The last few weeks, from the Nordea Masters through to France, haven’t been great for me in terms of results, and the main reason is that my swing has got a little off plane, so everything is a bit out of sync.
I’ve had three sessions over the last few weeks working on it with my coach, Stuart Dowsett from Sundridge Park in Bromley, and I’m hoping things will start to improve soon. He was at Wentworth with me, but it’s quite difficult to change anything at a tournament. I saw him again in my week off before the BMW International in Munich, and we felt we were making a bit of progress.
But the work I’d been doing hadn’t really been paying off, so I’ve just got a couple of new drills and a few other things to work on now. It seems to be working in practice, so I’m doing more work on it now to get myself back in play, and hopefully start hitting those all-important fairways and greens again. My arms have been getting a little bit ‘deep’ – as Stuart calls it -in my takeaway. They get a bit behind me and then go up, so my arms are going in two directions on my backswing, which just throws everything out of sync. I’ve been hitting a few shots left off the tee as a result, and it’s making it very hard to be consistent.
At the BMW in Munich, it clicked a bit, and I played really nicely in the second round, after a good back nine in my first round. But it didn’t go so well over the weekend, and I slipped away with a few miss-clubs, and a few mistakes thrown in too. With Open Qualifying at Cinque Ports and the French Open, there wasn’t much time to practice, so I missed the cut in France; but at least that allowed me to do some more work ahead of the Scottish Open at Gullane, where I’m heading as I write.
Le Golf National, venue for the French Open, is always a tough test. It ‘ was the third consecutive year I’d played there, so I knew the course and what was all about. If you go there missing fairways and a few too many green you’re going to struggle – and that’s definitely what I did in the second round. My first round was pretty steady at one over par, but on Friday I was out of position too often, and round that course that makes it really tough.
I’m now halfway through my first full season on the European Tour, and overall it’s been great -apart from not hitting the ball so well over the last month or so. People are always talking about how much more you need to earn to be safe, but I try not to look at it that way. I just want to keep improving and keep performing. I want to finish off the year with some top 10s, some top fives, and put in some good performances. That’s my goal really, and I feel very positive that I can do that before the end of the season.
As I say, I’m en route to Gullane right now, so I hope that will prove a good week, as I love links golf. It’s certainly nice to be back in the UK for a few weeks as, among other things, it means no mobile phone charges, so you can just use your phone as normal for a couple of weeks! Gullane is my last chance to get into the Open at St Andrews, but there are a few things penciled in the diary if it isn’t to be.
Either way, I’m still optimistic for the remainder of the year. I’ve got a few weeks off and a bit of holiday in August, which will be nice, plus a bit of time to practice too, which will be good before my final run of tournaments.
As for my schedule, I wasn’t sure if I’d get into the Omega European Masters at Cranssur-Sierre, but it now looks as though I will. I’m not sure about the British Masters at Woburn, as it’s a smaller field because of the daylight hours in October; and then obviously the last four events are only for the top 60 or so. I’m around 80th on the Race to Dubai at the moment, but I’ve still got plenty of opportunities to get myself into that top 60, so that’s my main goal now.