It was a week of what could have been in both the individual and team event. I finished on two under par for the week to finish inside the top 30 and in the team event we finished in a tie for 11th. When JP and I went back over the week we had left a lot of shots behind us and we only finished eight behind the eventual winner. For me, I lost my tournament in the middle of my third round at Monterey Peninsula CC, dropping six shots in three holes to go from second place at the time to just inside the cut mark.
As it turned out I got the best of the rotation this year as I played Spyglass on the worst day; playing it on a windy day is a good break as it has more shelter than the other courses. I opened up at Pebble and shot level par, which was a poor return on the day. We were delayed for a couple of hours just before we went out as there was heavy rain. When we did get out the weather was perfect and so level par was not a good score. The second day was at Spyglass and I played very nicely to shoot three under par; I could have been one or two better but that would have meant holing everything. It was a good return and moved me right up the leaderboard. On day three I was at Monterey and it was very windy again. I started out well, making a birdie on the second but then three putted the fourth for bogey. When we were on the fairway of the fifth we were called in due to the wind at Pebble Beach and sat around for about two hours before we got back out. When we did I birdied he fifth, sixth, eighth and tenth to be seven under par for the tournament and in second place. I was flying along but then I pulled my shot into the 11th and made bogey, but the next two holes ended my chances. I took a triple bogey eight on the 12th and then a double bogey six on the 13th. On the 12th, I was in two bushes and a drain and actually made a good triple and then on the 13th I hit my second into another bush and had to take a penalty drop. Unfortunately JP struggled on those holes as well. I battled well coming in and ended up playing the last five holes in one under to finish the day one over par. I was very happy to be finished.
On Sunday I didn't play as well as I had during the week - I missed a lot of greens with iron shots having driven the ball well. However the good thing was that I chipped and putted well. I made several really good up and downs. In the end I finished on level par to shoot two under for the week and a share of 27th position.
Considering how I was going at one stage I was disappointed, but then I could easily have missed the cut with the way I was going on Saturday so, all in all, it wasn't a bad week. I am coming away happy with how I putted, as well as my driving and my chipping. I know that I need to do a bit of work on my iron play but that is something for the range next week. There were a lot of good things, enough that I am looking forward to playing again this coming week.
This week I am back in Monterey for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am. As for the Dunhill Links Championship I am playing with my good friend J.P. This is one of the most enjoyable weeks of the year for me, I really like the courses and the company is great. I partner JP and we play opposite Dermot Desmond and Rafa Carbera Bello for three days. It's great playing with friends as the rounds can be lengthy, but when you are with people you know it never seems that long.
This is a week that I always look forward to as the courses really suit me. They are not too different to what we would play at home and the conditions can be very similar too. I have had some good weeks here and some poor ones, but I always feel that this is a week where I have a good chance to win. I arrived on Sunday afternoon and watched the Super Bowl, which was a complete day off golf. On Monday I played Pebble with Paul McGinley, Retief Goosen and Dermot, whilst the weather was great. You really couldn't get a better day for golf here. It has been a long time since I played with Paul and we had a good time.
I have played at least nine holes on each of the courses that we are playing this week in practice - 13 holes at Pebble on Monday, 18 at Monterey Peninsula on Tuesday with JP and Gerry McManus and then 9 at Spyglass on Wednesday. I know the courses well so I wasn't too worried about playing 18 holes every day. I played nicely in practice, the only issue I have is that I am lacking in swing speed, which has been down for a while now and I am not sure why. I spent quite a bit of time working on it this week and managed to move it up on the range which tells me that it is there. I just need to figure out how to get it up on the golf course. I am happy with the rest of my game and have done some work on my wedges since last week and they seem to be better. Overall I am feeling good and looking forward to playing this week.
I find with this format of tournament that I get more into the team event than my own score which actually helps me play better as I am not thinking about my game. The distraction of the team is a big help to me, whilst for many pros it is actually the opposite.
This is my last week to qualify for the Accenture Matchplay - to have any chance I have to win this week and even with that I am not sure if it would be enough, but I am not thinking about it at all. I know that I can't win the tournament on Thursday and the key for me is to get myself into a position on Sunday where I have a chance to win and take it from there.
We are starting our week at Pebble Beach at 9.06am our time. The courses are in great condition and the weather has been great in practice but the forecast is not good for tomorrow. By the sounds of it we will be playing in the rain all day, but that's not something that really bothers me.