Irish golfer Padraig Harrington tees off on the 18th hole during the 2nd round of the Portugal Masters golf tounament at Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura, southern Portugal, on October 12, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONG (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/GettyImages)
It was a week of what could have been. I finished in a tie for sixteenth but it really could have been a lot better. I gave myself a good chance to contend in the tournament after two rounds but never really got anything going over the weekend. A couple of loose shots cost me on Saturday and then from there I just wasn't able to get any momentum.
My first round was a little bit up and down. I scored badly on the front nine and then came back in four under to shoot a two under par total, which was a good score in the afternoon conditions as it was very windy, which made the course play quite tricky. I was out early on Friday morning from the tenth and I picked up where I left off on Thursday, making plenty of birdies again on the back nine (my front nine). After eleven holes I was eight under par and leading but a bad tee shot on the third hole cost me a double bogey. I did manage to pick up another shot on the fourth but gave it straight back with a three putt on the next. In the end I three putted the ninth (my final hole) to finish on four under for the day and six under total. It was a disappointing finish after been eight under at one stage, but what was really disappointing was my three putt on my last hole.
The weekend was a similar story - I played the front nine poorly and the back nine well. I'm not sure why this was as I didn't have any particular feelings about either nine. It was just one of those weeks for whatever reason.
I struggled with my alignment for the week and for some reason I just wasn't able to get comfortable with it. I also struggled with my driver a bit which was down to me using a lighter shaft. However, I changed it back for the weekend and I was much more comfortable with it in the windy conditions.
All in all it was a disappointing weekend as I didn't give myself a chance to contend on Sunday, but there were a lot of good things during the week. My putting is feeling much improved and my chipping is getting better and better every week. My long game wasn't as good as it has been but that had a lot to do with how I was feeling about my alignment. I know that I will be able to sort that out quickly when I get home.
It was great to see Shane Lowry win. He played great and deserved his victory. Over the last few years he has knocked on the door and been close so it was great to see him get his first win as a pro and I know that there will be much more to come.
Padraig continues his stay on the European tour as he competes this week in the Portugal Masters. It is being played at the Oceanico Victoria course in Vilamoura, a superb test of golf. The par 72 layout plays to nearly 7,300 yards but with good weather and smooth greens, the professionals regularly shoot very low scores! Padraig tees off at 12.50pm local time with rising star Thorbjørn Olesen and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Portugal Masters - Preview
This week I am in slightly warmer climes, Portugal. While last week experienced brilliant weather for this time of year in Scotland, the weather this week in the Algarve is fantastic. It has been beautiful for the practice days, with not a cloud in the sky and t-shirt weather, perfect for golf. It has been so nice that it is tempting to sit by the pool and relax, so I have to keep reminding myself that I am here to play a tournament.
I got here on Sunday night and went to the course on Monday afternoon, although I didn't do too much as last week was a long one. Pete Cowen was here on Monday so I spent some time working on a few things with him. We pretty much had the range to ourselves, which was great. After working with Pete I did some wedge practice and then some putting practice. It was a good days work as I got everything done that I wanted to.
On Tuesday I played nine holes with Peter Lawrie; I don't get the chance to play much with him as most of the year we are playing a different schedule. So when we are at the same tournament we try to get a practice round in and a couple of dinners. It was good fun playing with him, going through the old stories and catching up with new ones. I was happy with how I played and there wasn't anything I could really complain about. The course hasn't changed much since last year, although the third hole has been reduced to a par four. Also, there is less rough this year which makes some of the holes much easier.
On Wednesday I played in the morning pro-am and again I was happy with how I played. I got to see the whole course and got a good feel for the way it will play. When I started out it was flat calm but by the end of the round it had got quite windy. All in all I am happy with where I am at. I have spent a lot of time working on my putting and it is beginning to feel much better. I know that if I can putt well then I have a very good chance to win any week. This week will come down to who holes the putts as the course is playing quite a bit easier than last year.
I am feeling good and looking forward to playing. I have received a late/early draw which means that I get a lie in on Thursday morning which I am quite happy about.