week at TPC River Highland in Connecticut. It is event that he has fond memories of having finished tied 5th here in 2010. Padraigs solid sand play will stand him in good stead here as there are 119 bunkers in play! He will be hoping to chalk up his first win of the season before returning to Europe for the Irish Open and the Open Championship. Padraig tees off at 7.45am local time with Justin Leonard and Louis Oosthuizen.
Travelers Championship - Preview
I am in Hartford, Connecticut this week for the Travelers Championship. It can be tough to play the week after a major but I have played here for the last few years so I know the course which makes it a lot less stressful. I have had mixed results here but it is a course that I liked the first time I played it and enjoy coming back to.
We got to Hartford on Monday evening - it took most of the day to get here as we lost three hours coming from the West Coast. On Tuesday morning I had a corporate outing and then in the afternoon I went to the course to do a small bit of practice. Nothing too much, as I was quite tired and I was conscious not to overdo it after a busy week last week. On Wednesday I played in the afternoon pro-am. It was my only look at the course before the tournament and thankfully it hasn’t changed from last year. The pro-am went well other than the fact that it was one of the hottest days of the year here. It was almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit and by the end of the round I was well and truly worn out. I was very happy to see the clubhouse.
In terms of my game I am happy with how I am playing - there were a few things in my game last week that I would like to work on but nothing too major. I was fading the ball a little too much during the week and so I have spent a bit of time here on the range hitting some draws. Overall I know that my game is in a good place but the key to scoring on this course is to hit your wedges well. There are a few tough holes where par is a good score and then the majority of the holes are actually wedge holes. With this in mind I have spent most of my time hitting wedges in practice.
I am definitely a little tired after last week and so it is important that I take it easy here this week. If I over do it I know I am going to "hit the wall". I am playing early on Thursday and then late Friday; it means that I don’t really get a rest until Thursday afternoon and by then I will be ready to take it easy and relax.
I am looking forward to getting going on Thursday, as I like this course and Travelers put on a great tournament. All I need now is to register my first win of 2012 here on Sunday.