We were met with the worst conditions of the week for the final round, blowing a gale and raining off and on to add to the cold and the pressure of the final day!!
I started the final day in t36th position and needed to hopefully get inside the top 30 by the end of the day. I started solidly narrowly missing birdie on the first and hitting my second shot onto the green on the par 5 2nd hole leaving an eagle opportunity. It was a long putt though, some 80-100 feet! I hit a pretty good first putt but came up 6ft short. I missed the birdie putt leaving it short in the heart, not a great feeling on a day where birdies were at an absolute premium. Fortunately I made birdie at the next after playing a perfect hole and making the birdie putt from around 10ft.
The next hole was probably the biggest moment of the day. A par three playing down wind from the right with an 8 iron. I hit it a little left of my target so the ball started at the pin which was cut tight to the left side of the green. Halfway to the green the wind smacked the ball to the left and it was heading to the bunker. Only seconds later I realised that the wind really had it and it was no in danger of missing the 3-4m wide bunker. It did, it flew over the bunker by 1 foot, the problem was that 1 foot left of the bunker, some 7-8m left of the pin location, was out of bounds!! Goodbye ball!! How I mentally accepted that from not really a bad shot, was pivotal in my day. I took it on the chin, hit my 3rd into the green and two putted for a double bogey 5. Without fuss I handed my putter to Dave and onwards we went. Under the pressure of the day it would have been far easier to whinge at that point and complain how unlucky that was but more importantly it was about the next shot that mattered.
I played a super 5th hole but missed the putt for birdie, although I backed that hole up with a great birdie at the 6th. Having chances at 7 and 8 that I didn't convert it was kind of a relief to make birdie on 9 back into the wind over the water to turn in 1 under.
So with nine to play and being about to play our 100th hole of the tournament we were 11under and certainly had given ourselves every chance of getting my tour card. The conditions were terrible, it was still raining on and off and the wind was extreme to play golf in!! The harder the better I thought though!!
I birdied 11 and bogied 15 to solidly get through to the final 3 holes of this marathon probably with the feeling we needed 2 birdies to be safe. I had a 30 footer on 16 which i missed and about 15 foot on 17 for birdie that I just missed too. The 18th was a par 5 and so my thoughts were to finish with an eagle to get the job done. After a good drive and second I had about 55m to the hole from the rough just short left of the green. I hit a great shot that was right on line but stopped about 10 feet short. Given that one of my playing partners had only 3 feet to the hole for his birdie to get to 12 under I knew I needed to make it. Every shot matters and with a count back system being used to split ties and give you a specific finishing position it was critical I made this putt. I didn't change anything, just saw the line and tried to roll it on it, it went in dead centre much to my relief. It was all over, 108 holes of both physical and mental challenge, playing for a chance to have a job next year.
The stress hadn't finished though as the nervous wait for all of the other scores to come in over the next 2 hrs had just begun. Was 12 under going to be enough??
I packed my gear up and paid my bill and Dave and I headed for the hotel. Anything to occupy us for the next couple of hours. Finally after hitting the refresh button a few times the scores were up, I madly tried to see my name and the elation of seeing it at number 22 was enormous!! I couldn't believe it, what a great result and tears of joy were coming down my face. I raced across the corridor and knocked on Dave's door, when he surfaced I asked had he seen the scores? He said no and I said "22 baby!!!!" He was just as elated as his work this week getting me through has been enormous!! We shared a man hug and then spent a few minutes reflecting on the week that was!!
I have my tour card for the Japanese Tour for 2014!! I am very excited and I guess this means a few more blogs from Japan next year.
Thanks for the support everyone this week and particularly my wife Rach for her incredible strength love and support!! She is amazing and it makes all of this worthwhile knowing I am trying to build a future for her and the kids.
Next week is the Aussie Finals and hopefully a great result there too!!