I had a rough start today when I missed a 5 foot putt for par on the first and then bogied the long par 4 third. My head did drop a little at that point as my target of getting to 3-4 under in these conditions now seemed improbable. I said to my caddy let's at least shoot under par today, which in itself was going to be an effort. After a quality drive down the par 5 fourth I was left with 218m into the island green. The wind was howling left to right and I had 200 to carry the water to the front edge. Nothing was nice about this shot as there was water the whole way around except for long and left which is where you enter the green from. I looked at my caddy and he said " I like 3 wood" to which I replied "I bet you do, you don't have to hit it in this howling left to right breeze to an island green!!" He laughed as he took the wood cover off and handed me the 3 wood. I reluctantly accepted it and hit it, pulling it slightly left which meant a long carry to get over the left hand water to reach the greenside bunker. Fortunately it got there and a great "sandy" saw me with my first birdie of the day.
A great 9 from 156m to the island green on the 6th to make par and then a birdie at 6 and I was feeling a little better. A three putt on 7 followed by some adventures on the 8th. After a drive into the right rough I got a flyer with my second to see my ball bounce just in front of the gallery and then over them long of the green. Picture this, I was on a down slope in the rough 20m from the green with a cart path in front of me followed by a mound of rough and then about 15 foot of green all downhill to the pin!! Easy!!! Not!! After surveying the shot I walked back to Brett, my caddy and he said 58 - lob wedge -, I said no I don't think so mate, that shot is no chance, impossible to get it close, I think I am going to hit it on the cart path and bounce it off there into the rough and hope it just gets through and releases down next to the pin...."I like it" he said. The exciting thing was that there was a good 100 or so people in the gallery at this green and of course they had crowded around to see what I was going to do. When I took 8 iron and walked down to see where I was going to land it on the path a murmur started as they were realising what I was going to do. I hit it perfectly, bouncing off the cart path into the rough and a couple of hops, the whole time the crowd riding it and willing it on in their Japanese language which ended in a collective oooooohhhhh as my ball came up 2 feet shot. A big round of applause anyway as they loved the imagination to play it off the road. After chipping it close and tapping in for bogie I signed my ball and gave it to a lady in the gallery who thought all her Christmas's had come at once!! Another big cheer from the crowd.
Birdie at 9 and a really solid back nine which plenty of chances but not making too many saw me shoot 2 under round the tougher of the two nines. Despite missing the cut I was really happy with the effort and feel as though the "under par" monkey is at least off my back now!! Onwards and upwards from here. Practice again tomorrow and then a day off on Sunday to head to the next venue for next weeks event in the Chiba prefecture. Looking forward to it.
Thanks for all the messages everyone, it is always nice to see the messages coming in, sometimes it feels like you are a long way from home over here so I love to read the messages of support!