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I left Hamburg happy with how I played and with the 12th place finish I had at the Porsche European Open. It was a good solid week in terms of my play; I could have been a few shots better but I also could have been a few worse. Of my four rounds I left a few shots behind in rounds 1 and 3. These were the rounds I played my best and gave myself some very good chances. In rounds 2 and 4 I would say I didn’t play as well but scored ok.
I knew when I played the course in practice that if the win blew it would be a seriously tough test and that is what we got in the first round. I played in the afternoon and it was seriously windy with a few showers. I played well but missed a couple of good birdie chances and made a double bogey in my round of 1 under. If I had putted well I could have shot 5 or 6 under. The conditions were tough and caused a lot of problems for my fellow pros; I have to admit I would have liked it if the whole week was like it was for round one!
The rest of the week the weather was a lot better, as was the overall scoring. Unfortunately I didn’t take advantage of it on Friday morning. I shot 2 over par to make the cut on +1. I didn’t play as well as Thursday and then I missed a couple of putts too. That said, with the run I have been on, it was good to make the cut without any stress.
My weekend contained some really good stuff and I am very happy with what I saw. On Saturday I played well and hit the ball quite close but didn’t convert enough of the chances I created. I birdied my last three holes to shoot 4 under but on the back nine alone I missed 3 birdie chances from 8 feet or less. After my round I did some putting practice and I noticed that at times I was a bit loose with my finish. I am always saying to people to hold their finish in the full swing so I did this with my putting. I worked on finishing on every putt as I would if I had hit a good putt and by the end of my practice session it was feeling a lot better.
On Sunday I didn’t hit the ball as well as the other days but I putted much better. It’s only one day so it’s hard to say if it was down to the holding of my finish but it certainly felt a lot better and I came off the course able to say I didn’t miss a putt that I felt I should hole. My strokes gained putting for Sunday was only slightly positive but that was because I was holing putts from 10 feet and in. I generally hit the ball pretty close to the flag or else miss the green, so I don’t normally end up with the long putts that help your strokes gained putting statistic.
Overall I am happy with my week. I drove the ball well on what was a tough driving course. I hit the ball pretty close with my irons and my putting on Sunday was very good. I have known I have been hitting the ball well for a while now but when you are not converting the birdie chances it makes the game hard. I feel that the discovery with my putting on Saturday will be a big help going forward, so I’m looking forward to next week’s KLM Open to see how it goes.
A superb final round of three-under-par 69 sees Padraig finish tied 12th with a six-under-par total and gives him his joint best finish in 2019. His previous best was a tied 12th at the Byron Nelson Classic back in May! He played steadily all day after opening with a birdie at the first hole. He picked up another shot at the par-four 7th hole before his only dropped shot at the par-five 9th hole. He then started for home with five straight pars before a couple of birdies to finish put a smile on his face.
A fine third round of four under par 68 sees Padraig climb the leaderboard nearly into the top ten as he shows a lot of class around this very tough layout. He got off to a nice start with a deuce on the par-three second hole but gave that back at the 4th hole. He dipped under par again at the 9th hole to be out in one under par. A dropped shot started the back nine but then a terrific run of four birdies in the last seven holes, including three to finish, putting him in a nice position going into Sunday!
Padraig shoots a second round of two over par 74 but will be good enough to make the cut for the weekend and at present is only six shots out of the lead! He got off to a terrible start with three dropped shots in his first five holes but buckled down well to cover the remaining thirteen holes in one under par recording two birdies and one bogey. The course is playing extremely tough with two under par being the best of the morning play!
Padraig opens his account in Germany with a solid round of one-under-par to lie in 13th place after the opening day of the Porsche European Open. He got off to the perfect start with a birdie on his opening hole but dropped three shots in the space of two holes to be two over par after six holes. He fought back well with three birdies around the turn and then added another on the par-five 15th hole to get to two under par with three holes to play. Disappointingly he dropped one more shot coming home but it was a good days work after a poor start. He tees off early Friday at 7.50am local time!
Padraig is playing this week on the European Tour at the Porsche European Open in Hamburg, Germany. It is being played at the Green Eagle Golf Course which has wide fairways but plenty of water to keep the competitors on guard! A stellar field tees it up this week with American PGA Tour players such as Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar, and Xander Schauffele all playing. Richard McEvoy is your defending champion who won with an eleven under par score. It was his first win on Tour after 285 attempts!
Padraig tees off Thursday at 12.50pm local time with Jordan Smith and Adri Arnaus.
This week I am in Hamburg for the Porsche European Open. It’s been quite a few years since I have played here in Hamburg, which used to be a regular stop for me back when I stared out on tour. This week we are playing the Green Eagle Golf Course – it’s my first time playing the course but the third time the tournament has been held here.
I got in on Monday night so that I could play the course on Tuesday. I did some practice on Tuesday morning with Pete Cowan; I hadn’t seen him for a while so it was good to catch up with him and have him watch me hitting balls. He had a few pointers for me but in general he was happy with what I was working on. After lunch I went out on the course and played 13 holes; the first 4 and the back 9. It is some golf course and could be the longest of the year. However, it is not only long, it has water on nearly every hole and on a lot of holes it is on both sides of the fairway. Driving the ball well is key but while it is a long course it doesn’t necessarily give the long hitters an automatic advantage. All bar one of the 5 par fives are pretty much out of range, unless they move the tees up, so everyone is laying up. A few of the par fours are similar in that everyone is hitting to the same spot off the tee. This bears out in the fact that last two winners have been more straight hitters than long hitters.
On Wednesday I played the afternoon pro-am and got to see the 5 holes I missed out on Tuesday, which were equally as tough as the other 13! It was good to see the course again and get a feel for how it plays.
This is a course for the future, by that I mean they have built it with the golfer of 10/15 years time in mind. It’s a “big” test with a host of tough tournament shots. It would be a great course to have as your home course as it would get you to hit the ball long and have a number of tough tournament shots to play. I played solid in the pro-am, made a few birdies and did enough to get a good feel for my game. Unfortunately we didn’t do any good as a team.
I’m interested to see how the course plays in the tournament. There’s a lot of times we come to courses and they play tough in practice but then they get easier as the week goes on. A lot will depend on the course set-up with regard to the tees and also the pin placements. The greens are quite undulating which makes two putting from distance quite tricky. I see this as a tough course and would expect the scoring to reflect this.
I’m playing late on Thursday at 12.50pm with Adri Arnaus and Jordan Smith.
Catch up with Padraig’s busy playing schedule as well as finding out what he’s doing off the course, from his role as the R&A’s Working for Golf Ambassador, to the work he does raising awareness for the Special Olympics and as Ireland’s Golf Ambassador.