Monday I was upto the north east of England, to Longhirst Hall for the Sweetspot Classic on the PGA Europro. A tournament I was very much looking forward to as Sweetspot is a company that I have a close connection with.
Although I was in the Pro Am I decided to play the course on Monday too. There is a lot of water on the course, with water coming into play on 15 of the 18 holes. I felt it was a good idea to look at the various lines off the tee and take notes of how would be the best way to attack each individual hole.
I was happy with my plan and looking forward to playing with one of the Sweetspot teams in the Pro Am, we started on the demanding par four 13th and I opened with a par, but then doubled the 14th. I went onto birdie the next two holes, after firstly holing from around 35ft then from 7ft at the 16th. I made another birdie at 18 and I was now under par for the round.
A poor tee shot out of bounds on 4 led to a double bogey, I then followed this up with a run of pars before making bogies on 9 and 10. This dropped me back to three over, but I had strong finish birding the last two holes to sign for a 71.
There was a number of positives from the Pro Am, making 5 birdies and holing a few putts, so I was looking forward to the 1st round.
Round 1 started at 2.50pm for me and I opened with a par before dropping a shot on the par 4 second, another dropped shot on six meant I was 2 over through six, at this point I was struggling with my game. I then hit a couple of good shots over the coming holes, especially my second into the 9th to three feet, which led to a birdie. I dropped a shot on the 12th after being impeded by a tree off my tee shot, but got the shot straight back at the next after I chipped in for birdie from just short of the green. A poor shot on the par three 15th led to a double bogey after finding the water.
I finished up making pars on the last three holes and signed for a 73, despite hitting the ball poorly, I managed to keep the score respectable until the 15th.
I didn’t have the best of starts to round 2, finding the hazard to the left of the fairway on number 1, after taking a penalty I then hit a 6 iron to 3ft and rolled that in for a par. Another poor drive off the second, couldn’t be saved and I made bogey.
I then played the 3rd hole well, but came away with par, but something had clicked and a run of 5 holes where I was hitting dead at the flags with long and medium irons, left me with a number of birdie chances and I converted two of them, the first being a putt of just under 10 feet on the 4th after a 4 iron approach. The par four 4th actually played the hardest hole of the day, averaging 4.91. My next birdie came at 7 after an approach to around 7ft.
I then got to greedy with my approach into the 8th and attacked a back pin with a long iron and I pushed it slightly and found thick rough to the side of the green and from here I made triple bogey and I was now 2 over for the round.
I then had a run of pars before dropping shots on 12,13,15 and 17 to finish up shooting 76 which led to a missed cut.
I didn’t hit the ball well at all through the week, but what was very pleasing was my putting was much improved and it was my first tournament of the year without recording a three putt. Now I have a week off to work on things and look forward to playing the Oxfordshire.