If it wasn’t for the re-rank last Monday following the event in Austria, I wouldn’t have been playing this week….
At close of entries I was well down the reserve list, but Monday morning after the re-rank I comfortably jumped inside the ‘red’ line you see on the Tour website and into the event!
What a great feeling! One of my mini goals this year was to climb as high as possible on the re-rank. So to go from what was technically 28th to now 9th was a huge jump and I’m sure it was probably the biggest in my category!
I couldn’t ask for much more, and it then gave me a realistic chance to get a start in the French and Scottish Opens which are much larger prize funds on the schedule.
So last week it was the well-established event on the schedule in Germany, Dusseldorf!
The BMW Championship!
The last time I played in this region was back in 2007 when I managed to receive a random invite to a Challenge Tour event where I made the cut, with good friend Toby Garrett on the bag!
So to be back in the area (different course) with a European Tour card in hand is something I can honestly say back in 2007 I probably never thought would happen!
Good positive thinking there Chris!!!
Having a week at home has been great, my children are mad as a box of frogs, so much fun, but non- stop!
But with our new improved back garden, we’ve spent endless hours playing out, afternoon tea parties, hiding in the Wendy house and as you will now see by the pictures, sneaking some extra practice in on the newly installed green!!
Thanks to European Golf!
One thing I also managed that week at home was to watch some golf, and the biggest thing I noticed from watching the best in the world play was that my game is very similar to theirs! And more importantly, my course management and patience on the golf course are starting to mirror the best in the world!
I’m learning, and over the past 6 weeks I’ve learned a lot quicker!
At a golf course like Oakmont (US Open) you have to be patient, play to 40/50ft at times on the greens, accept you’re going to have tough two putts – but doing that takes away the big numbers of missing greens in the wrong places!
Par is, a lot of the time, a great score and chasing birdies can lead to disaster!!
You will get plenty chances on par fives when you get wedge in your hand or get around a green in two!
I admit it’s taken me a while to buy into this style of golf – boring, conservative some may say – but that is what the best in the world do, even if you don’t think that from watching the golf on TV.
And then the days they putt well, and hole a few outside chances, they compete/WIN!!
So the week in Germany gave me another opportunity to improve as a player, challenge myself and really enjoy playing another week on the Tour in a fantastic event!
Tuesday was the standard long travel day, and thanks to my brother in law I got a nice early 4.30am pick up to head to Manchester, a quick flight to Germany and then straight to the course – lunch, practice, play!
Long days but the key is trying to keep it very constructive, don’t waste any minutes out there as you don’t have enough hours in a day to be wasting any!
Wednesday I had a few ‘jobs’ to do; I picked up a few bits off the Scotty Cameron rep, some fresh shoes off Footjoy, some new Kangaroo leather grips off Taylormade I am looking to try, and then a 3 iron/driving iron off Mizuno which I’m looking to put back in play which I used to use a few years back!
It’s like Christmas every week on the Tour, and as sad as it sounds it’s something I dreamed of with my friends when aged 12 practising 30 yard spinning sand shots off the green keeper’s car park at Crosland Heath!
Again, this is also how the main tour is so different; I’ve mentioned it before how the hospitality is outstanding… But BMW took it to another level! WELL DONE!
By Friday night I still hadn’t had my hand in my wallet (you can insert your Yorkshire joke here about having deep pockets and short arms); other than paying for my flight, hotel and caddy I’d not needed to spend a penny, there is a constant supply of food, drinks, snacks, fruit, course snacks, and BMW courtesy cars on tap!
And like I say, they really do try to make it as easy as possible for the players!
I just really hope that the guys who have been out on Tour for years appreciate the efforts that go in to make their job easier…
– Equipment trucks
– Yardage books
– Fitness truck
– Tournament staff
– Courtesy cars
– Shuttle buses
And most importantly the Volunteers; I find it amazing how many they round up at these events! And if it wasn’t for the ball spotters many players including me at times would be shooting a lot bigger scores than they do!
Me personally, after 5 years on the Europro and 4 years on the Challenge Tour, I sure appreciate the opportunity I have, and the effort that goes in to running these great events!!
I also got the privilege of test driving the M4 and the i8 down the autobahn which was a cool experience, they just give you the keys and say “have fun”, see you in an hour!
So a 7.30am tee time Thursday was perfect! It doesn’t sound it with a 4am alarm but to get fresh greens for nine holes is luxury. That’s because they were super soft as they have had so much rain out there, so late afternoon they are a totally different surface.
2.30pm would not be an ideal time unless the weather man has his say!
In round 1 I played pretty solid, if you drive the ball well round here there are chances on every hole with it being so soft!
But miss the fairways and you’re hacking it out, even from the first cut of rough, I did this three times hence my bogeys/doubles on the card!
But in the end I signed for level par (72) which ended the day in 62nd position (top 65 make the cut).
I got off to the perfect start, 3 iron, wedge to 6 inches for a tap in birdie.
I played nicely for the rest of the front nine and got it to -4 which was a great move and safely inside the projected cut line of -1.
But then I felt the brunt of the German rough on ten and hacked it from right to left and walked off with double!
Then back to back poor bogeys set me back to level par and struggling to make the cut with four holes to go!
15th was my best chance, I hit an ok drive, then an ok 3 wood and it scrambled onto the green, and I two putted from 60ft! That was one birdie back…. Now on the cut mark with three tough holes to go!!
I got it back on 17, after a great approach to 15ft and a perfect putt!!
Rock solid par down 18 and I was safe for another weekend’s work!!
Waking up to torrential rain is never a good start to your morning as a golfer!
Neither is warming up in the rain, teeing off in the rain and playing 9 holes in the rain…
We then got called off the course, and three hours later got the message that there was no play for the day!!
That only meant one thing… Sunday was going to be a long day!!!!
For the first time in a long time I felt a little under the weather, I got to sleep by 8.30pm and didn’t wake up feeling much better…
Those last 9 holes of my third round Sunday morning were tough and I dropped too many silly shots to shoot +3 and drop down the board!!
After another breakfast I re-started my warm up for round 4 – and again got off to the perfect start down 1! 3 iron, wedge, birdie!
I missed a short birdie putt on two, then birdied 3 and 5 to be cruising at 3 under!!
A couple of bogeys around the turn but then two perfect shots on 13 followed by a 12ft birdie putt was enough to turn the round back into a good one!
In the end I shot 67 (-3) which was one of the day’s better scores and moved me back up to 38th.
Again a solid week, more money on the board but a week which just made me want to do some driver fine tuning for my next event!!
On the European Tour there is such a premium for driving the ball straight!!
I had a golfing dilemma now… It’s Open Qualifying on Tuesday which after 2014 was of course something I wanted to do….
But this week it’s a massive event on Tour, the French Open; before the last round I was 6th reserve… And with the way entries work they hold spots back for anyone finishing top ten the week before who is not exempt….
No one managed to finish top ten…. So then I had to wait in hope for the email to say I’m in the French Open and I can prep and plan for the week with no distractions from Open Qual!
A tough call to make, and there is a good argument for both playing and not playing, but me and my team have made what we feel this year is the correct decision!
I hope you have enjoyed another insight into my life on Tour, it’s been a fun journey so far, hopefully there are many more great weeks to write about!!
Also a huge thanks to Tim Bickmore for this message I received last week! This is exactly why I write these blogs!
– just to add to this latest blog, I did get the email I was waiting for and I’m now in the 100th French Open this week!!