My last two events -Made in Denmark and the Czech Masters – have at least seen me making cuts again. My game’s coming back, and I’m striking the ball a lot better, so I’m happy with that, although a little disappointed with how the weekends have gone (71st in Denmark and 73rd in the Czech Republic). But I feel I’m moving in the right direction again.
In Denmark, I wasn’t hitting the ball great, but playing okay, and although disappointed with the weekend, I didn’t feel I was ever going to be in contention. Not that I was in Prague either really, but I was hitting the ball quite nicely there, and just a few poor shots at the wrong time proved really costly. In Denmark I had doubles on both nine and 18 on Friday -one was a bit of bad luck and one a poorish shot. That kind of sums up my last two weeks – the odd poor shot at the wrong time, for which I’ve been severely punished.
On one of those double bogeys, I was in a fairway bunker, and the ball came out a bit clean, so I went long. I was only seven or eight yards from the flag, but my ball was about a yard away from a picket fence. I couldn’t make a backswing, and because it was a boundary fence put in for the tournament, I had to take relief. That meant a penalty drop in more heavy rough, from where I could only just get it on to the edge of the green. One poor shot that cost me two! A yard the other way, and I would have had a decent chance of getting up and down for par.
But the atmosphere and the fans in Denmark are fantastic right up there with the PGA at Wentworth and the Irish Open. For a hole that’s only 100 yards long, the 16th at Himmerland is one of the best out there because of the spectators and the banking around the green. If you followed my scores online, you will know that I closed out the Czech Masters with a quintuple bogey nine on the 72nd hole. How? Well, I hit three balls in the water -one from the tee, and two from the semi-rough. One poor tee shot, then a 5-iron from the semi-rough slightly out of the top of the club … twice I So there you go – three penalty drops on one hole!
The beginning of the round was a bit like that too. I dropped four shots in the first four holes, and only really hit one poor shot. I regrouped a little, but then missed a couple of little putts mid-round and lost a bit of momentum. That last hole is quite tricky, with water down the left, and I just turned a fairway wood over off the tee. I dropped out, and, like I said, it came a little out of the top of the club twice and just dropping out of the air into more water. I ended up shooting 80.
It was a strange round, and I came off a bit dazed. It was almost like a bad dream, and I had to keep asking myself, “Did that really just happen?” But sometimes things just don’t go your way, and you’ve just got to take it on the chin and move on.
I was probably only about 50th or 60th in the tournament anyway, and if I’d been in contention it would have been harder to take. Overall, though, my game’s in quite good shape – that’s the frustrating thing. You strike the ball as well as you’ve done for a good few weeks, then finish like that!
Looking ahead, obviously I’ve got a lot of work to do if I’m to get into Final Series, but I’ve potentially got seven events in a row now. The only one I’m still not sure about is Woburn. I should get in the rest, although it’s not guaranteed, because the last few events are smaller fields. If I have some good finishes in the next three or four weeks that may change slightly, as I may take the odd week off. But I’m excited about those seven good opportunities. My game’s coming back, I’m putting nicely, my short game’s pretty solid, and it’s just a case of cutting out the silly mistakes … and avoiding those quintuple bogeys!