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Another missed cut! Similar to the previous week it was very disappointing, as I could so easily have made the cut.
Whilst I finished on 9 over for the two rounds, it was actually the first round that put me under pressure. I played very nicely on Thursday and ended up shooting 2 over par, which was the worst score I could have shot. In my opening four holes I could easily have made three birdies, but actually made none. I just didn’t convert any of the makeable birdie putts I gave myself. For my round I made only one birdie and that was on the 16th after I hit the green in two. I started on the back nine and made a bogey on the 11th and the birdie on the 16th to be level par. I was still level playing the 4th (my 13th), pushed my drive right into the rough which plugged and we weren’t able to find it – it was a big blow as had I found it I would have been able to go for the green with a five wood. However, I had to go back to the tee and play another ball, which I made a four with for a 6 on the hole. I made pars on the 5th and 6th and then hit my tee shot on the 7th to 3 feet. I had this to get me back to level par but unfortunately I missed it, which was another big blow after such a good tee shot. Then on my last hole, the 9th, which was playing into a strong wind, I hit a good drive but pulled my 4 iron into the greenside trap. My bunker shot ran out too much and I missed the putt for par, which all meant that I shot 2 over par, which was very annoying as I had played a lot better. Had I holed the putt on 7 and then made par on the 9th I would have come off the course happy with level par but 2 over meant that I was on the back foot going into Friday.
The conditions on Friday were a lot harder – it was very windy and the course was playing tough. When I was heading out I knew that a level par round would make the cut. As it turned out I could have shot 1 over and made it. However I got off to the worst possible start; I hooked my three wood out of bounds left on the first and then three putted with my second ball for a triple bogey 7, which left me too much work to do. On such a tough day trying to force birdies meant that it ended up going the other way on me. I shot 79 in the end and was under pressure to break 80 with 2 holes to play – after hitting my tee shot in the water on 17, I had to hole a good putt for bogey and then on 18, I made a good up and down from the bunker.
All in all it was a disappointing week. I struggled with my putting and if you’re not holing putts it is very hard to compete. I know I am playing well enough from tee to green to be competing but my putting is holding me back. I was -2.5 shots gained putting, whilst the rest of my stats were poor as a result of my bad second round. During my week off I will be concentrating on my putting and trusting my reading of the greens.
A day to forget for Padraig as he shoots a 79 to miss the cut at Bay Hill. He got off to the worst possible start with a triple bogey seven on the first hole after finding trouble off the tee and then three putting the green. Two more dropped shots followed before he picked up a birdie on the par four 8th hole where he holed a bomb! The back nine was more of the same with a couple of penalty shots and just one birdie at the par five 16th hole where he hit the green in two.
Opening round of two over par 74 for Padraig at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Starting on the back nine, he dropped an early shot on the par four 11th hole after finding two bunkers on the hole. He regained that shot at the par five 16th where he hit the green in two and two putted for his birdie. Two dropped shots coming home were caused by a penalty shot on the par five 4th hole and another sand excursion on his final hole. He currently lies in 80th place so has some work to do. Seven under par leads.
Padraig plays this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill which continues the Florida swing! European players have taken the title for the last two years as Francesco Molinari and Rory McIlroy collected the trophy. It also was a favourite haunt of Tiger Woods who has won here a staggering eight times. Rory is back but will face stiff opposition from a number of recent winners on tour! Defending champion Molinari also plays as does Brooks Koepka.
Thursday 6.57am Friday 11.47am with Mark Hubbard & Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
I’ve moved a couple of hours down the road to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. I arrived here on Tuesday afternoon as I had some commitments on Monday night in Miami. I’ve played the here many times so it wasn’t that big a deal for me to get in here late. I also had a corporate outing on Tuesday afternoon, so when I did get here I only had a couple of hours to do any work.
The first thing I did was to do some work with Quintic, the putting people I use. I hit putts on their system for about 20 minutes. It was very worthwhile as they pointed out that my ball position needed to be moved back in my stance a bit. They also noted from the analysis that my stroke was very good and the impact improved once the ball was moved back. I haven’t been holing putts but have felt I have been hitting good putts, so to hear that the fundamentals are sound was a good confidence booster. By the time I finished working on my putting I only had 20 minutes to hit balls before I had to leave. Pete Cowen had a quick look at me to check that everything was okay and then I headed off.
On Wednesday I played the morning pro-am and for the most part I hit the ball well. My putting felt a little uncomfortable with the ball position moved back but the putts came off the putter well and definitely held their line. After the round I had it checked again. The data from the system was very positive; it feels uncomfortable but at least I know it’s correct.
I hit wedges for about 30 minutes in between a couple of putting sessions. I am committed to not hitting my wedges hard and so I wanted to get some practice in. I know that if I practice hitting them easy then I strike them a lot better.
The golf course is in very good condition but playing tough. The rough is up and there ate a few new tees since I was last here. It certainly played long in the morning pro-am.
I am playing at 6.57am on Thursday morning and then 11.47am on Friday morning with Mark Hubbard and Christian Bezuidenhout. I’m very happy with my long game and having worked on my wedges over the weekend, I’m looking forward to playing to see how my practice has worked out.
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.