It wasn’t the start to my season that I had hoped for. I went to Abu Dhabi unsure as to what would come out whilst still very hopeful of a good week, but unfortunately it didn’t work out for me. I finished on four over par and five shots outside of the cut. My 76 in round one left me too much to do. I was under pressure from the start of round two and when I didn’t make a birdie in the first two holes I was struggling and then even more so after my bogey on the 3rd hole.
The disappointing thing about the week was actually that I hit the ball well. During my first round I drove it nicely and hit some really solid iron shots. However I struggled with the putter – I missed a few chances early on and then, as the round went on, I lost confidence and hit some poor putts. I never managed to get any momentum and looking back on my round, if I had holed a putt or two in the first few holes then I would probably have kicked on and shot a few under par. Instead I was hanging in around level par for most of the round. Then on the 7th, my sixteenth, I hit an average shot which kicked off the bank into the hazard and ended up costing me a double bogey 5. Then, a three putt on the 8th and a missed four footer on the 9th, meant I signed for 76.
As I was saying earlier, a bogey on the 3rd hole of my second round kind of put paid to me making the cut. I kept going but I wasn’t able to make anything happen. In the end I shot level par and missed the cut.
It was disappointing to miss the cut as I actually hit the ball well. My poor putting display (I was -4 shots gained putting in round one) cost me. However I did some work on it after the round by putting along a chalk line on the green, which definitely helped. On Friday I felt much better about my putting. All the putts I hit ran at the hole confidently and I improved my strokes gained putting stat for the 2nd round to +1, so a 5 shot difference to the 1st round.
I was happy with how I hit the ball in both rounds. I could see that my wedge play was rusty so I will be concentrating on that this week, but I feel that I have made good progress with my putting. I’m off to Dubai next for the Dubai Desert Classic.
Padraig shoots level par in his second round but misses the cut after his poor opening round. He mixed two birdies with two bogies on the day but needed a low score as the cut fell at one under par. The event will bring him on as he has played little golf of note on course lately!
Padraig got off to a frustrating start to his season with a four over par round of 76. Starting on the back nine, he opened up with a birdie four but gave that shot back at the 13th hole. He again picked up a shot at the par five 18th, to turn in one under par. Pars followed at the next four holes before a disasterous finish where he dropped five shots in the last five holes! He will be eager to make amends Friday and tees off at 12.25pm local time!
Padraig starts his 2020 season this week on the European Tour in the first of the Rolex series of events, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. Your defending champion this week is fellow Irishman, Shane Lowry
Tee times; Padraig plays at 8am Thursday and 12.25pm Friday with Francesco Laporta and Rasmus Hojgaard.
It is the start of my season and I am in Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. My last tournament was the Father and Son at the start December and since then I’ve only played nine holes twice with Paddy. I have hit a lot of balls but nearly all of them have been indoors, as I rarely braved the cold weather outside.
It’s been quite a while since I was last here – to the best of my knowledge it was 2013. For the last while I have started my year in the States, but last year I decided that I would come back here and start my season off in Abu Dhabi. However as a result of my wrist break I missed out on coming in 2019, but this Christmas I was very careful coming down the stairs as I didn’t want to miss another Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship……
I traveled out a few days early to get some work done before the tournament week. However the weather wasn’t cooperating and the weekend was wet and chilly. On Friday night a storm came through and effectively shut down everywhere on Saturday as they are not used to getting heavy rainfall. Luckily there are indoor academies at the courses here and I spent the weekend at Pete Cowan’s in Jumeriah Golf Estates. Pete was out early as well so we did a bit of work. I showed him what I had been working on and then we got stuck into it. It was great to get his opinion on it and thoughts as to what I need to do to get it right. The only downside to this was that I never got out on a golf course. I hit balls with him but never played; pretty much what I had done for the last month! Luckily Pete liked what we were doing and what I was working on at home, but it hasn’t been great preparation for a tournament.
My practice days here have been a mixture of some technical practice and playing the course. I played 9 holes on Monday, 9 on Tuesday with Shane and Ollie Fisher and then the pro-am today. On Monday it was a bit weird to be on the course as I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing after all the balls I’ve hit in the last month. It got better over the few days but I am still a little unsure as to what will come out in the first round. I have driven the ball well but hit my irons poorish, they seem to have a little pull in them. After the pro-am I hit some balls to try and get rid of the pull, but I didn’t hit too many as I was conscious of the fact that the tournament starts tomorrow.
I would have to say I don’t feel quite ready or prepared for the first round, however I am not sure that I have ever felt any different in my first week out of the year. I’m a little nervous as to how I will play in the morning but then I think most of the field feel the same, as it’s is also the majority of players’ first week of the year. I’m waiting to see how it goes tomorrow and then I will assess where my game is at and what needs work.
I’m playing early tomorrow at 8 am (4 am Irish Time) with Rasmus Hojgaard and Francesco Laporta. I’m nervous and excited about getting my season going and I have to say it feels great.