I arrived a little early to try and give myself a few days to get used to the new time zone. My trip earlier in the year to Austria taught me that waking at 2am every day wasn't a good practice when you are trying to prepare and then play a tournament. Not only was this a good idea but it also gave me a chance on the Sunday to get out and stretch the legs a little, work out a little stiffness from the 21 hrs on an plane. I also was delivered a special treat playing a composite course of the New and Jubilee courses at St Andrews, something that I am sure is a rare treat. What an amazing golf complex it is at St Andrews, simply a golfers paradise, well if you like links golf that is.
Monday was where the serious work for the week began however and this week is unlike any other in the world. We play three courses this week in the tournament before a 3rd round cut, notoriously the hardest cut to make all year.
The amazing Kingsbarns, a relative baby of only 15yrs as a course here in Scotland. It is a piece of land to die for right on the edge of the ocean. Someone in all their incredible wisdom decided to thankfully build an amazing links course on this incredible piece of land and the vistas are simply breathtaking. It's a par 72 lay out that includes the traditional 4 par fives and 4 par threes balanced by the 10 superb par 4's. In all its glory, there are elevation changes, no trees, unbelievably penal pot bunkers and the place golf balls go to die, gauze bushes! The course defies its age as it is mature and in phenomenal condition. For me the par three 15th is the signature hole, some 190m from the championship tee across the ocean and rocks on your right hand side to a green that somehow seems to defy gravity and hang on to the mainland. I'm sure many a photograph has been taken standing on this tee and many a sigh of relief when your ball lands safely on the green. It is a good test from the course designer but one that is passable if you can plot your way around the gauze and pot bunkers. Birdies are available here.
Next on the list of courses this week is Carnoustie. For the golf tragic's out there you will know this one lives on the British Open rotation. Those who really know their golf will remember it for the famous Frenchman Jean Van de Velde and his triple bogey 7 down the last hole of the 99 British Open when a double bogey 6 would have been good enough to have him lift the Clarat Jug! Carnoustie is well known to be the toughest course on the British Open rotation and I now can see why. It is also a spectacular place almost devoid of trees, full of tight fairways that are firm like a summer cricket pitch in Australia and again, pot bunkers where scores rocket skyward should you find them. It is also home to the famous par 5 that hosts Hogan's Alley, a narrow strip of fairway between the out of bounds fence and a row of pot bunkers so penal you may have to play out backwards. Now that is famous but the 18th is where the heart starts beating a little harder knowing the British Open history that has gone before. The "burn" (water hazard like a little river) snakes its way along and across the hole as well as out of bounds the length of the hole on the left side. Where it is most threatening however is beside the green to the left. Any ball rolling off the green to the left will almost certainly run away and under the fence giving a spectator a souvenir and the golfer cause for tears. The course is truly brutal on a calm seaside day and when the wind starts whistling it turns into a beast.
The third venue for the week is the most famous of them all and I don't just mean most famous of the three. I'm talking most famous of all courses in the world, the home of golf, St Andrews. The thump in your chest grows harder and harder with each kilometre as your drive to The Old Course begins. As the old town looms on the horizon you know you are close, surely. What will be a surprise to most is just how close the town is to the course, built on its edge so close that the shadows from the Old Tom Morris golf shop extend out across the 18th fairway in the afternoon. No sooner are you off the 18th green, you could be in one of the many pubs or golf shops that line the streets.
Having calmed your nerves and reclaimed your ability to breathe that you are actually here, at the home of golf, somehow you need to make contact on the first tee shot that almost always has a gallery. You see even on an average day crowds of people flock to the course to simply catch a glimpse and the first tee and 18th green are the most accessible points on the course for photographers to capture their St Andrews memory. If you manage to make contact with the ball despite your nerves most likely you will be away safely as it is wider than wide on the first as it shares the same fairway as the 18th on your left. Famously our own Ian Baker Finch found the out of bounds down the left, perhaps a shot people remember him for more than his awesome British Open victory.
From the first you start the journey, somewhat of a blind journey in fact as you play out for 7 holes in a row come in and out for 4 holes before you start the daunting 7 hole journey back. I say blind because often you can't see the fairway or the perils in front of you. On the way back you pass Hell Bunker, I can only assume it has its name because of its incredible depth. Along the way both out and in the greens are all double greens, well most of them. The 1st, 9th, 17th and 18th are all stand alone greens but the others all add up to 18. For example 2 and 16 are shared, 3 and 15 etc etc. It's quite incredible and makes for some amazing green sizes. In fact the 5th green measures and incredible 100m from front to back and maybe the same from side to side. As they are all hand mown I can only imagine what time the committed green staff begin their day.
Possibly the most famous par four in world golf is in he distance as you make the turn for home. Just as the town on the horizon looms larger and larger with each hole on the back nine so does the St Andrews Hotel as you arrive at the famous 17th. Standing on the championship tee this week will give you no view at all of the fairway as the corner of the hotel lurches out onto the course almost like it loves being a part of this incredible place. Your drive has three options here, go left of the Hotel grounds and buildings, go over them to the fairway or as I'm sure thousands have done before fail at either of those two options and send your ball sailing into the hotel. Once you have negotiated that challenge you would think things must get easier on the "road hole." In reality it is where the true challenge begins. A long second particularly from the back tee or if you have any wind in your face awaits as does the famous road hole bunker and of course the road itself. Many players dreams of glory have been shattered here over the years by both obstacles. Mr Nakajima from Japan the most famous as his antics are remembered as " the sands of Nakajima." If you manage to avoid the road hole bunker and its menacing depth, the road itself sits metres off the back of the entire green and the old wall guards the edge of the road. A ball played too strong into this green leaves a player wondering what to do next off the road or from up against the wall as no free relief is available. It is a hole golfers fear but at the same time love to play and tell their story of it over a pint or ten in the hours following.
Once you have beaten or been beaten up by the 17th you arrive back where you began with the 18th fairway sharing the same grass as the 1st. In fact added together and the holes add up to 19 with which fairway they share. 1 and 18, 2 and 17, 3 and 16 and so on. The 18th is framed by the majesty and history of this famous town all the way down the right side and behind. As a public space it's actually common that you will have to wait for people to cross over the fairway here before having a crack at the green in the right conditions. The valley of sin awaits at the front left of the green and is in play especially when the front left pin placement is in use. I can honestly say that when your ball drops into the cup on the 18th and your day is done, having the first tee only metres away all you want to do is go again!! What a place, such grand golfing history and when you play there you feel like you are a part of that history now!
The challenge for this week is to play there on Sunday, having survived these three incredible venues and beaten 100 of the best players in the world to make the top 60 cut. You will need some favours from the weather too as with three venues getting a calm day at the brute Carnoustie or even St Andrews would certainly help a lot. Kingsbarns is the easiest of the three courses and even in the wind will provide some decent scoring opportunities.
My first point of call on Monday morning was a visit to the Taylormade Tour truck. I noticed a crack in my driver on Friday morning back in Aus before leaving so it was time to get that sorted and have them provide me a new driver head. The brilliance of the current technology means simply unscrewing the head off the shaft and replacing it with hopefully a matching head. The guys in the truck are brilliant and really know their stuff and are a great bunch of guys too. The switch was done, some testing on the range and some minor tweaking before it was time to hit the course at St Andrews.
Even in practice the nerves are there on that first tee and for me I barely made contact with the ball with my 1 iron. Notes were made that more clubface would be needed in the tournament. After some sledging by a group of 4 Sth Africans waiting to go next, a couple of the older guys got alongside me and gave me a few tips for playing the Old Course. I listened as I was sure they must have been here a few times before and I was keen for as much help as possible. As it turns out it was the main sponsor of the event, Mr Dunhill himself and his friends, one of them the fantastic Schalk Burger a former Springbok who is quite possible the biggest human I have ever seen. He knew and loved my other rugby union friend Nick Farr-Jones and I passed on hellos between the two of them.
Practice was all about learning how I could best play the course, what lines to take off a number of tees where the fairways and pot bunkers can't be seen. St Andrews is a fascinating place to play and whether you hit it right to left or prefer to go left to right it doesn't matter. As the holes going out share fairways with the ones coming back anything left is almost always fine but creates tough angles into the greens. The right side of the holes give you a more attacking angle but is always fraught with danger with bunkers or out of bounds. It was windy from the right on the way out and that is a tough wind here at St Andrews. I was happy to play it this way in practice as when I played here a few years ago I played it with the opposite wind. 17 was tough today into from the left and despite a perfect drive I was left with a 1 iron in. I slotted it and found the green only some 10 foot from the hole. I didn't manage to land the birdie but par there is always special, even in practice.
Tuesday was spent out at Kingsbarns and like St Andrews I had been here before as well. Also like yesterday the wind blowing was exactly opposite to the wind I played here in a few years back. The thing I noticed about Kingsbarns other than it's fantastic condition was that despite an opposite wind, there were loads of birdie chances here. It just felt easier in this wind than St Andrews did the day before in the same wind direction.
Tuesday night was the first of two functions for the week. We receive a formal invitation to the functions weeks before and after chatting to a few guys I decided to go to both. That meant bringing a jacket and tie with me all the way from Aus which is a bit of a pain but hopefully worth it. Tuesday nights function was a smart casual affair held in the Alfred Dunhill pavilion which is built to overlook the 17th hole here at St Andrews. It's a temporary structure from the outside looking in but once you step inside it is incredible, an interior designers masterpiece.
Mingling around with the rich and famous sounds like fun, and it was! This was the time to spot the famous people you might only see on tv. Being the sports nut that I am meant I tended to look for those guys but some of the Hollywood famous jumped out at you too. One thing for sure is that they are all just humans as we found out standing in the queue at the bar to get a drink alongside cricketing great Jacques Kallis. Before long the compare began the evening and to my shock called up to the stage my heckler from the first tee to say a few words as the major sponsor of the event!! How cool that he had been giving me some tips on how to play here, he has been coming here every year for this tournament since its inception!!!
With a great unavailing of the draw board it was time to go and see who I would be paired with for the week. Finding your name on that board is a task in itself and feels like a little victory but when you see Kevin Pietersen paired with you that little victory just got real. How awesome to be paired with a cricketing great, it almost felt like my decision to come all this way to play was vindicated in that one moment. You can imagine my joy at seeing we would be paired with Jacques Kallis and his pro on day one, Mark Boucher and his pro on day two and Shane Warne and his pro on day 3! Get better!! After going and meeting KP and watching the banter between him and "Bouchy" as he called him, I knew we were in for a few good days!
Carnoustie was my final practice day of the week and the same wind direction met us on a cold windy morning. Richard Green was kind enough to meet me on this day to show me around the one course I hadn't played. Richard has been playing over here for years and is both a quality player and bloke too. I owe him for doing that for me and certainly wish him well in the closing events of his European season as he pushes to retain his card again. Carnoustie lived up to the hype, it's tough but not so tough you can't survive it. To me it was a course where you will have chances for birdies but almost certainly you will struggle for pars on some holes, especially in this wind direction. Chatting with Richard after making a double bogey 6 down the famous 18th hole we decided you would simply have to grind your way around here, avoid the pot bunkers at all costs and if par was achieved by the time you signed your card it would be a good, possibly great score.
With the prep all done it was go time, those Thursday morning butterflies were flapping around vigorously in my stomach today as I headed for the Old Course on day one. The wind was up and going and in the same direction as it had been all week. The locals say it's the toughest wind to play the course in and I agree. Once we make the turn today on 12 it will be time to batten down the hatches and make for home.
Before heading into the 1st tee I made my way into the little starters room for some warmth and a bite to eat. Inside I found my partner KP and Mr Kallis. I was introduced to Jacques by KP in the midst of what seemed like a serious discussion. I asked them what they were chatting about, it looked serious. There response in unison was "We are trying to figure out what club to hit off the first that won't embarrass us!" I laughed and asked if they were nervous, to which they replied something along the lines of "We're @$"#* ourselves!" Again I met this with laughter before asking what they did in big cricket matches they played when they were nervous! I'm not sure if this helped or not but Jacques managed to rip his iron down the first before it was KP's turn! I ripped mine and up stepped the incredibly tall KP. He was over the ball and started his backswing only to have someone break the silence and cough right in his backswing. It was enough to put him off and he topped the ball badly but thankfully the fairways are so hard and fast that his ball simply ran and ran and ran. Walking off the tee KP says to Kallis, "Did you hear bloody Warnie cough in my backswing!" To which we all turned to the right to see those pearly whites of one S.K Warne shining brightly at us all, it was him alright!!
The boys were super impressive golfers. They both hit it miles and Kallis is a true talent on the course. His technique is great and as he now has much more time on his hands he is keen to push hard with his golf. I have no doubts he will be off scratch before long wiping away the last two shots of his handicap. KP plays of 6 and is also a solid player. He does most things well but the standout is his driver when he cracks one. That came on the 3rd where he drove it well over the green on a par 4 requiring a full pitch shot back into the wind for his second shot, incredible.
I had played well, managing to negotiate the course difficulties well and turned for home on the 12th at 4 under par. It was now that this course was going to bare its teeth at us as we played our way home into the freshening left to right wind. I know I said after it was all done that I think it was the toughest 6 holes I have played from 12 thru 17, simply brutal without one easy shot. I managed to strike it well for the most part, only coming unstuck with a three putt on 12 for a bogey.
The 14th I was a little unlucky rolling through the green and into a pot bunker at the back. When we arrived at the ball it looked like I wouldn't be able to play towards the hole as the steep lip of the bunker was towering just a foot behind the ball. After exploring all the options including playing out backwards I decided to have a crack. Not a smart move really but my gut was telling me that I could get it out and give myself at least a putt for par. I think it will go down as one of my best bunker shots ever with one foot in the pot and one out and my weight at about 98% on the left side. Even with that set up it was hard to get the club out of the bunker past the lip and the thought crossed my mind that an air swing was a very real possibility should I even slightly catch the lip on the way down. Thankfully I missed the lip and got the club into the sand behind the ball and to my relief and my caddy/coach Cameron's relief the ball rose over the front lip of the pot and onto the green spinning and coming to rest around 12 feet away. Cameron told me later he couldn't watch! KP loved it and in his mixed English and Sth African accent he bellowed out "That's a proper shot, proper shot man, unbelievable!" and made his way over for his customary high five that made your hand sting for a couple of minutes afterwards. I made the putt which was massive at the time for the momentum of the round.
Regulation pars at the tough 15th and 16th and a perfect drive down 17 left me a 4 iron in. After finding the green and Kallis also finding the green KP found the road and then the Alfred Dunhill Pavilion where we had met two nights before! Walking to the green I was chatting to Kallis about this amazing hole. He said it was one of his greatest sporting moments to be playing this hole in a tournament like this, incredible words from a man who has had some incredible sporting moments. That however is what sets golf apart from almost all other professional sport, anyone can compete alongside us, in our tournament settings! Pars at 17 and 18 and I was a happy boy, 3 under on a tough tough day at St Andrews. Not many people beat that around St Andrews that day, it was tough. I was however surprised at someone shooting 8 under at Carnoustie in this weather, beyond words how good that is. No one in the world would have matched Mr Noren around that course that day. It was a great day with both KP and Kallis having a ball and plenty of fun on the way around and some great golf too.
Day two saw our crew head to Carnoustie and the battle of not only the course and elements as the wind was up again but the battle of KP vs Boucher. "Bouchy" isn't that tall so KP towers over him and had a distinct distance advantage. Bouchy was a fighter though and for the record he dealt with the wind, cold and some rain far better than my fair weather golfing friend KP! At times I could only see KP's eyes as he resembled a bank robber more than a golfer trying to stay warm from the elements. He wanted out, he wanted warmth and a hotel room, as did I to be honest, but there was job to be done. The day was tough and thankfully I started well on the first nine which was the back nine with birdies on 11, 13 and 17 helping to offset the bogies on 15th and incredibly tough 224m par three 16th.
I was 1 under standing on the 18th tee and the rain had decided to join the strong wind. Warm soup and crusty bread would have been a better alternative at this point than the sideways misty rain and wind and one of the toughest holes in golf. If only the wind was helping but it wasn't. I made a mistake here, one of very few for the week with my routine with Cameron. Because it was raining and Cam was furiously trying to get the bag cover on we missed our chat about the shot at hand. I took the driver and knew the shot but our discussion of the shot was a critical part of the week. I hit my worst drive for the week, straight in the burn down the left side of the hole. It almost guaranteed a double bogey with only a lay up possible from there and a pitch to the green. I completed all of that and missed the bogey putt having to settle for a double bogey 6. The small consolation was that I'm sure Jean Van de Velde would have loved it back in 99.
I was pretty calm on the first as I knew this course was tough and particularly tough today in these worsening conditions. I made a poor bogey on the 1st and all of a sudden was finding it tough going having made three bogies and a double bogie in the last 5 holes. The big thing Cam and I have been working on though is commitment and that held me in good stead over the closing 8 holes. I was committed and swung positively at every shot, not holding back. I had chances but made none of them and had to settle for a 2 over par 74. KP to his credit managed to chime in beautifully when I was in trouble and help us keep ticking along slowly in the teams event. We had a lot to do on the final day at Kingsbarns if we were going to make the teams cut too.
As the scores filtered in from the three venues it became clear that playing the courses in our order was the toughest side of the draw. We clearly had the smallest percentage of pros inside the cut line and the best player from our side of the draw was 5 shots behind the leaders. It was clear, as I had thought that Kingsbarns was still the easiest despite the wind and some great scoring was happening out there. Heading there tomorrow we needed the wind to stay up and for us to capitalise like everyone else had.
Day three brought us to tears!! Not because the weather had worsened but the opposite. It was perfect. The best day of the week, a light breeze from the opposite direction. The sad part was that St Andrews and Carnoustie were going to be so much easier today than what we had faced.....that's pro golf, one of the many difficult parts of an outdoor sport, the weather and the draw. Anyway I am always of the belief that it will level itself out over a season or career, so my mindset was to go out and get the job done. Commit to every shot and see if it's good enough at the end of the day. I knew the cut was going to be lower now, it was just a matter of how low?
The great news of the day was that my partner was back!!! KP was on fire and loving the awesome weather!! He drove a 300m+ par four on the front nine and was loving the day. Warnie too was on fire and playing far better than his 8 handicap!! He was flushing it!! After watching him for years and years and screaming his name both at the tv and live it was kind of surreal to be saying "Shot Warnie!" to the man himself. I did resist saying "Bowling Warnie or bowling Shane" although there were plenty of cricketing puns that came out. He like the two Sth African lads was awesome company to play with and the thing I loved the most was that they all loved to compete, my sort of people. Shauny as KP called Warnie narrowly missed the teams cut with his partner although had he made a putt on the last hole after a sublime chip they would have been there!
As for me and KP, well we were 5 shots short of the mark, a very achievable number and KP even said to me at the Gala Dinner that night, he was so mad with himself for some of his poor golf! We were a team and I could have done better too.
I played well at Kingsbarns and turned 2 under heading to the back nine. At -3 for the tournament I was probably close to the mark I thought to make the cut and had given myself every chance. The 11th hole had a pot bunker placed perfectly down the left side and for me it was a perfect target to fade the ball off. I hit it well but it was barely fading and despite bouncing twice to the right of the bunker, it was like the bunker reached out and grabbed it! The bunkers here are a bit like that and golf balls tend to gravitate towards them. I knew instantly that all I would have from there would be a chip out and I would have to try and hit it close with a medium iron and make the putt to save par. I was right and I did everything right but make the putt. After a birdie on the next I followed with a par and a bogey on 14 which left me at a precarious 2 under for the tournament.
And so I walked to the 15th tee, the par 3 I predicted would play some part in the week down the stretch. I think from memory it was playing around 175m to cover the water and be on dry land and around 185 to the pin. I decided on a 4 iron to take the water out of play. It was a bit too much club but if I hit a small fade I figured it would still cover the water and probably not be too long. I hit it well and it started left of the target as planned but was probably working a little too far right which wasn't planned. Thankfully it covered the water, hit the green and then set course for the pin. We watched it all the way and were both excited and slightly disappointed when it lipped out for what would ha e been an amazing ace. On a hole where no doubt plenty of players have found the water I was honestly pumped to just be on the green and when we saw it was nearly a kick in I was elated!
Birdie at the par 5 next and I was all of a sudden within reach of Sunday golf at St Andrews. There was work to be done still however and it seemed that my lungs were no longer working, oxygen seemed to be hard to find. This is where Cameron was great, we didn't make the mistake of Carnoustie, we seemed calm, talked the shot through and I committed. Once again, like the 11th there is a perfect bunker on the left side as a target for me to work off. Also like 11 I hit it with minimal fade, it seemed like Groundhog Day as my ball looked destined for another bunker that spells bogey. Cameron told me afterwards that as it flew towards the pot he closed his eyes, he couldn't watch but then all in a matter of seconds he couldn't stand to not watch so he opened his eyes to see it do the same thing. Two bounces up the right side of the bunker but this time it escaped the grasp of the bunker and stayed on the fairway grass. I handed Cam the driver and could physically feel my chest pounding. It was a crucial drive and with the final hole playing not too long in the conditions surely a par here and I was home. I hit the best iron shot under the circumstances for the week in my opinion as my 6 iron found the green on the correct level some 15-18ft away. No birdie but a great par and that was followed with a perfect drive and second on the last for an opportunity at one last birdie for the day. It curled around behind the hole and I have to say I have never been more pleased to tap that ball in and sign for my 3 under par 69! I was playing Sunday golf at the home of golf, a childhood dream was going to be realised and although it wasn't a British Open, it was the next best thing!! Words can't really describe the feeling of that afternoon. I had only made a cut, I've done that before but this one is tough to do and from my draw it was statistically even tougher.
Saturday night was party night, well for lots of people it was. It's the Gala dinner in the Alfred Dunhill pavilion. After a rushed trip into H & M to try and find Cameron a jacket and tie we were ready to mingle. The room had been transformed from the Tuesday night and it looked unbelievable. There was now a stage set up for a band and tables and chairs arranged around a dance floor. It was incredible and you actually felt like a bit of a star walking in as those not playing the event lined the walk in to try and get a photo of some of the rich and famous, pretty sure no one took my photo!!
Before dinner was a fireworks display outside. The road and walk way along the 17th was packed as far as the eye could see, seemingly the tradition of Saturday night fireworks brought the town to a stand still. The fireworks were awesome and to see them light up the road hole was something I won't ever forget.
Back inside and out of the cold we found our table for the start of dinner. Low and behold right behind us was a table with Hugh Grant and Andy Garcia along with some other guy from Desperate Housewives whose name escapes me right now. Celebs were all around and it looked like it was going to be fun. I was on the waters however as I was the designated driver and I was still playing the next day. I did manage to meet Andy Garcia and get a photo but more exciting to me was meeting the FIFA PlayStation great from my earlier years Luis Figo!! He was obviously a superstar of the football world but I remember playing PlayStation with my mate Grant and whoever had Figo usually won to the roars of "Figoooo!!!" The band kicked off late which was a shame as I needed to get going and get to bed. I stayed for a few songs and the night looked like it was just getting going. I heard Brian McFadden sing a song and Huey Lewis a couple and Ronan Keating belted one out. Apparently they cranked it up after I left, according to Cameron anyway who I left there after KP complained to me that I shouldn't be taking him away!
Sunday was cold, really cold at only 4 degrees when I got out of the car at around 8:45am. Despite the cold it looked like it was going to be a fine day and the forecast was favourable for me, wind predicted to maybe change as we made the turn. I was off the tenth tee which was a little sad as I would have loved to have finished down the 18th but the reality was that it was an advantage with the wind direction to actually play off the tenth today.
I was paired with Shane Lowry today, a current top 50 player in the world and I think from memory the best current ranked player I have played with. After a good drive on ten we made an early mistake. With the pin cut short on the tenth you have to be long and I think we just needed to verbalise it. I had enough club but I just played it too cute and when it landed on top of the hump and spun back down I realised it wouldn't be easy from short. Error for sure and it cost me. Not just the bogey but also it created a few extra nerves for me and when I made bogies on 11 and 14 as well all of a sudden I was heading the wrong way and fast. On the other side of the coin Shane was on fire and raced to 5 under for the day after a great birdie on the road hole. When I three putted the 17th I was now 4 over thru 8 and somehow 9 shots behind Shane after starting the day level. I was having it handed to me and being shown how to do it by a quality player.
After a perfect drive up 18 and a great wedge shot to 15 ft to the Sunday pin front left I finally rolled a put in for birdie. That's a Sunday birdie on the 18th at St Andrews in a tournament that I will have forever. I only hope I am back there again someday to try and emulate that feat again. Ok it had taken 9 holes but I had broken the drought and hopefully this was the start of something.
A par on the first and a great drive down the second. Funnily a little kid clapped three times when I hit my drive on that hole and was the only one to clap. I decided to give that kid a signed glove and his eyes lit up when I said thanks for clapping and here's a glove. That boy and his dad then followed me the rest of the day and even waited around to say thanks and get a photo after I had done my scorecard. They absolutely loved following me along and I'm sure that kid will be out practicing hard as week speak.
My back nine was good, I was in the zone and reeled off three birdies to right the wrongs of the front nine. Despite the absolute marathon of the week and Cameron being at near death I was now playing well and wanted more holes. I think I would have gladly played the back nine again and forgotten about my earlier 9! It wasn't to be however I had to settle for a 1 over par final round after a bogey on the 9th. That annoyed me but once the dust settled I was really happy with my week. I had played exceptionally well, especially after an ordinary week at New Cal. To come here and produce when I needed to was very satisfying. I beat some great players this week and my game stood up under pressure for the most part.
It was a golfing week I will never forget. The courses were amazing, KP was awesome to play with and get to know and so were the other lads too. I have new contacts in the sporting world and beyond and I truly believe my game has progressed this week too. I am keener than ever to work at my game and try and avoid the small mistakes that ended up costing me multiple shots this week.
So that's my inside view of the week at the Dunhill Links, an incredible event that should you ever get asked to play just say yes and figure the rest out later!!
Home sweet home now for the Qld Open in a couple of weeks time, looking forward to it!