I was lucky enough to get a hit on the course today which is a rare treat on a Monday. The course is called Shishido Hills and it is easily one of the most difficult courses I have ever played on. It is a more traditional Japanese course set in the hills and having enormous elevation changes to it. It is the tightest driving course for the year so far which is tough as I need to hit 14 drivers a round here due to the length of the course. Like last week the rough is up again at about 4-5 inches high and the greens are all extremely undulating which will present their own challenges once you make it onto them. Make sure you have a look at the photos I have attached in the album.
To give you a bit of an idea of the course - starting from the 6th here is the stretch, 530m par 5 with a drive needing to hit a 15m wide fairway otherwise you will struggle from the rough to get home in 3. The 7th is a 210m par 3 with a full water carry followed by the 8th is a 395 m par 4 uphill with a very tight drive. The nine ends with a 458m ripper of a par 4 downhill off the tee with the 2nd shot having water all the way to the green down the left side. After catching your breath through the turn the back nine hits you with a 446m uphill par 4 that simply requires two quality shots. Then you get a slight breather only playing tight 360-385m par 4's and an uphill 170m par 3 before the back nine really tests every aspect of your game coming in. 14 is a 415m brute followed by a 540m par 5 where the fairway is only 20m wide and if you miss it getting home for 3 will be tough. The 16th is a 180m par three across water usually playing into the wind (I hit a 2 hybrid today) and then the toughest par 4 I have ever played is next. It is 432m usually into the wind with a slight dogleg right off the tee. You can't leave anything behind here off the tee and don't even think about missing the fairway!(I smashed a drive there today into the wind and had 210m for my second shot). The second shot is a full water carry to a near island green..........fun......not!!! Today I laid up with a 9rion and then hit an 8iron in for my third. Brad Kennedy playing with me went for it with 3wood and came up about 10m short!! This hole is going to be a par 5 for me all week and any 4's I make are a bonus. Then the final hole which is a 420m uphill par 4 to an upside down elevated saucer of a green!!
In saying all of that I drove the ball somewhere near my best again today and despite bogies on 16 and 17 I would have shot 1 over par today which in the conditions was pretty good. Last year at this tournament the cut was 9 over after 2 rounds which just shows how difficult the course really is. I am looking forward to the challenge and feel as though things are going ok. I was encouraged by my driving today and look forward to taking care of the process and letting the results come this week. Don't forget to check out the photos!!