I had started the day with the thought in mind that I wanted to try and make 72 pars, given that the course is tough and that last year I think 8 over got through. We have 100 players at the course trying to progress to final stage with only 30 spots available.
I played great today and fortunately brought most facets of my game to the course. I started nicely parring the first two holes despite hitting it inside 15 foot on both holes. The 3rd is a long tough par 3 but I hit a great 3 iron to 12 foot and made the birdie, nice start... A great 4 iron into the 4th saw a 5 foot birdie putt go in the centre and all of a sudden I only needed 68 pars!! I played the 5th perfectly having another 5 footer for birdie with the putt being almost a carbon copy of the previous hole, slightly downhill left to right, again dead centre...nice start. I then played the final 4 holes of the nine beautifully but missed all four chances, turning in 3 under
I started the back nine well with a birdie on 10 before things changed rather dramatically. The weather all of a sudden turned and in the blink of an eye we were suddenly playing in howling winds and the temperature dropped too. With 8 to go I was very glad I was at 4 under par already as I knew the back nine was going to be brutal from here. I parred the next 4 holes before getting such a bad plugged lie on 15 in the greenside bunker that I couldn't play at the pin and I didn't even think I could get the ball on the green. I was right, I splashed it out only to see it go off the front of the green some 25 metres away. I remained calm despite feeling very ripped off at the fact that this was the first bunker I had hit it into only to be so severely buried. I chipped it to a foot and made my first bogie of the day. My playing partner wasn't so lucky, having hit into the same bunker and also having a buried ball, he made a double bogie, ouch.
Now for what I think is one of the toughest closing stretch of holes I have ever played. Long par 4 followed by a par 3 over water followed by a brutal 18th which is long, uphill and has out of bounds left and right off the tee and close!! I bogied 16 after a poor second, my only bad iron shot of the day, parred 17 and then hit a great drive setting up a 3 iron into the last. I hit a great shot just finishing off the green to the right and it was a pretty easy two putt. Nice, a 2 under par 70 and into tied 4th after day one. 54 more pars and things will be rosy at the end of the week. One shot at a time is my focus and trying to stay very patient on a very difficult
Catch up with everything from the tour as I let you know about the course, conditions and my thoughts and feelings on how I am playing.....also some cool stories from the tour!!