It wasn’t the week I was hoping for. Missing the cut was not in my plan when I arrived, my game has been good for the last couple of months and so I was very positive travelling there. What has been the bedrock of my game for the last while has been my driving of the ball. It’s amazing how much easier the game is when you are coming off the fairway. However last week I drove it poorly and as I was saying earlier in the week, there was a big premium to hitting the fairways.
My poor driving wasn’t helped by the fact that my driver head cracked on Tuesday. I had a spare one with me but it was different to what I had been using and I wasn’t anywhere near as confident with it. This showed up over the two days but even more so for me when I came to a tough driving hole like the 7th or 12th. On Thursday I hit my drive in the water on 7 and then on Friday I did the same on 12.
Overall the lack of confidence I had in my driving affected the rest of my game and put me under a lot of pressure. I didn’t do enough well in the rest of my game to make up for it and as a result I missed the cut.
I had Paddy with me for the week so we stayed down for a few days and played some golf. We are playing in the PNC Father Son Challenge again this year and he wanted to get some practice in, so we played a couple of games at Laranjal in Quinta Do Lago. I have to say that as disappointing as it was to make the cut it more than made up for it to be able to get out and play some golf with Paddy.
During my week off I will be testing a few drivers so as to be ready for Turkey next week.
Padraig missses the cut at the Portugal Matsers as he adds a second round of 74 to finish at five over par for the tournament. Starting on the back nine, he got off to a poor start and was out in one over par, recording eight pars and a bogie on the par five 12th hole. Three bogies on his next five holes put paid to him making the cut, with a lone duece on the par three 8th hole, his only birdie of the day.
Disappointing opening round of two over par 73 for Padraig in the Algarve. He got off to a steady start with five opening pars and added a duece on the par three 6th hole. But then he had an awful run around the turn as he dropped five shots in four holes. To his credit, he rallied well to pick up two of the shots coming home but will need a low round on Friday to progress to the weekend. He tees off at 8.30am local time.
Padraig plays this week on the European Tour at the Portugal Masters. It is an event that he enjoys having won here in 2016. It is, as usual, being played at the Victoria Golf Course and low scoring is guaranteed if the weather holds. Tom Lewis is the defending champion and he also won the title in 2011 to be the only double winner. Also, last year, Oliver Fisher recorded the first sub 60 round on the European Tour when he shot a 59.
Padraig plays on Thursday at 1.30pm and Friday at 9am with Mikko Korhonen and Lorenzo Gagli.
I’m in Vilamoura this week for the Portugal Masters, which was the scene of my last win on Tour back in 2016. When you return to a venue that you have had success on before it’s a great feeling – it brings a lot of positive vibes and you tend to remember all the good shots you hit as you go around the course. I can remember holing my bunker shot on the 11th and the 3 footer that I holed on the last to win. Great memories!!
I was home last week and did a lot of practice, as usual, so when I got here I had a bit of work to do to get myself back into playing mode. I spent most of my time on the range hitting wedges, trying to hit random distances. I played 9 holes with Dunners and Gavin Moynihan on Tuesday and we had a chipping competition as we were going around (which I won!!). On Wednesday I played the pro-am which was 9 holes and afterwards I did some work on my wedges again and some putting.
I’d like to have a few more days to get myself ready, but then that’s not unusual. I am hitting the ball well and have been for a while now. My stats for the last couple of months have been very good tee to green but poor on the greens. With this in mind I have worked on my putting over the past week. I’m rolling the ball well, it’s just a matter getting on a run of holing putts. Hopefully this is the week where it starts.
The course is in the best condition I have seen it. The fairways are perfect and the greens are quick and rolling lovely. The rough has been changed to Bermuda grass which makes it more difficult. Bermuda is tricky to play out of as it causes flyers, which therefore puts a premium on hitting the fairways. The fact that the greens are so good means that the scoring will be as low as always but there will probably be more of a spread in scores due to the rough.
I’m out late on Thursday at 1.30pm and then 9am on Friday with Mikko Korhonen and Lorenzo Gagli. It’s the last tournament to try and qualify for Turkey and for Paul and Gavin it’s the last chance to keep their cards. We all have lots to play for – it’s a big week!