Before this week I had a week off to concentrate on a few things in my game and get my game in shape for the coming weeks.
So come Monday I was off down to The Oxfordshire for the latest Europro event. On arriving I spent some time on the putting green working on my pace puttting before going out to play a few holes, to familiarise myself with the course. It was probably 5 years since I had last played The Oxfordshire.
The course was in great shape, with the greens being very true and a good pace. This was going to provide a tough but fair test for the week and you could see why the course had held a European Tour event for four years running in the late nineties.
Onto Tuesday and I played in the pre-tournament pro am and I made a poor start by being three over through 4 holes, but after this I hit a number of good shots and started to make a few birdies. I ended up shooting 71 which is 1 under par. The way I finished up the round was very pleasing and a confidence booster before the 1st round.
Round 1 was hit by a couple of fog delays and my original tee time of 1.40 was now pushed back to 3.25, I started off by making a couple of good par saves on 1 and 2 from 10ft and 5ft before birding the 3rd after hitting my approach into 6ft.
I then went onto par 4 and 5, before making birdies on 6,7,8 and 9. Three of the birdies came from inside 5ft and one from 15ft on the 8th. Onto the back nine I continued to hit good shots, but didn’t quite give myself any good looks at birdies until I hit a wedge to within a foot on my 14th and now I was 6 under for the round. I would go on to drop 3 shots over the final 4 holes and end the day with a 69 which left me in 14th place.
I still felt confident despite the finish and the second round continued similar to the first in that I was hitting the ball well and I added a first birdie of the day on my 3rd hole. It felt as if I my game was under control and I was playing well. I gave myself some really good birdie looks from the 10th hole but none would drop and I had to wait till the 16th hole before one did fall, this put me at 5 under for the tournament with two holes to play. Good shots into the last two set me up for birdie, 17 came up short, but I made sure on 18 when I rolled in a 15 footer to end the day with another 69 which pushed me into 8th place going in to the final round.
The final round would start with the wind at its strongest of the week and I opened with a par before making birdies on holes 2 and 3 which got me to 8 under for the tournament and now four back of the leader. I gave these shots back on 7 and 8 and I fallen 10 shots behind the lead. I made a very good two putt on 9 which gave me a little momentum. I made pars on 10 and 11 before a birdie on 12, then I made eagle on 13 after holing a pitch shot from 91 yards. I would go on to make another birdie on 16 which got me to 10 under. I hit another good shot into 17 and was left with around 6 feet for birdie which agonisingly didn’t drop.
I hit a good drive down 18 and followed it up with what I thought was the perfect 2nd but it didn’t quite reach the top tier where the pin was located, I was left with a very slow putt up the hill from around 35 feet and it came up 4 feet short from there and I pulled my par putt and I was again round in 69, for a 9 under par total.
So I finished the tournament in a 6th place only two shots off being in a playoff.
I played a lot of good golf through the week and had mixed emotions. It was good to be up near the top of the leaderboard but there was a touch of disappointment in coming up short. There is now only 3 more events left on this years schedule, with Montrose up next and another to chance to play links golf.