Arriving at the course this morning the surreal nature of this week continued as once again I was met with "Go Matty and c'mon Billy" calls just walking from the car to the clubhouse. The crowds had embraced me and I guess I got a touch, just a little touch of what fame is like. For the past few days inside the grounds of Kingston Health, everyone knew me, weird!!
My routine preparing for the day remained the same although there was one difference today. Whilst stretching in the locker room Ian Poulter arrived to his locker which was just near mine. I couldn't pass this opportunity up and introduced myself to him. We chatted for the next 5-10 minutes about life, schedules, Ryder Cup and premier league football. On the outside he looks like a fierce cold and calculating competitor but chatting face to face in the locker room he was just another one of the boys!!
My stretching complete, I headed for the chipping green where Ian joined me soon after. The number of spectators swelled around us as we started the warm up process. I was in the bunker playing a variety of bunker shots when Ian joined in from the other end of the bunker. I moved slightly up the face of the bunker to play one and just after hitting the shot I felt a spray of sand hit me in the back!!! Ian had showered me with sand, I turned to him and turned my hands sort of saying "what the?" He h already had his hand up and faced screwed up saying "oops sorry Matt!" Quite a funny moment!!
From there it was off to the range where once again I was in rare air. Only three people on the range, Ian, Adam and myself, Adam and I wishing each other well for the day. Kev was there with me a I worked through the warm up hitting shot shapes with multiple clubs. The crowd at the range was the biggest of the week but it wasn't fazing me, I was still flushing it.
After spending some time on the putting green it was go time. I made my way down to the first tee through the masses of people offering volumes of support. Arriving onto the tee I was warmly welcomed by this Melbourne public who had warmed to this underdog from Qld. A few minutes later I was officially announced on the tee to a rousing applause and cheers with once again the "C'mon Billy!" call getting a huge run!! For some reason this week, and probably because I had so many people praying for me, I wasn't really nervous on this first tee. I went through my routine and purely and simply flushed it down the first and I was away!!
No problems all the way to the green with a great second and third leaving 5 foot for birdie. From there it was pretty much the story of the weekend for me as my putt slid by. For the first two days I holed plenty but over the weekend with the pressure reaching its climax I was found wanting with the putter. Kev and I spoke about that and already have established some real reasons why and how to address it.
After a few missed short putts in the first 4 holes, I was two over when I could have just as easily been 1 under. After a poor drive on 5 dealt me a deserved bogey things were tough. My routine with my long game was hanging in and a solid tee shot on 6 and what we thought was a good shot into the green was a good settler. For some reason though the crowd hasn't clapped my shot in so whilst walking up to the green we wondered where my ball was. Arriving there was no ball, it had just rolled long and down an embankment finishing right in front of a gentleman and his wife sitting in their fold up chairs. It was now a very tough shot and once the crowd moved back allowing the two chairs to be moved back I had the space to play. Before the man, in his 60's could retake his seat I grabbed him by his shoulders and spun positions with him and took a seat in his chair to a huge applause and laughter from the crowd!! I said thanks and that I was looking forward to seeing how he was going to play this shot!!! More laughter!! If nothing else it engaged the crowd and lightened my mood as I faced a tough shot on a tough start to the day. I managed to get it up and down and quickly signed the ball and gave it to this guy to a final round of applause!!! Great fun.
My tee shot down 7 was tight to the bunker but as it was falling it fell to the right looking like it was clearly missing it, only to spin like a Warnie leg break and find the pot!! Another bogie follow by another at 8 left my great week of hard work falling apart.
I still felt like I was playing well from tee to green but with the wind up now, club choice was difficult and gusts of wind was making things difficult and somewhat out of your control. I am pleased to say that my game continued to stand up around the back nine and I closed out what was a memorable week in 37, 1 over. The highlights of the back nine being a great tee shot on 15 to set up a birdie and the walk up the last and onto the 18th green to the cheers of everyone including my wife, kids, mum and good friends Kat and Zeke!!! It was so good to have them all there watching despite my tough first eight holes.
The final green drama of my putt somehow defying logic to miss the hole for a grandstand birdie finish, seemed insignificant after I saw a little girl in a wheelchair by the side of the green. I don't know what was wrong with little Annabel but she won my heart and I gave her my hat signed with a message of "stay precious!" on it. It didn't matter what score I had shot or how much money it had cost me, I would have traded it all to have that little girl cured of her illness !!
Walking off that green was sad in a way, I had loved my week and loved the experience and really didn't want it to end despite how intense the whole process was!! Signing autographs galore as I went to sign my card I was met by one of the Tournament administrators who sincerely congratulated me and thanked me for everything I had given to the tournament this week.
Coming back out after signing my card, I signed more autographs before joining Rach and the gang by the 18th green. Scotty had just won the tournament and walked past with my kids devastated they didn't get his autograph. I said to them "come with me and we'll get it for you" I took them inside the scorers area and when Adam came out he saw me and came over. He signed their hats, much to their excitement and then he asked how I'd played. I told him I'd had a rough front nine but had still finished 10th. He said to me "what you have to remember Matty is that for two days you lead this field. You have the game for it, now the challenge is turning two days into four but you have just got to keep believing in your ability. See you at the Aussie Open in a couple of weeks!!"
What a positive way to finish the week, with the world number 5 telling me I had the talent to compete. It had been a blast and leaving for the airport sucked as I didn't really want it to end. It was made worse in that Rach and the gang weren't flying out til the morning so I had to say goodbye to them at this point. In one final surreal moment to cap off the week, I went to get a drink in the Qantas club only to have the guy in front of me turn around and say "hey you're Matty Guyatt, what a great week, well played this week and all the best for the rest of the year!"
I have had a taste now and can't wait for more, looking forward to the next event. Thanks so much to all of you for your support, I truly appreciate it!!!! See you soon!!