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.

Turkish Airlines Open

Entry Date:
Oct 31, 2017

It was very nearly a great week for me in Turkey. From round one I got myself into the mix. A good score in the first round is always nice as it can mean that you could be around the business end on Sunday. I opened up with six under on Thursday to be one behind the leaders and, hard as it may seem, I was a little disappointed as I had missed a few chances - I missed three putts for birdie in my from inside 10 feet. I played nicely and hit a lot of good iron shots and particularly some nice wedges.

Round two was disappointing as I shot 1 over par and really I should have shot at least a couple under. I put myself in good positions but struggled to get the ball close with my approach shots. When I was on the course it felt like I was falling well back but luckily the scoring wasn?t that good and I didn?t lose too much ground. It was a little frustrating as I had hit my approach shots well the previous day.

On Saturday I was much better, more like the first round. I put myself in good positions from the tee and took advantage of it with my approaches. Bar a pulled approach into the water on the 15th that cost me a bogey, the rest of the round was good. I ended up shooting 7 under par for 12 under overall, which was good enough to get me into the final group on Sunday with Shane Lowry.

I?ve played with Shane in tournaments before but never in a final group on a Sunday. It was definitely a little odd at first and it took me a couple of holes to get fully into it and concentrating on my game. It was definitely enjoyable playing with him and having someone there to have a laugh with. Hopefully we will be in that position many more times together!

In my final round there were a few crucial moments. I chipped in on the 6th for birdie, and hit a really good chip shot on the 7th to make sure I saved par. Then I had a ?hole out? on the 10th that has been shown on Twitter and Instagram - it was from 60 yards and I had been practicing that length shot on the range all week, so was feeling good about it. It will go down as one of the pars of the year. However I reckon I hit one of the best shots of my career on the 7th hole which wasn?t seen. I had hit a tree with my second shot and ended up in the middle of the woods. I was 228 yards to the front of the green and had a small gap to get it through. Before I hit it I said to Ronan that it was very risky but we didn?t have much choice and I ended up hitting a 5 iron through a tunnel of about 80 yards long to just short of the green.

While I ended up finishing 2 shots behind Justin in the end, during the round I felt that I had a chance to win. The only problem was that every time I made some headway and thought I had caught the lead, they seemed to push one ahead. For example, after I eagled the 15th, I was sure going down the 16th that I would be tied for the lead and so when I got to the green and saw Justin at 17 under I was surprised. In the end I could only par the last three holes, albeit was very close to birdieing each of them. The other guys played the last three holes very well and so it wasn?t to be my day.

I enjoyed being in the mix and having a chance to win. There?s nothing like the buzz of competing for a tournament coming down the stretch. What I was most happy about was that I hit the shots when I needed to, it just wasn?t my turn.

I left Turkey feeling good about things. I had a good week on the course and we had good craic off it. Kevin Moran and his wife Eleanor were there and we had dinner a few nights. I think he was sick of us quizzing him about football by the end of the week!!

I?m heading to Sun City and will be looking to keep the momentum going. Last week I stayed away from technical practice and spent a lot of time on my wedges and it really paid off. I will be sticking with it and hopefully it can have similar results.

Talk soon,
Padraig.

This week I am in Turkey for the Turkish Airlines Open. I'm here on an invite as I didn't finish high enough in the Race to Dubai to qualify. However, being on an invite means that the points I earn do not count on the Race to Dubai rankings, so I'm here playing for World Ranking and Ryder Cup points.

This is the second year that we are here at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort. I played here last year and really enjoyed the week; it is a very good course and a super resort. I would have to say that it is a course I would enjoy playing regularly as my practice course. Each hole is tree lined which gives it great definition and then the greens are well designed so that a good shot is rewarded but a poor one leaves you a tricky shot. The course has a number of holes that give you birdie chances, but then there are a few tough holes which if you play them well then you should shoot a good score. An example of this is the 10th hole, it has water all down the left and short of the water. In the pro-am it was playing a drive and a four iron and both shots are tough. Normally a good drive breaks the back of a hole but not the 10th and I remember this hole causing mayhem last year.

On Tuesday I played 8 holes with Shane Lowry, Paul Dunne and Eddie Pepperell. We would have played more but there was a pro-am taking place and we had to be off the course. I got some decent practice done though which was nice and then Shane and myself had a few chipping contests, which I came out on the winning side of! I must say that with Shane and Paul it feels like the old days on Tour when there was big bunch of Irish out here and we used to play and eat together.

On Wednesday I played the pro-am with a team from Ardee and we managed to win. I have a decent record in the pro-ams - I am always trying hard and want to win them, but I enjoy them so much more if I have a competitive team.

I've played nicely in practice and I am looking forward to starting the tournament. I like the golf course, it's well designed and has been toughened up since last year, but you can shoot a good score if you play well.

We are being well looked after this week. Everything is superb, but if I had one complaint I would have to say the food is too good and too plentiful, so I reckon we will all have put on at least a stone by the end of the week!

I'm playing at 11.15am on Thursday morning with Alex Levy and Joost Luiten.

Talk soon,
Padraig.

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