A disappointing Shenzhen Open!!

Another cracker of a course last week! I don’t think I’ve actually played a bad course in China, they just seem to know what they are doing…

From the locker rooms to the course, everything is 1st class; I guess they just have the money to throw at it like in Dubai!

Compared to the course the previous week, it was very different; this week the exam off the tee was nowhere near as strong!

On the eye it was a lot easier and if you missed the bunkers it was just the semi rough you had to tackle and not 50ft Moroccan trees!

But again another week of different grass, so you just need a little extra time to get used to chipping and putting, how the ball comes off the face, and how it reacts on the greens!

Putting practice!

Putting practice!

I didn’t get much sleep that Monday night, time zones are a tough one to crack and with a seven hour difference I found it hard to get to sleep, then when the alarm gets you up you certainly don’t want to move!

I played my practice round Tuesday with Robert Karlsson, a super nice guy and extremely helpful…nearly too helpful as I think he wanted Steve’s job! It was like having a second caddy for most of the day; we got the full run down of the course from ALL his past experience…nearly in as much detail as which blade of grass to aim for!

After 18 holes we were pretty much wiped out, so headed back to the hotel, had a gym session and tried to eat late.

I got back to my room for 10.30pm with the hope of getting a good night’s sleep…No chance…4.30am I was still awake – it’s so frustrating and I even resorted to counting sheep at one point, my head was spinning, thinking of everything, my body was still telling me it’s early evening!

Jet lag is a nightmare, and there is not much you can do about it!

Power nap!

Power nap!

With the heat, the jet lag, and just general exhaustion from the travel, Wednesday was a ‘light’ practice day.

I did what I had to do, got the swing in a better place, did some good short game practice and got out of there!

A chilled out evening and I even surprised myself by getting a good meal down me…it was steak and veg though!

It’s the only part of the world where I struggle with the food; some players have no problem but I’m not a fan out there, so the strict diet takes a bit more of a back seat and you eat what you like and make sure you’re not going to bed hungry!

Once I find a meal, I stick to it, it’s a safe bet then.

I was actually dreading going to bed, another night like the previous night could ruin me…if I didn’t get to sleep again till 4.30am with a 5am alarm I don’t think a 30 minute power nap would get me through the day playing 18 holes in the heat!

I felt my eyes going at ten…that was it, let them go and see what happens!

I had a great sleep and felt pretty good waking up at 5am – I even had chance to ring Laura as I woke up, it was only 10pm at home!

Time zones really are incredible!!!!

Round 1 was steady away, a couple of really good par saves, and just one three putt bogey from long range!

With the grain, you get some uphill putts that are just so slow! I was saying to myself…

“Come on Chris, smack it up there, give it a chance” then see it pull up 6ft short again!!!! Argh!

Then you got a super quick one downhill, down grain, and had no idea how hard to hit it!!

Grain is as incredible and as mind baffling as time zones!!!

In the end I signed for 70 (-2).

I managed another decent sleep that night and was set for an afternoon of golf, storms and more expected delays!

We played four holes in a mix of torrential rain and strong winds and then the klaxon went…I was 1 over at the time and felt the delay probably wasn’t a bad thing for me.

So, looking for a fresh start Saturday morning – even with a 4am alarm call.

The day didn’t go to plan; I hit some OK shots but never capitalised on them, then missed a couple of greens and struggled with the rough around the greens leaving my chips way short…

The grass looks and feels so thin, and you expect to club to comfortably get through the grass, but it doesn’t and you soon lose the desired club speed and in turn lose the strike!!

I didn’t make a birdie in the second round, let a few shots go, but battled all the way; I gave myself a great chance with three to play but missed from 7ft.

I followed that up with a world class up and down from the sand on 8, and then proceeded to play one of my worst holes of the year to miss the cut by one!

It wouldn’t surprise me if the 9th hole played the easiest all week – a straightforward drive sets you up for a 240ish approach to the par 5.

I had a 5 wood off the down slope and hit one of the worst shots of the year out right and out of position; I left myself in a tricky spot but shouldn’t have taken 4 to get down from there!!!!!

What a mess, what a huge disappointment and such a sour feeling to follow such a fantastic week in Morocco!

Golf sure isn’t easy at times, even if sometimes it does feel that way, but it certainly has the habit of knocking you straight back down to ground level if you get ahead of yourself at all!

I’m not sure I did, but I certainly got frustrated with how the two days panned out!

But like life, golf is very similar in that you learn from your mistakes if you allow yourself to, so let’s hope I do!!

So a mammoth journey home…

  • Three-hour drive to Hong Kong,
  • 14 hours in a hotel
  • Three-hour flight to Bangkok
  • Three-hour connection
  • 12 hours to Heathrow
  • 4-hour drive home

I now have three weeks before my next event in Sicily, which is the start of a four week run, including my first BMW PGA Championship and the first event in the new Rolex series!!

Exciting stuff!