KINGSBARNS, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 05: Padraig Harrington of Ireland plays his second shot from the beach on the 12th hole during the second round of The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Kingsbarns Golf Links on October 5, 2012 in Kingsbarns, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Review
After three weeks off it was great to get back into action last week. I would have liked to do better than I did but then that is the nature of all professionals. As I went into the Dunhill after a three week break I wasn't surprised to see that I was a little rusty. I had been practising at home for the previous three weeks and so when it came to playing tournament golf I was a little lost. I definitely fell between two stools - I was still thinking of what I was working on and then trying to get my head in the right place in order to score. The work I did in my time off has helped a lot but the only problem is that I have to convince myself to let go, play and let it work its way into my swing over time, which is hard as you know that it will ultimately make you hit the ball better but you want it now.
I finished just inside the top-30, which was disappointing as it is a tournament that I really enjoy and tend to do well in. As the week went on I played better, with Saturday probably my best day in terms of how I played, followed by Sunday. In my first round I was very rusty and the only thing that kept me in the game was my putting. I was struggling with my long game but by holing a few putts I was hanging in there. I ended up shooting one under par around Carnoustie which turned out to be a good score on the day - I think there were only seven scores better than me at that venue. On Friday I played fine, but I didn't putt great - I was unlucky a couple of times and as a result I was level par for the day playing my last hole, the ninth. It was playing into the wind and I knocked it on in two only to four putt for a bogey, which was infuriating as they were probably my best two shots of the day.
After two rounds I was level par and in need off a good score around St Andrews to make the cut. I played well and shot 66, 6 under par to make the cut by one shot. The funny thing was that I was only just making the cut and lying ten shots behind the leader, but I was only two shots behind the best score in my rotation - for some reason playing Carnoustie followed by Kingsbarns was tough. It must have been the wind direction; although there wasn't much there was enough to cause problems. I then shot four under in the last round but again it could have been better.
There is no doubt that the lack of competitive play cost me a few shots and unfortunately we missed the cut in the team event, one of only a few times that we have.
In terms of performance it was a disappointing week, but in terms of my swing and assessing the work I did over the three weeks, it was a good week. I definitely felt that as the week went on my swing and mental game were improving.
When I look back at the rounds I can see that I left many shots out there. A combination of my rustiness and the draw ensured that I didn't get into contention this week. I am now heading to the Portugal Masters and I know that I have to leave the technical work behind and get back into playing golf and scoring.
“Last this week I gave a clinic covering all elements of the game to some local school children from the St Andrews area as part of my role as a R&A Working for Golf Ambassador. There were some interesting questions and I hope I was able to pass on some good tips.” Padraig.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Final round of four under par 68 left Padraig in a tie for 29th place with a ten under par total. Brandon Grace won the tournament with a 22 under par winning score. Padraig, starting on the back nine played well all day recording five birdies and just one bogie.
Solid third round for Padraig at St Andrews as he at long last holes some putts to shoot a six under par 66 and qualify comfortably at six under par. A very impressive Brandon Grace leads the field into the final round with a twenty under par total. Six birdies and no dropped shots made up his card and he recorded no worse than a four all day! He tees off in the final round with David Howell and Bradley Dredge at 9.55am local time. In the pro-am section, the dynamic duo failed to qualify with a seventeen under par total which was a disappointment as they are the current holders of the AT&T pro-am title.
Disappointing second round of one over par for Padraig at Kingsbarns, on a course that he has traditionally shot some very low scores. After a promising start, he was three under after seven holes but a couple of bogies and an ugly double bogey six on the 17th hole ruined his day. In the pro-am section JP McManus improved Padraigs card by an incredible nine times but the pair will struggle to qualify as the scoring is very strong in very benign conditions.
Opening round of one under par 71 leaves Padraig in a tie for 75th place after playing the hardest of the three courses, Carnoustie. Two bogies and two birdies made up his front nine as he was out in level par. Two further birdies followed on both the par 5's on the back nine but a dropped shot on the difficult par four 15th hole left him one under for the day. He is playing the Kingsbarns course Friday at 9.33am opposite Pablo Larrazabal.
Padraig is back and rearing to go after a three week break from the tour as he plays in one of his favorite events, The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The event is as usual played over three of Scotland's most famous courses, St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie and is a pro am type event. He again teams up with his regular amateur partner, JP McManus as he bids to win both the individual and the pro am section yet again. He tees of at 10.30am opposite Martin Laird on the Carnoustie links.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Preview
After three weeks off I am back in action this week at one of my favourite tournaments, The Dunhill Links Championship. I spent my three weeks at home practising, working out and generally relaxing. It was disappointing having the time off but in the end it was quite nice. I got a lot of work done that I normally have to wait till the end of the year to do. I must admit that it was very strange watching the Ryder Cup on television rather than being there - it was the first time since 1999 that I missed getting on the team, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed watching it and I was glued to the sofa. It was gripping stuff, particularly the Sunday and an amazing performance to come back from a four point deficit. I can only say well done to the lads.
This week I am playing with J.P. again. We have won here twice over the years and earlier this year we won the AT&T National Pro-am on the PGA Tour, so this year we are here looking to do the double. I got here on Monday afternoon and played nine holes at St. Andrews. Before I went out to play I spent half an hour with Pete Cowen - it was a couple of weeks since I saw him and I wanted to check how things were going. In fact, he was very happy with everything I was doing. When I got out onto the course it was a little strange as I had only played one game during my three weeks off. I was definitely a little bit rusty and still thinking about what I was working on for the last three weeks.
On Tuesday I played Kingsbarns and then St Andrews again on Wednesday. Each day I played a match with the McManus' and Dermot Desmond and as always, they were tight competitive games - in fact there were probably more putts given in the Ryder Cup than there was in the matches I played during the week. I find that these matches get me more focused on playing golf rather than thinking about my technique.
I am happy with how I am hitting it and the work that I have done is bedding down nicely; I just have to get myself to trust it. I also spent a lot of time working on my putting during my break and I can see the difference when I hit a good putt now. It is still not quite natural to me, but it is getting there.
I am looking forward to getting back into action. I have two tournaments to concentrate on, the team event and the pro event. I always enjoy playing here as I like the format and the courses. I am still looking to pick up my first win of the season, so what better place to do than here this week. I would like to have played a tournament last week to help get rid of the cobwebs but even still, I am feeling good and looking forward to playing. We are starting at Carnoustie, followed by Kingsbarns and then St. Andrews over the following days.