It is a great event and made all that much better by having some international visitors to the event. This year Matt Kuchar has come to play and has been a welcome superstar to the event. I had a chat to him in the locker room before my third round, just briefly asking him if he was enjoying his stay. He said he was but that he would really love to be able to take his sweater off. I said that I couldn't agree more as I come from Qld where it is hot this time of year. Lovely guy.
Once again my warm up felt ok and I was able to hit most shot shapes on the range which is always a confidence builder. My putting too felt good so I was ready to go. The first tee nerves are always there but today I wasn't too bad and flushed it down the middle with my 2 iron. I was determined today to start well and not find myself at 2 over par like I have in every round for the last 10 I think before mounting a comeback.
I started solidly but couldn't find a putt in the first 4 holes for birdie. I thought I hit a good shot into the par 3 5th but on the ever firming greens my ball went long into the back bunker. As I was right at the back of the bunker some of the volunteer helpers for the week were sitting only metres from my ball. There was a couple of older ladies there and as I walked into the bunker I said to them "well haven't you got the best seat in the house for this!" They replied with "yes and we are looking forward to watching how you do this!" I played a gem of a high soft bunker shot and it rolled to some 4 inches from the hole. Upon leaving the bunkers to the cheers from the crowd I cheekily asked the ladies if they saw what I did....they were thrilled with seeing it but more thrilled at having a player chat to them, made their day I think.
So after that par I made birdie at the 6th after hitting it to 2 feet and then played the tough final 3 in even par. The back nine presents a few chances but despite hitting the first 5 greens in reg I couldn't make a putt with my best chance being on the 12th where I missed a 12 foot chance. I hit a great drive down the par 5 15th and only had a 3 iron in which I put on the green. It was a great eagle chance but I missed it and had to settle for par.
Still I was a couple under in windy conditions and I knew the course was firming up and playing a little tougher. The final 3 aren't easy holes in this wind direction so I would have been happy to par in. After a very solid 4 at 16 I made an error in club selection on 17 which left me an incredibly difficult putt down a big slope. Some of the slopes are that big that there is simply no way to stop your ball from gathering speed and racing past the hole. That is what happened here and I missed the return putt for a disappointing bogie 5, my first of the day.
A strong par up the difficult 18th left me feeling satisfied yet slightly disappointed I didn't get more out of a day where I didn't miss one fairway and I hit 17/18 greens in regulation. I can only hope my ball striking repeats tomorrow and I roll a few putts in.
Adam Scott has done wonders for Australian golf since winning the US Masters, but having own last week and now leading here it is just so brilliant for the game in Australia. I kind of hope he gets up today as heading to Royal Sydney in a couple of weeks with him as Masters champ and having a chance at the triple crown here in Australia would make that week a crazy week. The crowds out have been huge and I expect a massive crowd out today and at Sydney too. Great for golf!!