So, after some time at home it was out to Hamburg, Germany, for what was set to be a wet week around one of Europe’s longest courses!
The plan was to get to the course Monday late afternoon for some practice, but with another delayed EasyJet flight those plans were soon out the window, especially when it was torrential rain when landing too!!
This week my good mate Adam Walker was out to support me for the week, and also steal as much free stuff as he could from the manufacturers – standard protocol!! He even had Steve collecting him as many Porsche tee pegs as possible!!
We also wanted plenty of extra raffle prizes for The #CharityBall, so expect to see plenty of TaylorMade and Srixon goodies Friday night for those of you attending!
So Tuesday it was time to see the course and with bad weather forecast we headed out sooner than we would have liked, and that didn’t stop us getting soaked!!! The forecast was right, we were going to get it this week, and all week!!!!
You always have to see the course, and practice rounds are essential, but sometimes they’re brutal and not always the best way to judge how a course will play…you play off the back of the back tees, and the pins are on slopes they will never use, so it’s always pretty tricky!!
Then throughout the tournament the tees mostly creep forward, so you may lose probably 10 yards off every hole by Sunday…but here was slightly different…with the length of the course, the casual water on the fairways, the strong winds and the design of the course, we actually had some tees moved up by 50 yards and on average over the 18 holes it was probably playing 30 yards shorter per hole than the card suggested!!
And it still played loooooonnnngggg!!!
As I said, the weather was shocking all week: wind, rain like you’ve never seen before, and lightning!! Such a shame for the sponsors, and it must have been sickening for the ground staff…they prepare the course for months to showcase their work and then spend all week draining greens and fairways.
But they did an amazing job and the greens held up so well!
My prep was good Tuesday/Wednesday and I felt quietly confident about the week, driving it well was key and I did all week. I’ve got some good thoughts/self-talk going on over the ball, it’s no secret.
“Just smash it!”
The first two rounds went nicely enough and after a few delays I managed to shoot 70, 72 for a -2 total to make the cut and that left me in around 55th position!
Weekend work is the first hurdle and that always gives you an opportunity to climb the board…another 70 (-2) moved me up a little more to 30th, and then with a U-draw two tee start on Sunday that meant I was nearly out first at 7.40am!
They did this with the expected thunder storms coming in throughout the day and it gave the Tour a chance of completing 72 holes!
So, a 4.30am alarm to get up to the course for breakfast, complete my warm up and have some treatment on my knee.
I had a slight issue with it about six weeks back, and it flared up again this week and I had treatment every day, had it taped up and used a regular dose of painkillers. It doesn’t hurt in my swing, just in general day to day movement! The guys on the truck did a fantastic job looking after me, as they always do, and now I have two maybe three weeks to get it sorted and ready for the next event!
So round 4 got off to a flyer!! Birdie, birdie, birdie!
I was off and running and moving up the board, with a 15ft birdie putt on the fourth I had the momentum, but then the klaxon stopped me in my tracks and we were off the course for two hours with electricity in the air!
After breakfast number two was polished off, we got back out and had a fun battle with the wind for the remaining holes. I played solid, made a few mistakes but always bounced back with some good birdies!
I missed a great chance on the 18th for birdie but signed off with another 70 (-2) and another jump up the board to finish the tournament T19th and move up the Race to Dubai to 89th!
A positive week all round with all areas of my game improving, it wouldn’t have taken many more putts to drop to be in contention this week, so that’s pleasing!
Again thanks to Adam for the support this week, and also Andrew Taylor (son of Stromberg’s Rodney Taylor) and family for driving from their home in Germany to cheer me on in the final round!
Firstly, it’s The #CharityBall on Friday 4 August, so please do get in touch if you fancy a fun night out, or would like to support the chosen charities in any way!
Then for me, it’s fingers crossed I get into the Paul Lawrie Matchplay, 64 players, straight match play, and currently I’m around 10th reserve! It’s a chance, but it could be last minute…
Then from there it’s Denmark, Prague, Switzerland, Holland! #GameOn