It was not start to my 2014/15 PGA Tour season that I was looking for. To miss out on playing on Sunday was very disappointing for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it meant that I had no way to improve my position. Secondly, because I was 5 under for the week after seven holes of my third round and finished on 2 under. And thirdly, because it meant that I didn't get the opportunity to play another round which would only help for next week.
I played late (Thursday) and early (Friday), although it was really like early/early as I had tee times of 11.40am and 6.50am. The greens on the Thursday afternoon were a little tricky as they had dried out a bit and got pretty fast. I found getting the pace right on my longer putts tough work and as a result hit a few tentative putts. I holed out well but just didn't make anything of note. One under par wasn't a great score but I didn't play great so it wasn't like I had a huge amount of chances, although I did make a couple. Most of the day I was putting from distance and just looking to get down in two.
On Friday I shot two under par to finish on three under for the tournament. Again I didn't hit the ball close and so I had a lot of medium to long putts. I wasn't making any headway until my last five holes where I made three birdies in a row from the 14th and could easily have birdied the last two holes as well. While I hadn't played great over the two days I was happy to have made the cut and also that I had putted well from short distance.
On Saturday I started on the back nine and after the 16th hole I was two under for the day and five under for the week. I was cruising along, not even thinking about the Saturday cut, until I made a bad bogey on the 17th from just short of the green and then a bad drive on the 18th into the left hazard cost me a double bogey, which put me back to 2 under par and outside the cut. I struggled to get the ball close on my back nine and just wasn't able to make enough birdies. The only one I made was on the sixth where I hit a nine iron to four feet. Then a bogey on the eighth meant that I needed an eagle on the last to make the cut, but I could only make a par.
I stayed around on Sunday to do some practice as the weather and conditions were great. I had been working on stabilizing my left leg early in the week so I hit a few bags of balls working on it. By the end of the session I was feeling good about what I was doing and felt that I had made some good progress. Certainly the strike and the ball flight were much better by the end of my session.
As I mentioned, it was disappointing to miss out on playing on Sunday but I did get some good work done which should make a difference to my game for next week. I will be playing in The McGladrey Classic and confident of a better week.
This week I am starting my 2015 season on the PGA Tour in Las Vegas at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which is the first of four tournaments I am playing in here before Christmas. I have been lucky enough to get an invite this week to start my season off and as I didn't make it into any of the final four events in Europe, playing here gets me a head start on the season.
I got here on Monday afternoon after coming from Portugal and by the time I got checked in to my hotel it was too late to head to the course. To be honest I don't think I would have gone even if there was any light as I was a bit jet lagged. I ended up meeting up with a couple of guys and headed out for dinner and a drink afterwards.
On Tuesday I played a round at a course called Wolf Creek with Trevor Immelman and a kid called R.J. Wren who had been treated at the Schriners Hospital, which was great fun. R.J. was really a nice kid and fun to be around. I hit the ball very well and I don't think I could ask to hit it any better.
On Wednesday I played the tournament course in the pro-am. It was my first time seeing it this week but I played it about eight or nine years ago in this event. When I stood on the tees of each of the holes I could remember most of them which was nice. I didn't hit the ball as good as I had the day before but I did putt really well and came off the course really happy with it. I hit some poor shots at the start but by the end of the round I started to hit it pretty decent.
The course is in very good condition and by the look of the greens it will come down to a putting contest, which I am more than happy about with the way I am putting. There are plenty of birdies to be made on the course but if you start to miss the fairways it can be very tricky coming out of the rough as the ball tends come out hot. Also this week, the course is at a little bit of altitude so we have to make an adjustment of about 5% to the yardage. When you add all this up with the fact that it can get windy, it can make for interesting clubbing!
I am feeling good about my game and in particular my putting. Over the last few weeks I have felt that it has turned the corner and in fact could be better than it ever was. I really looking forward to playing this week and testing it out again.
The hardest thing about this week is actually getting yourself to play golf. Three is so much going on in this city that you feel playing a tournament means you are missing out. Every night is a party here!