The second round was an early start for me as I was up at 4am for breakfast and a 5am bus trip to the course for my morning round. After the round one scores I was in about tied 90th I think after shooting 1 under par....incredible scoring that 80+ players were better than that. So I had a fair amount of work to do to be playing on the weekend. I felt ok about playing well and shooting a good score as the first round was a decent effort considering I had been 3 over through 2.
My hand was giving me trouble again and another trip to the physio pre round ended in anti inflammatory and pain killing tablets for me to try and get through the day ok. My warm up again saw the same issues as the first day with the injury in that I was really struggling to release the club head through the ball meaning I was kind of resigned to hitting fades. I felt ok with that though as I was hitting the fade well.
As per my practice over the last month, I spent a good 45mins to an hour on the putting green pre round. It had been a conscious decision of mine to completely flip my practice around so that I was putter focussed first, short game second and then long game third. It is a constant battle to get the right mix and I don't think I have it yet. I have noticed my ball striking with driver has suffered a little through this process, but maybe that is just a slight change needed. More driver practice as that is a key long game club.
To the course I went and things started solidly. I played the first two holes perfectly from tee to green but didn't make my putts despite hitting 2 really good putts. The third hole was a par three back into the breeze with a left pin. Despite not feeling too good about the draw shot (right to left) I decided that was the shot. So 7 iron it was and after the routine I hit a great shot to about 6 feet and poured the right to left putt straight in the middle. After a great tee shot down the next, I had 7 iron again to the small target of the top level of the green with any shot going right of the green ending up in the water. The wind was solidly off the right side so I decided the best shot for me was to hit a cut shot against the wind meaning I could take it straight at the pin. For the second hole in a row I flushed it and found myself with 5 foot for birdie. I rolled it in and headed to the par 5 fifth hole. Two good shots left a short pitch which I pulled a little left meaning it also went a little long. I hit a great putt though and again it tracked right in the middle from about 15 feet. Alright, 3 in a row and something was happening. I went to the 6th tee with a process to follow and one shot in front of me to take care of.
I hit a really good 5 iron but unfortunately it name up a little short and I was left with a 45 foot putt up and over a tier with a big right to left break. I have been working with Karl Morris, my sports psych from the UK, on my putting and about asking one simple question before each putt. It was "what does the ball have to do to go in the hole?" Answer that question then simply hit the putt. I did that here rather than thinking, wow this is tough and if I can two putt it would be great from here. I really love this simple process, it gets my brain thinking the right way. So with an answer to the question I simply hit the putt. Off it went up the hill before slowing and starting to break hard to the left. It looked a chance and I was just wondering if the pace was right. I hadn't moved when it rolled perfectly into the cup! Nice, I got the answer right.
From there I struggled for the next two holes missing both greens, on 7 I had a tough chip shot that I could only get to about 20 feet. Once again the process worked as I rolled it in, nice save. To the 8th and I hit a pretty good shot in which just ran over the green. I decided to put it from about 35 feet and hit a pure putt again only it was just a little hard. It hit dead centre but somehow stayed out. To the 9th hole I went and found the left rough off the tee. I had a pretty good lie so thought it would come out ok. I didn't think it would "fly" but it did and flew straight over the pin into the right bunker. From there I knew it would be almost impossible to hit it on the green such was the slope of the green and in fact if I wasn't careful that I may actually be able to hit it into the water just off the front of the green. I took my medicine as they say and played safe and away from the pin. It left me 35 feet for par up hill left to right. the simple process of my routine repeated itself and once again the ball found the hole, dead centre. 4 under at the turn and a real chance of moving up the leader board.
The back nine started much like the front nine finished, I missed the green in the wrong spot and the chip was near impossible. I hit a good one to get it to about 15 feet, to the routine I went, I asked the question and pulled the trigger, in it went, dead centre. At this point one of my playing partner asked if he could buy my putter from me!! I looking back afterwards I had made 8 one putt greens in a row, a record for me for sure.
I made a bogey down the next, incredibly with a three putt, but even that three putt I hit 3 excellent putts, the ball just didn't go in until the last one. I battled for the next 3 holes making two pars and a bogey after I found the water off the tee on the 14th. This left me with 4 to play and I knew I probably needed at least one birdie. I hit 3 of the 4 greens and gave myself every chance but unfortunately none of the putts decided to drop. So 3 under it was for the two days and the waiting game was to begin. It's unexplainable but as a golfer close to the cut line, you always know what the number is going to be when you are coming down the last. On this day I thought 4 under was the number and that I would need a birdie up 18 to get there. I was right and I missed by one.
I certainly have remained very positive about things as I shot 3 under, only had 51 putts for the two rounds. 3 under was my best two round total in a million dollar tournament so to miss the cut, although not what I was wanting, isn't the end of the world. I have made progression and particularly happy to get through the tournament with the short putter after 12 yrs using a long putter.
So it is farewell to Thailand til next time and back in Aus to keep practicing and trying to work harder than the guy next to me in this race. Next up is hopefully a Jeep event on the Gold Coast at the end of the month followed by another trip to Korea for the High One Champs. More time at home to continue the processes. As for now, I'm watching the US PGA golf 3rd and final rounds and hoping that one of the Aussies will get up!!! Go Boys!!!