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It was a tough week for me as I was struggling with my game. I wasn’t getting any sort of decent strike on the ball, particularly with my driver. However I was able to figure out a way of getting the ball round with my irons, but when it came to my driver I was found out. This, added to taking a 10 on my fourth hole of the tournament, made for a long and tough week.
The fourth hole is a reachable par five around water – I pulled my drive into the water and then hit a three wood in the water again for my 5th shot. I should have been making the carry easily with my three wood but at that stage I wasn’t aware of how much speed I had dropped due to my poor striking. I laid up with my 7th shot and then pitched on and two putted for a 10. It’s been a long time since I made double figures on a hole.
However I never gave up and I looked upon it as a bigger challenge. For the rest of my round I shot 2 under for a round of 3 over par. I was actually disappointed that I didn’t shoot level par as there were enough opportunities on the course to get myself back to level, I just didn’t take them.
In round two, even though I was still struggling with my strike I managed myself around the course well. I actually did something that I don’t think I have ever done before by hitting 18 greens in regulation. It’s funny, if I had been asked how I could hit 18 greens in regulation I would have thought I would have to be playing really playing well, whereas I managed it whilst struggling with my game. On the back of this, I shot 66 to get myself to three under par.
However my game wasn’t in good enough shape to kick on from my round on Friday. The weekend was poor for me, it was more in line with how I was striking it. I shot rounds of 75 and 72 to finish in a tie for 62nd. All in all, it was a disappointing week.
The practice I did at home the previous week has caused me to lose my strike and put me under pressure last week. If you drove the ball well then the course was there for the taking. Unfortunately I had no confidence from the tee and it showed up in my scores.
I’m off to Sun City now. Pete Cowan won’t be there, but Mike Walker, who works with him, will be, so I will be doing some work with Mike to get myself sorted before play starts on Thursday.
A final round of level par was a disappointment in the end for Padraig. He got off to the perfect start with an eagle three on the par five 11th hole and then added two more birdies to get to four under par after six holes. But it all went astray from there as he dropped three shots and also took a double bogey six on the short but tight par four 17th hole. Padraig now heads for Sun City for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the 7th event in the Rolex series. Padraig shot one of the lowest rounds of his career when he shot a 61 at the Gary Player Country Club back in 2001!
Third round of two over par 74 for Padraig at the Turkish Airlines Open. Starting on the back nine, he was out in one over par after trading two dropped shots with a birdie. He started back by making a birdie on the par five first hole but a double bogey six on the par four third hole ruined his day. He finished with a birdie but will be looking for a low round on Sunday!
Superb second round of 66 for Padraig as he delivers a blemish free round of six birdies and no dropped shots. After the two visits to the water in his first round, he was foot perfect all the way and could have been even lower as a number of putts just didn’t drop. He will be out early Saturday and will be hoping for more of the same!
Padraig shoots an opening round of three over par 75 but the story of the round was a ten on the par five 4th hole. He was out in two under par after starting on the back nine, but the ten derailed his round. He finished from there in level par and a low round is required Friday to get back in contention but he has been playing well so anything is possible!
Padraig plays this week on the European Tour at the Turkish Airlines Open. It is the sixth of the Rolex Series events in the Race to Dubai. The man to beat this week is Justin Rose who has won the tournament for the last two years and bids to become the first player in almost twenty years to win three consecutive European Tour events. The event is back at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal golf course having last been played there in 2015. The prize fund is, as usual for a Rolex event, enormous with a 7 million dollar purse and valuable Race to Dubal points. Padraig plays this week on an invite!
Padraig tees off at 11.30am in the opening round Thursday with Victor Perez & Matthias Schwab.
This week it’s the Turkish Airlines Open at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal. It’s back here after a break of 3 years. Unfortunately I didn’t qualify automatically to be here from the Race To Dubai rankings, so I’m playing on an invite, which means that I can’t qualify for the finale of the Race to Dubai in two weeks as the points I will earn will not count. However, it’s great to have received an invite as I really like this tournament.
I’ve played on this course twice before. I liked it both times and have enjoyed playing it in practice this week. The course is in good condition and the forecast for the week is perfect, so I would expect the scoring to be low. There are five par fives, all reachable and a driveable par four, so there are plenty of birdie opportunities. The greens have some slopes in them which, if you get the wrong side, can make for an awkward putt.
I played 13 holes on Tuesday morning and the pro-am on Wednesday. The two days we have had have been ideal golfing conditions and it’s to be like that for the week. It was nice to get out on the course as I spent quite a lot of time last week hitting balls. No matter how many balls you hit it’s no substitute for being on the course and playing. On the golf course there are consequences to shots whereas on the range there are none.
As I have hit a lot balls last week I’m feeling a little ropey. To counteract that I have hit a lot of wedges in practice. The more I work on these clubs the more it gets me away from thinking about technique. It was great in the pro-am as I was able to see that after only two days of working on my wedges that they had improved and to perform well this week you need to hit your wedges close.
However the good news from my work at home last week is that I have got myself a new driver. It’s an old head I had at home which has worked well in practice and feels very much like the one that broke.
This week I’m playing with Victor Perez and Mathias Schwab, two young guys on tour that have been playing well for a while now. We are out at 11.30am on Thursday morning. I’m feeling a little ropey and would like another day or two on the course to get ready, but even as Ryder Cup Captain I can’t organise that! It’s not like I haven’t felt this way before and I am fully aware that anything could happen, so I won’t be thinking too much about it.
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.