This week saw a 400 mile journey to the north of Scotland to Lossiemouth just north of Elgin to Moray Golf Club. A drive that would take near on 8 hours and with going this far north to a links course, what was the weather going to be like, would it be wet and windy, hopefully the sun would come out at some point.
Well the bobble hat and mitts were packed just incase, but the weather certainly surprised all the players with the temperatures in the mid 20’s all week, hardly any wind and only a cloud every now and then.
With such a long drive ahead, I made the decision to leave a day earlier than normal and get upto Lossiemouth on Sunday evening, so as to be fresh on Monday to get my practice round in.
This proved to be a good decision as I arrived at about 4pm and was able to unpack and relax before going down to the club to have a wander round and do a little bit of putting.
After walking the course it was easy to see that it was going to be a good test of shot making and patience, with a number of holes offering many ways of playing them.
Monday arrived with some fantastic weather and this showed what a wonderful setting we were going to enjoy throughout the week. What we didn’t know was that we were going to have an air show going on around us and we would have a front row seat with the fighter jets taking off and landing only a couple hundred yards from the 7th tee.
With the good weather and feeling refreshed from driving the day before, I played 18 in the morning and then followed this up with another 12 holes in the evening and I felt like my game was in good shape and I was comfortable with my plan for each hole.
Tuesday was Pro Am day and I started from the 15th tee and again I was paired with three really nice guys who were all single figure golfers. With a gentle breeze coming from the opposite direction of the last couple of days, it was a good chance to see how the holes would play differently. We played well as a team and managed to amass 84 points which proved to be good enough to be the winning team score. It was great to see the three of them of picking up a new Motocaddy trolley each and nice for me to pick up some prize money. I shot 71 which finished 6th three behind the winning score.
So onto the first round on Wednesday morning and I got off to a good start picking up birdies on the second, fourth and seventh to move quickly to 3 under par and one off the early lead and I gave myself further birdie chances over the coming holes, I then hit my first bad shot of the day on the 12th and after pitching up to about 15ft, I then three putted for a double bogey and then dropped another shot on 13th and I was back to level par. A good birdie on the par 3 15th got me back under par, two good shots into 17 and I had a good look at eagle which just slipped by. A 3 putt on 18 from around 12 feet certainly left a sour taste, but I was round in 70 and in a tie for 25th.
The start of round two was delayed by an hour and a half and this meant I would now start my second round at 4pm, the wait was worth it when I drove the first green and two putted for birdie, a bogey at the second pushed me straight back. Further bogies at 6 and 8 meant I was out in 2 over par, I picked up a birdie on the 10th after driving just short of the green, but gave the gain back at the very next hole with another bogey. I then had a few chances for birdies without taking any before birding the 16th.
I then had a lapse of concentration on the 17th green and 3 putted from around 20 feet for bogey and then hit my tee shot out of bounds on 18, which then left me in a terrible position, knowing that I would now need to make bogey to make the cut. I hit a good drive and then had eyes only for the pin from just over 100yds, I had to get up and down to play the final day. I hit a lovely shot in that finished 6 feet behind the hole and when I rolled it in, I walked off with a great amount of confidence, knowing that I had turned things around when I needed to.
So onto the third and final round and the aim of moving up the leaderboard as far as possible, I was off at 8am with a marker, Alex Mair a 1 handicapper from the club. I played steady in the final round picking up a birdie on the 2nd, but dropping a shot on the 4th. The rest of the holes were mostly regulation pars before I bogeyed the 14th, I would soon get the shot back when I drove the 16th green and two putted for birdie.
After two good shots into 17 onto the back edge, I rolled in about 25 footer for eagle and I was now 2 under for the day, a 3 putt at the last from distance meant I was round in 70 and with the course playing tough in the conditions, I was surely only to keep moving up the board, which I did to finally finish in 27th position. An example of how fiery the course was on the last day was when I hit a 340 yard 2 iron down the par 4 12th.
My game was pretty close to being near the top of the leaderboard and I have two weeks off now to keep working on my game and hopefully I can get into contention over the coming tournaments.
I won’t be playing the next PGA Europro event in Ireland due to cost but will play Rowallan Castle next.