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.

Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation

Entry Date:
Oct 17, 2017

I'm leaving Valderamma frustrated, as always. I finished in a tie for 27th but it feels like I should have done a bit better. I think that the course, more than most others, leaves you with the thought of what could have been - in each of my rounds I sense that I should have scored better, but I don't think there is a player in the field that doesn't have those same feelings.

My four rounds were solid without ever setting the world alight, although in both my weekend rounds I had the chance to shoot low scores. On Friday I shot two under par with a bogey on the short par four 8th and a double bogey on the 9th. My Sunday round showed signs of something good but a missed four footer for birdie on the 11th stopped my momentum and then in the next five holes I made four bogeys. Over the week I played well enough to easily finish in the top-10 but a few missed putts put paid to it.

The style of golf that the course requires is not my favourite and I have always found it a tough one to play. That said I have performed well there over the years, so it is not a case of me not being able to play the course. As I said, if a few putts drop and if I had played the 9th hole in anyway decent, rather than the 5 over that I played it in, then I could easily have been near the top of the leaderboard.

There were a lot of good things in my game this week. I got back to doing some good work on my wedge play and as the week went on I could see the benefit of it. My putting felt very uncomfortable at the start of the week but after some work it came around and I rolled the ball well all week. I missed a few putts, but it was more to do with not trusting the break I saw rather than hitting bad putts.

While I am leaving frustrated I am happy with what I am seeing in my game. I will play 3 or 4 tournaments before I finish up for the year and I know that I am hitting the ball well enough to have a good finish to my season.

Talk soon,
Padraig.

This is the final week of the regular season on the European Tour and so the last week to qualify for the final three tournaments in Turkey, Sun City and Dubai. This year our final counting event is being held at Valderamma, the Andalucia Masters. It?s been a long time since I have played here, which I think was the final Volvo Masters event in 2008. It?s a little strange to come back as for so long this was the marker for your season. If you were playing here at the end of the season then you were in the top-60 on the Order of Merit. Now we have the Race to Dubai for that pleasure.

I have always battled with Valderamma - it?s a course that I find extremely tough and not necessarily high on my list of favorites, however over the years I have had some very good results here. While I have never managed to win, I have finished second 3 times I think and one of those second places won me the 2006 Order of Merit title. I suppose I am not the only person that finds its tough and so that?s probably why I have done okay on it over the years. I am not afraid of tough courses, at times they make me focus better than an easy course.

This year I am here in need of a good result to qualify for the end of season events. My last two weeks haven?t helped in my quest to make it all the way to Dubai so I am left with this week to make a big step towards it. I only got in on Tuesday night due to the storm back home on Monday. Luckily I had been down in Spain a few weeks ago with some friends and we played the course so I am not too stressed about not getting here until late.

I played the Wednesday pro-am which was only nine holes, for me the back nine. After the pro-am I did some practice mainly on my putting - I didn?t putt great in Italy and so I spent a couple of hours working on it. I felt a little uncomfortable at the start but by the end I was beginning to feel good over the ball. Other than putting, I just hit a few wedge shots and did some chipping and bunker practice. The nine hole pro-am makes it a lot easier to get some work done as you are not as tired after it.

The course is in great condition as ever. While it?s a course I find tough and difficult it is one you have to respect. There are plenty of shots that you have to give your full attention to, otherwise you can end up in a world of trouble.

I?m playing late Thursday and early Friday with Jon Rahm and Martin Kaymer. I?ve played with Martin many times but never with Jon, so I?m looking forward to seeing him up close.

This is an interesting week as everyone has their own personal battles. For me it is trying to qualify for Turkey but for a number of players here it is about trying to keep their cards. All the sub-plots add to the week and the viewing.

Talk soon,
Padraig.

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