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.

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Entry Date:
Oct 2, 2018

As always I really enjoyed the week in St. Andrews for the Dunhill Links Championship. I finished in a tie for 7th, which helps to make it enjoyable, but it's not the only reason. This is one of our best tournaments of the year and every year we come back it gets even better.

After a long week in France at the Ryder Cup where my focus was on the team, it was a little strange to get back to playing and doing things for myself. Having spent the week watching the lads play I was itching to get back to it myself. Also it was nice to come to a tournament that I have had great success in over the years.

During the course of the week I played some lovely golf and then some average stuff. On Thursday in the strong winds I played really well. I was in Kingsbarns for the first round, which was probably the best place to be as the course is quite playable in the wind. That said the scoring wasn?t great, but yet, I felt that I left a few shots behind me. I missed from less than 2 feet on one hole when I went to tap it in and somehow missed it and also three putted the 9th for a par. Still my three under was a good solid round. Then on Friday in Carnoustie, on about as easy a day as we will get around there, I was very ropey. I was up and down all day, making birdies and bogeys. The best I got to was one under at any stage, but in the end I shot level par. It was disappointing as the course was very playable but considering how I played, I felt it was a good score. I could so easily have shot a couple over par and have blown myself out of the tournament. On the weekend I played St. Andrews both days. The funny thing about my round on Saturday was that I missed a lot of chances and still shot three under. I made an eagle and two birdies but I felt that the course played easy and so thought I was going backwards. However it didn't really work out that way. I finished the day in 19th position which was a lot better than I expected.

On Sunday we started early with a shotgun start as the forecast was for high winds in the afternoon. It was a great idea by the tour as it meant that there was no risk to not finishing the tournament. The morning was bitterly cold and it got pretty windy early on. I started on the 15th which, as it turned out, was a good draw. I started out very ropey, making a great par on the 15th and then another one on the 16th. I could so easily have bogeyed both but the pars steadied me and from there on I played very nicely. On a tough day I managed to keep a bogey off my card and make three birdies. Like every golfer I would have liked to make one more birdie, however I made three good par saving putts on my last three holes so I can't complain. I finished on 9 under par for the week and a share of 7th place. I was never in contention for the tournament but it was still a very good week. Looking back on the week I definitely left a number of shots behind me. I grazed the hole so many times it was hard to believe, however I am happy with my performance. I played some really good stuff during the week and the times I was off, I managed to hang in there and keep myself going.

Unfortunately JP and myself missed the cut in the team event. We just never quite got going in and were left with too much to do on Saturday to make it to Sunday. However, as always, we had a great time.

It's on to Walton Heath for the British Masters now. I'm looking forward to playing as I can see that my game is trending the right direction.

Talk soon,
Padraig.

After a great week in Paris at the Ryder Cup watching and stressing over other people's golf, I'm now in St. Andrews for the Dunhill Links Championship, which is one of my favourite weeks of the year. I've been coming here ever since I turned professional, originally in the old team event and then in its current format.

As far as I can remember I haven't missed a year since I have been eligible to play. Everything about this week is great; the courses, the company and most importantly of all, the craic. In fact the only problem with this week is that there is a tournament going on and we have to keep things serious.

I'm coming into this week after not playing golf for 11 days and 9 of those days I didn't even hit a shot. When I got out on the course on Wednesday in Kingsbarns I have to admit it felt weird. Nine days without hitting a shot is a long time for me!

I went home for a couple of days after the Ryder cup, so have only had one practice round this week. I played Kingsbarns with Shane, Dunners and our latest professional, Rob Dawson. We played a little match and the old guys managed to knick the money. It was great craic and nicely competitive, exactly what I needed.

I played a little ropey, which I wasn't surprised by, but there were enough good shots for me not to be worrying.

I'm partnering with J.P. as always and look forward to playing with him all year. We have won it a couple of times, the last one in 2006. I really like the format, as the team element helps take my mind off my own game.

We are starting in Kingsbarns on Thursday at 10.50am with Brandon Stone. The forecast is for strong winds so, it will be a case of grinding it out. I'm looking forward to getting going, especially after watching so much golf the last week.

Talk soon,
Padraig.

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