Round 3 was all about trying to put myself in a position to have a chance on the final day. Overnight the top 29 players were on a score of 4 under so with me being on even I needed to try and make up some ground. If you double the 4 under that means that maybe by the end of tomorrow I would need to get to 8 under. Certainly an achievable target, it just required a little bit of solid thinking and quality golf.
I set out today with the "My Kitchen Rules" game as my number one mental game, but I added another mental game to it. I added 3 hole corners, meaning I was going to break the course up into 3 hole lots. Doing this really helped me to see that the 8 under I required in two days was certainly not out of reach. Given that I had 12 three hole corners still to play over the final two days, if I could play them all in 1 under par then hey presto......12 under and safely through to finals.
So my plan was set and I also adopted a Captain Confident attitude in practice this morning. I went a little overboard with it when I was warming up with Ryan Haller actually and at one point I said to him that I was hitting it that good that I could hit this 6 iron off one leg with a little draw down to the 180 yard marker.....I hit it perfectly with that little draw straight at the sign....met with much laughter from Ryan and myself. He even put a ball up in a tree branch near the chipping green whilst we were killing some time due to a fog delay and we played a shot nearest the pin. He had an airswing and took out the branch but I managed to hit a brilliant shot onto the green, once again met by loud laughs from us. The Japanese are so quiet so it is quite funny when we are being loud and laughing around the place, they look at us like we are complete nut cases!!! We probably are!!
Finally after the fog lifted I was on the tee. I smashed it down the middle with the confident attitude on hand that I had been mucking around in practice with. The reality is that I can hit every shot in the game and I probably should carry that confidence with me a lot more often. When I got to my ball I looked at the shot and thought, "surely I am going to hole this shot!" From 117m I hit it straight at it, pitching 4 feet short and finishing 3 feet for an easy birdie. I carried that attitude with me all day and it worked for the most part.
My corners game and kitchen game worked a treat today. I scored my highest score on My Kitchen Rules and as for the corners I had 3 one under corners, 1 at level, 1 at one over and 1 at two under giving me a final score of -4 for the day and getting myself into that position I was chasing at the start of the day. I will have a chance tomorrow and hopefully I can score that 1 under/corner target and I should be sweet.
The highlight of my day today was a flop shot I hit on my 17th hole to save a par. I have been working only last week with Murray Lott on my short game and to be honest it has a long way to go still but today I hit one right and he would have been proud of hit himself!! I was on a severe downslope with about 5-6m of rough in front of me before a metre of fringe grass and 5-6m of green all downhill to the pin. Basically it was not a good spot to be. One of the shots Murray was teaching me last week was this exact shot so I just trusted and played the shot. The key was that I made several practice swings until I felt like the "dish" I was serving tasted ready to put on the dinner table. I then served up exactly the same dish with my shot and hit it to 3 feet, a remarkable shot that is right up there in my memory of great short game shots for me.
So one day to go people, hopefully I can do much the same tomorrow and get across the line, even if it is in the 79th minute, Queensland style!! Thanks for your thoughts, comments and prayers, much appreciated everyone!! The good news too is that regardless of what happens tomorrow, next week I am teeing it up in the Aussie PGA on the Gold Coast!!!! Get there to
The rain cleared this morning but it had been raining during the night so the greens were a little soft out there today. Once again, and I must say it's a habit I am not liking, I started poorly with 3 bogies in the first 7 holes. The first was on the 11th, my second hole, where I hit it 1m off the fairway on the right side and simply had no shot to the green. I was stuck behind some trees leaving only a low shot underneath but unfortunately there were mounds there and I couldn't do that either. I opted to try and go round the trees up high with a fade but caught the top branches and just dropped down into the fairway. My third shot from 135m found the greenside bunker where I made a nice up and down just to save a 5.
My second bogie came on 13, after hitting a pretty good drive my ball came to rest on a severe downslope in the fairway somehow? I am not sure how it could stop on such a severe slope but it did. It made my second shot to the par 5 a difficult one and to be honest I hit a bad shot up the left side. It hit a tree and kicked 50m left into a clump of trees. Now I had absolutely no shot and did well to even get it out. My 4th shot was not much better and I hit a great shot to find the green but some 40 feet from the hole. Two putts for a bogey 6 and my start wasn't ideal.
I started to find my range a little after that and played a good couple of holes and found myself with a birdie putt on 16 from around 30 feet. It was a makeable and I hit a great putt but it just missed. I then missed the return putt for par, my first 3 putt for the week and first miss inside 5 feet for the week. I have been holing out well so was really confident with the putter to make this one but for some reason missed. I didn't miss or look like missing any other short putts for the rest of the day.
So with my back against the wall and knowing that 3 over wasn't really in the plan I really concentrated on doing my very best to choose the right shot based on what was before me, make sure that I practiced the feel to create the shot and then simply try and repeat that feel with the shot. For all you reality tv junkies out there and particularly the kitchen shows, I like to call this the "My Kitchen Rules" method. Murray Lott from Brisbane Golf Club has been helping me with my short game and he taught me this, I just gave it a name. The idea is that I am cooking with each shot. So the recipe is all the info you need, wind, slope, distance, pin location, best putt options etc. Once you have that then it is about the best shot to get the ball to where you want. Now when you are cooking for someone you are never going to serve up the food onto the dinner table without taste testing it first to make sure it is cooked. That is the practice swing, the taste test. Now if I do my practice swing and don't get the feel right, it's like the meal isn't quite ready so have another go...cook it a little longer. Once I am ready it is about serving it up. The idea is that I rate the taste test 1-5 with 5 being ideal and that I need to try and get a 5 with the end product meaning shot shape and direction to the target. My day in "My Kitchen Rules" then becomes about how many 5's I can match from the kitchen to the dining table!! Confused.....well I hope so, I thought I was a golfer!!!
The rest of my day was an improvement as I shot 1 under the last 11 holes to finish on 2 over. I actually played my best golf for a long while in that stretch and had great looks at birdie on every hole except the last hole which I bogied. So even par total after two days isn't ideal as I am 4 shots behind the mark at this stage. Two days to go though which is a long time and I know how tight some people get in these q schools as the week draws to an end. I am going to finish strong and get
Round 1 is always a crucial round in a Q School. You always like to get off to a solid start and not feel like you are chasing from day one. There is officially 29 spots on offer this week to get through to the final stage the week after the Aussie Open.
The weather today was actually a little on the chilly side but the good news was that the predicted rain that was supposed to come didn't so we just played under cloudy skies for most of the day. My day started solidly enough with a couple of rock solid pars and a great drive down the third. A miss club into the green meant I came up short and unfortunately wasn't able to get up and down for par. My next three holes were really scratchy, missing fairways and greens and making life very difficult for myself. I managed to save par on 2 of the 3 holes but moved to 2 over thru 6 holes.
The scratchy golf continued for the next 4 holes but thankfully no bogies. I was nice and relaxed but just wasn't in the groove today and every shot seemed like a bit of a battle. Mentally though I was in a good spot and I reassured myself that I was bound to make two bogies at some stage this week so it was nice to get them out of the way early!
The problem was that I wasn't really giving myself too many good birdie chances but I knew they would come also.
The 11th was the first and then I managed to back that up with birdies at 13, 14 and 16 to round out the day with a respectable 2 under par. The absolute highlight of the day for me was on the 14th. I had played for a flyer (when you are in the rough, you can sometimes get a trampoline affect due to grass getting between the ball and the club face at impact, making the shot go much further than normal.) on a couple of other occasions in the round but both times the ball actually came out really softly instead of jumping. On this occasion I decided that I didn't think it would jump but boy did it jump. The ball went right to the very back of the green, one of the most undulating on the course. The problem was that the pin was tucked underneath a big slope right at the front of the green making my putt near impossible. I had just birdied the previous hole to get back to even par so was little disappointed to think I was really about to make a bogie straight away. I believed a two putt would be outstanding from 100 foot, and would be happy to three putt at worst. I hit my putt and was immediately happy with the line and speed given that the last 20 feet was straight down a big slope. In fact the only thing missing from this putt was a giant swinging boot or a Ferris Wheel to putt through!! Anyway the ball reached the slope on a great speed but started to gather pace down the hill. It looked like it was going to go about 7-8 feet past which I was very happy with, that was until the hole got in the way and boom, in she went!!!!! That is the longest and most difficult putt I have ever holed in a tournament in my life, surely everything else will be easy from now on!!
So a solid day today in round one and I am in touch with where I need to be. I think if we continue to have favourable weather that it will be a low number required to progress this week. One thing is for sure though, the pressure always starts to build as the week goes on!! I look forward to the ongoing challenge of this week and will embr
Japan is the venue for me this week as I try to tackle the challenge of the Japanese Q School, attempting to get my ticket to the main tour up here next year. It is Stage 3 of 4 and this week finds me playing the event just out of a city called Mito, northeast of Tokyo and just inland from the coast.
I arrived last night (Sunday) without too much hassle which is nice because sometimes it can be tricky with the language barrier. We touched down right on time and a smooth exit through immigration and customs meant we were able to get to the early bus saving us an hour long wait at the airport. I am travelling with Ryan Haller this week, a long time friend who has been playing up here on the main tour all year. I always enjoy Ryan's company and having someone to travel with certainly makes the time seem to pass by a little quicker!!
I was woken this morning, somewhat traditionally by a customary earthquake here in Mito. Soundly sleeping and then all of a sudden the bed is shaking and the room rattling. Although I have been through plenty of them up here now, it is still a little nerve wracking each time as you wait to see if it is getting worse or stopping. Fortunately this one stopped fairly quickly and I went back to sleep. It was a 5.4 on the richter scale which is solid. Hopefully that is it for the week!!!
The course for the week is Sunny Fields. I played it today with Ryan, Nick Cullen and Stephen Leaney. It was nice to play in a solid group today as those guys can all really play and I think that was good for my game this week. On a side note, Ryan and I gave the other two a touch up for the Qlders. Stephen has been around for a long time so it was good to pick his brain a little on a few things golf wise.
The course itself is a fairly long and stern test. There aren't too many wedges into greens this week so your iron play will have to be up to scratch. Due the length of the place, your driving of the ball is going to have to be rock solid too as any misses will result in much longer clubs into the greens. The par 3's are quite special with plenty of water around the greens and the par 5's present probably the best chances of making a few birdies this week. The condition of the course is superb, great fairways and beautiful greens to putt on. I only wish I could take these greens back to Indooroopilly, and all Qld courses for that matter. Putting on greens of this quality is fantastic for your putting game.
So the preparation is done and I feel like I am ready to go. I am looking forward to the challenges that this week will present over the next four days and hopefully I am in the top 25 or however many spots are up for grabs this week to progress through to finals. Don't forget to check out some of the photos of the course from today!!
Tough week for me this week. I played ok tee to green on day one but just couldn't make a putt to change the momentum of my day. I struggled to get my speed right and thus made nothing.
I missed one tee shot poorly on 16 and it cost me a triple bogey to end up shooting 2 over which was still ok. Round two saw me start promisingly through 5 holes having played nicely to be 1 under. After a bogey at 6 and a missed chance at 7 for birdie, I missed a short putt at 8 for par. I have holed out so well these last two weeks and that has been the real positive of my time in Perth.
So chasing some birdies on the back nine to make the cut I played aggressively but unfortunately it went the wrong way and I made some bogies instead. It was a shame as I was playing so nicely leading in but once again it shows how fine the line is between good and not so good.
Home to Brissy for a week before Japan for stage three of q school followed by the Aus PGA on the Gold Coast.
The Perth International is the next stop on the Australasian Tour and Lake Karrinyup is in unbelievable condition once again.
Last year it was awesome but this year the course seems to be better again. In saying that the greens are firmer than they were pre tournament last year and will certainly place a premium on where you git the ball on the greens. Not only are they hard but they have some serious speed about them too.
The great part about playing a course like Karrinyup is that you have to play well to score well. There is no hitting it wide, onto an adjacent fairway and "getting away with it", it just isn't possible here. I have been working very hard on my game this week after a fairly solid week last week at Mt Lawley.
This week has seen me play the course twice, on Monday and Tuesday and with somewhat mixed results. I played really well from tee to green both days, exceptionally to be honest. On Monday I hit a lot of greens and had a lot of birdie putts but found myself in the wrong spots on those greens and was left with some very difficult putts. I made a few three putts and basically left the course not feeling too confident. I went to the putting green and did a good session on my putting and in particular my speed control. Tuesday saw a similar quality on the ball striking front but this time my placement on the greens was better and my putting was also much improved. I actually had a putt on the 8th green to go 6 under par....some turn around from 24 hrs earlier. It was a good day on the course and equally as good on the range afterwards and the putting green after that.
So with all the work done, it is now a matter of getting stuck into the hard work and mental challenge of playing tournament golf. I am off early on day one which for me typically isn't a great thing but I plan on bucking the trend and starting well here this week.
Well despite feeling pretty good heading out today it wasn't to be for me today. I played quite well but the reality is that I didn't hit it close enough today.
I hit the ball solidly but when you are chasing a leader solid doesn't cut it. The greens were easily the fastest they have been all week today and proved a very difficult test. In saying that the guy who won managed to shoot 7 under so it was possible.
I have been struggling with my ge ever since I have started devoting huge chunks of my time to my putting which has always been my Achilles heel. Despite the fact that my putting feels like it is improving, my long game is suffering because of it. It is always a happy medium that needs to be found and that is now a massive priority heading forwards.
My day consisted of me hitting the ball just that bit too far away from the hole and when I did manage to hit it closer, I found all the side slopes making my putting quite difficult. I fought on though all day and ended up tied for 11th. I am reasonably happy with this as I have come here with no golf under my belt in the previous two weeks.
This week was a great lead up into next weeks Perth International at Lake Karrinyup. It was always a but of a warm up event for me and to be able to see what is in shape and what isn't going into next week. I have certainly got things to work on and I think the short game area is going to get a serious workout in the next few days.
Thanks for following along as usual and I hope to bring you more good news from the Perth International this week!!
Arriving at the course today I was greeted with a different wind. It was overcast and the wind was quite fresh. So the day was going to be a good challenge.
I warmed up quite well and was feeling really good about heading out onto the course. The front nine I played beautifully and hit 8 of 9 greens in regulation. Despite hitting a lot of good putts I didn't make any birdies and settled for 9 pars to start the day.
The 10th hole I hit a great shot in and made my first birdie of the day. Thinking that I was finally "away" I headed to the 11th. A scratchy par followed by a real stretch of holes where I really struggled. I parred 11 and 12 and then made a miraculous par on 13. After par on 14 I made a great sand save on 15 for par.
With three to go I was still in the mix but really wanted a good finish to get myself right into contention for Sunday. I played 16 perfectly but missed the birdie putt. On 17, a par 5 I struggled from the minute I hit my tee shot. I found the right trees and hacked it out. My third came up short of the green and after choosing to use a putter I played my 4th. I hit it too hard and was left with a testing 12 foot putt for par. I hadn't made a bogey all day and I was determined not to make one here so I knuckled down and made a clutch putt. The 18th I played perfectly, finding the fairway with my 3 wood and then the green with my wedge to about 10 feet.I hadn't made too many putts today but hit a pure putt on this one for a crowd pleasing final hole birdie to move to -2 and -6 for the tournament. I am in a tie for third heading into the final day and hoping that tomorrow is my day. I can't wait for the challenge and opportunity for my second Australasian tour win. h
Perth it is this week for the WA Open. I arrived on Monday after a couple of weeks off from golf and spending a very rewarding time in Murgon and Cherbourg with the communities out there. I then spent a few days with my wife's family up on the Sunshine Coast.
So a week of exhausting work followed by a week relaxing at the coast before arriving here. The game needless to say has had a little rust on it but I am managing to get my game in order. I am here for two weeks to play the WA Open at Mount Lawley golf club and then the Perth International at Lake Karrinyup.
I started off yesterday with an even par round where I had a very up and down day. I made four birdies and four bogies and really was just a little average all day. The good news of the day is that I have been working really hard with Kev on my game to be able to still shoot a score when I don't have my A game in play.
Today started much the same as yesterday as I really struggled to find form. After a very scratchy first four holes where I somehow struggled four pars onto the scorecard, I then drove my tee shot on the par five next hole into the trees. Things weren't looking to good and when I found my ball in front of a pine tree with a limited backswing. I embraced the difficult shot and hit a fantastic recovery shot to leave about 150m to the pin. I hit a great 7 iron to ten feet and made the putt for a somewhat unlikely birdie.
This turned my day around for some reason and I played awesome golf not missing a shot for the next 9 holes, picking up 3 more birdies. A somewhat scratchy final 4 holes but once again I managed to play them in even par and finish with a very solid 4 under par round in difficult windy conditions. It ended up being the equal best round of the day and I am now in a tie for 5th only 3 shots back of the lead heading into Saturday.
I am excited that I am playing four days this week as I felt I really needed time out there in tournament mode at this stage of the season and particularly ahead of next week. So to moving day I head hoping that I move in the right direction!!
Catch up with everything from the tour as I let you know about the course, conditions and my thoughts and feelings on how I am playing.....also some cool stories from the tour!!