We were welcomed to the day by the soft sound of rain outside and once again cold conditions. The forecast was right yet again and our pre round activity involved being ready for a wet day at the office. Imagine turning the air conditioner down to about 5 degrees in your office and then putting the fire sprinklers on lightly and having to work in that all day! Certainly not ideal but on a positive note at least it wasn't blowing a gale as well!!
Warm up went well and I strolled to the first tee talking over some strategies with my caddy Nathan. We discussed the need to keep any "big" scores off the card in a week like this and that safety and bogey was the option to go for if we found ourselves in trouble at any point. We didn't have to wait long, my first tee shot of the tournament sailed way right of my target and straight out of bounds! Such is my mental state at the moment I simply picked up my tee and walked towards Nathan and said "Well that's random? Can I have another ball please?" Once the other guys had hit off, I hit another off the tee straight down the middle. Arriving at my ball I had a 3 wood to the par five green off a slight downslope. I managed to knock it on and hit a great putt that just missed for a miracle par but settled for a really good 6 given the out of bounds ball.
I'm amazed at how calm I have become on the course these days, I take my focus off golf and place it on something else. Today I really tried to compliment the other 3 players in the group as much as possible and really be encouraging. I know that sounds weird when they are my direct competitiors but it really helps me not stress about my game at all.
I played a really solid next 10 holes and found myself with some chances and making a few of them to be -3 through 11 holes. I just missed birdie on 12 but strangely missed a short par putt to drop a cheap shot. Solid holes for the next two without converting two good chances. On 15 I made a poor club choice and went long which is a big no no around here, usually leaving you no shot to salvage par which this one did for me.
With 3 to play the rain had increased and the temperature had seriously dropped, somewhere in the 5-6 deg range, maybe colder as the wind had arrived too making it so joyous to be out there.
I again played two really good holes only to make pars before a poor iron shot into 9 left a tough chip from the rough that I managed to get to about 6 foot. Thankfully I made the putt dead centre and that left a good taste in the mouth as we scrambled for the refuge of the clubhouse's heating system! So 1 under on day one, not great but not terrible. I sit tied 63rd chasing a top 35 spot with 5 days to go hopefully!!
Just a little side note, Y.E Yang, a former major winner is here this week playing, it's a strong field this year and I will have to be at my best to get through. Look forward to hopefully sharing some more stories from the most gruelling week of the year with you!!