My game off the tee was a little haywire early whilst the nerves were settling but then I found the groove and really started to hit my shapes and targets well. The first round was a terrible start being 3 over through 3 holes despite hitting 2 of 3 greens in regulation. The 3rd hole saw me get a plugged ball where I could only see around 15 dimples on the ball resulting in a double bogey. It was important for me to not go back into my shell after a poor start and to stop believing in the changes I have made. I verbalised this with Troy my caddy and we made sure we kept playing the way I know I want to be able to play. Despite the scores and birdies not coming, after a poor 5 over through the first 7 holes, to finish 6 over gave me some good encouragement to build on. My long game wasn't really the issue but the ball just wouldn't find the hole on the greens. I had a total of 22.5 feet of putts holed for 18 holes, averaging just over a foot per hole. That is without doubt the lowest hole out total I have ever had.
Today in the second round we started in drizzle and cool conditions. After missing the green right on the first I played a great trap shot to 4 feet but as was the case yesterday, missed the putt. When you are chasing some confidence you really like to make those sorts of putts early. After two good looks at birdie on the next two holes without making the putts despite hitting great putts I made bogey on 4 and 5, the one on 5 coming thanks to a 3 putt. Once again the inability to make some putts either for birdie to get the round going or for par to keep me plodding along. Two solid pars were then followed by 2 bogies and as I walked off the 9th green I was wounded but not broken. I had still played some great golf but as I said without the putts dropping had no rewards to show for it.
The back nine on a Friday when you can't make the cut is usually really unenjoyable, almost a waste of everybody's time. Today, with withdrawing out of the question, I decided to put some pressure on myself to make it into a challenge for me so that I was going to get something out of it for next week. I told Troy that I had to shoot par or better or I would give him an extra 10000 yen, the equivalent of around $100. This is maybe what I should do every 9 holes as I played a flawless 9 holes missing just 1 fairway and hitting all 9 greens in regulation in a display of ball striking that was truly up there with the best I have done in a long time. I still didn't make any putts really with one 7.5 footer for birdie on 15 and then a 2 putt birdie on 17 after a sublime high fading 3 iron to 30 feet gave me an eagle chance. It was a truly satisfying nine holes and Troy and I made some notes on what we did differently there and also just made note of my emotional state as we played as that nine holes was the formula for what we need to do each nine for the rest of this year. I shot 2 under doing it easily and had two 12 footers and an 8 footer for birdie in that 9 holes which could have made it a really good 9.
So onwards and upwards I go from here. The new long game stuff is so exciting and I have never hit the ball so strongly before. I am really looking forward to next week and in particular a months time when I come back up here having a few more weeks under my belt. I will head out to the course tomorrow to practice and am planning on wearing a hole in the putting green....pardon the pun. Thanks as always for following along and I always love your messages of encouragement and support. Have a great Easter everyone, it is a special time in my life and my faith so hope you get a chance to stop and think about it's meaning for you too this weekend.