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.

Valspar Championship

Entry Date:
Mar 13, 2014

Valspar Championship.
Final round of 74 sees Padraig finish in a tie for 65th place at the Valspar Championship. A birdie start was followed by a dropped shot and a double bogie to leave him struggling all day. He dropped another shot on the 9th hole where he failed to get up and down out of a greenside bunker to be out in four over par. Two bogies were mixed with two birdies on the way home including a nine foot putt on the last to sign off the week in style!

Third round of 72 for Padraig could have been so much better. He got off to a slow start with eight pars and a bogie on the ninth hole. Three more pars followed before he birdied the next three holes to put himself in a nice position. Alas, he finished bogie, double bogie to ruin a good days work. He still makes the final round cut and will be hoping for a low round Sunday.

Fine second round of one under par sees Padraig qualify on the mark. Out early and starting on the front nine, he got off to the hot start he needed as he covered the opening nine holes in two under par. Three pars followed to start his back nine but he dropped his first shot of the day at the par three 13th hole. He hit back immediately with a birdie four on the next but suffered at the hands of the "snake pit" with dropped shots on the 16th and 17th holes. Needing a birdie on the last he hit a long drive followed by a approach shot to eleven feet which he holed for a pleasing finish under pressure. Padraig has recorded ten under par here a few years back so still plenty to play for over the weekend in a very bunched field.

Disappointing opening round for Padraig in Florida as he shoots a four over par 75. Starting on the back nine, he recorded two bogies and seven pars. There was not much better news on the front nine as he recorded three more bogies. His only bright spot was a holed bunker shot on the short par three 8th hole for his solitary birdie of the day. His putting gained statistic on the field was a very disappointing plus two strokes. Three under par leads the field and with the cut line around the plus one or two mark, Padraig will need a hot start to his second round. He tees off early at 7.50am local time.

Padraig returns to the USPGA tour for a four week stretch starting with the Valspar Championship. It is being played at the Innisbrook course in Copperhead, Florida and provides a stern test of golf. The course is famous for its finishing three holes known as the "snake pit". They are ranked as the fifth hardest stretch of holes on the US tour and cause havoc every year! Kevin Streelman defends this week. Padraig tees off at 12.40pm local time with big hitting, John Daly and Brian Stuard.

This week I am in Tampa, Florida for the Valspar Championship, which is the first of a four week run for me. I am not in the Masters as yet and to qualify I need to win one of these events.

I have played here a few times and enjoy the course, which provides a really good test. There is a good mix of holes, a few that you feel you should make birdie on and then a few where par is a good score on. A few years ago I shot ten under par in the first round so I have good memories.

I got here on Monday evening, played nine holes on Tuesday and then the pro-am on Wednesday. On Tuesday I did some testing for Wilson with their 2015 equipment. They have some new long FG Tour Prototype irons that are half way between an iron and a hybrid. I really liked them and will be using the 2 and 4 irons this week. They are easier to hit than my previous long irons, go a little further and fly a little higher, which is everything you want in a long iron.

In the 27 holes I have played so far I have struggled with a big cut. I was at home last week practising as usual and it would seem that I have overdone a couple of things. I have spent quite a bit of time on the range working on trying to get my body and arms timed better. This is tight course and so hitting a big cut is not ideal, especially in a left to right wind, so I am hoping that it will have sorted itself out by Thursday morning. It has been happening mainly with my driver and the only good thing is that there are not that many driver holes here. That said I am not feeling confident with any club, so I am really not sure what to expect on Thursday. Hopefully my timing will have sorted itself out and the practice days are only a blip.

This is not a very low scoring course and normally around 10-12 under par wins. The key to playing well here is to keep the ball in play and to take your chances when you get them. There are a couple of reachable par fives that you feel you should birdie, but also a few holes where par is a good score. The last three holes fall into the latter category - the 16th has water off the tee and dog-legs right, with a tough drive and then a long second. The 17th is a long par three with a tricky green and the 18th is a tight drive followed by a second shot uphill to a very tricky green. On these holes you are generally trying to hold onto your score.

I am out late/early this week with John Daly and Brian Stuard. After my practice days I have little expectation but we will have to wait and see what happens.

Padraig.

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