Another disappointing day for Padraig as a spirited finish sees him miss the cut by one at the Italian Open. Starting on the back nine, he got off to the perfect start with a birdie three on the 10th hole. He did drop a shot on the short par three 14th hole but picked it up again on the par five 17th hole to be out in one under par. He again dipped under par at the first hole but two dropped shots in the next three holes left him with a mountain to climb to make the cut. He rallied well with two quick birdies but couldn’t find another one and angonisingly missed the cut by just one shot.
A disappointing day for Padraig in Italy as he shoots a round of three over par 74. He swapped two birdies with two bogies to be out in level par and was still level par playing the par five 15th hole. He unfortunately made a double bogey there but picked up a shot at the par five 17th hole. But another double bogey at the last made it a day to forget. He is out early Friday and will need a low round to progress to the weekend.
A star-studded field, including Justin Rose, tees it up this week at the Italian Open, the fifth event of this seasons Rolex Series. which means massive Ryder Cup points are available to make Padraig’s team next September. Francesco Molinari is back playing on home soil for the first time since winning the Open Championship so he should receive a rapturos welcome for the home crowds. The last time the event was played at Olgiata Golf Club was back in 2002 when Ian Pouter won. The championship has been played ever since 1925 and this year is the 76th staging of the event. Your defending champion this week is Thorbjorn Olesen who is not playing. The prize fund is a cool $7 million dollars.
Padraig tees off at 1.20 pm Thursday and 8.40 am Friday with Benjamin Hebert and Victor Perez.
While I was off from tournament play last week it was still a busy one. I was in Whistling Straights for Ryder Cup “Year to Go” activities, which involved some media and promotional commitments with Steve Stricker, the US Captain. As it turned out I only had a few days at home before I came out here to Rome for the Italian Open.
The last time the Italian Open was held here at Olgiata Golf Club was in 2002 and I am told I finished in a tie for 6th. I have to admit that I don’t remember anything from 2002. Normally once I get out on the course it comes back to me, but not this week.
Seeing as I couldn’t remember the course, I’m glad that I have played nearly all the holes twice in practice. On Tuesday I played 16 holes with Dunners, whilst Shane played the front nine with us. Then I had the pro-am on Wednesday.
Like pretty much all the courses I have played in Italy, it is a super lay out. They have stretched it out quite a bit since 2002 and it now measures just over 7,600 yards. It may well be the course that I hit the most drivers on this year and it also has the potential to be the course that I hit more long irons on as the greens are huge. Nearly every hole can play another 20 yards longer by pushing the pins to the back of the greens.
It will be a good test this week. The course has good length and it is important to be coming off the fairway as much as possible. The greens are rolling nicely but if you miss them it is a tricky place to get up and down as the ball can sit down in the grass and make chipping quite difficult. I really like the course – if you hit a good shot it is rewarded and if you hit a poor one you are punished, either by having an exceptionally long putt or a tough chip.
While I was only home for a few days I did manage to hit a lot of balls in that time. It meant that on Tuesday I was a little messed up in terms of what I was doing but by the end of the pro-am I had sorted it out. I am pretty happy with how I am hitting the ball and there was enough good stuff in the two days for me to see that what I am working on is correct. I got to see Pete to have him check everything out and he was happy.
The only area that is giving me any real concern at the moment is my putting. I have been playing nicely from tee to green but my putting has been letting me down. It’s a combination of a few things but ultimately it comes down to not being confident as I am not seeing the ball go in the hole. I have to keep reminding myself that all I can do is hit good putts and to let the rest happen.
I’m excited about playing here this week as I really like the course. The fact that I did well here in 2002 is also a boost, even if I can’t remember it. Knowing that you have done well on a course before adds confidence.
I’m playing late on Thursday and early Friday with Victor Perez and Benjamin Herbert. With only a few tournaments left to qualify for Turkey I am in need of some good finishes, so it would be great to get started this week.