After four weeks off and some decent practice, I felt I was set for the event in Madrid. But I guess because you haven’t actually competed for four weeks you’re just never too sure how match sharp/ready you’re going to be!
The weather for everyone’s prep was shocking – rain, windy, cold, and the wind chill must have been minus degrees at times!!
I was one of the last few groups out in round one and felt that may be a better time as we didn’t get the really cold early start.
But I think the general consensus was that we got the tough side of the draw, it was wet from 5pm and that, with the wind, made it so cold again!
I was a couple under for half the round, then through the rain I let a few weak shots cost me bogeys and, in the end, carded a 73 (+1).
A shame after being under par and it then left me plenty of work to do, thinking the cut would probably be -2/3 come Friday evening.
Through 10 holes of round two I was +2 for the tournament but battled hard, dug in and birdied 2, 5, 6 and 7 to give myself a chance.
A par save on 8 then a great shot into 9, I trickled a smelly putt down to a few inches and thought maybe I had a chance on -2 total.
As did many, many other people, after the number of messages I received for my battle!
In the end it comfortably missed as it fell to -4, which if you think about it, it probably should have been expected as there was no rough on the golf course!
A bit of juicy semi rough but smash it way off line past the semi and you were on hard pan or another fairway!!
It was bomber’s delight, and paradise if you hit the odd wide ball as you were never losing it!
Not my cup of tea, as normally you get a good reward and a fair driving exam!!
Roll on Morocco!!
So, after missing the cut, I got to explore the city of Madrid with the family which was great, the kids loved the national science museum! We then got home early for a day of practice with Steve before heading out to Morocco!!!
And this year a slightly new challenge in Morocco was waiting.
After receiving an email from the Tour a month back with details of all the new green changes, it sounded like the course was going to be incredible.
It’s already a great course, narrow fairways and small greens…so how good could it be? Could they make it better?
Four greens were the same as previous years but they have all been re-laid and the other 14 have had elephants buried underneath them!
Nearly everyone’s instant impression was they hadn’t made it better….
Some greens now looked crazy and possibly unplayable in parts. If you got chance to watch it on TV, I hope they showed the 4th, 9th, 10th and 17th where the pin positions are now so limited!!
Anyway, I still love the place! It’s a fact that if you now play bad you really don’t have a chance and if you play good you’re in the mix!
Very similar to India this year!
Good morning practice Tuesday, 18 holes prep, then back to the hotel gym for a session with the Tour Strength and Conditioning coach!
Wednesday saw the arrival of coach Pearson!!!! So I just knew it was going to be a productive day, and a great laugh!!
#TeamHanson spirit is through the roof, it’s always a day of total piss take, normally at the expense of Steve, and as always he takes it great and gives it back in equal amounts!
In this team no one hides away from criticism, everyone is super keen to learn and do whatever it takes to push closer to our goals!!
The environment we work in is first class and I’m sure in every business it’s something they all should be striving to achieve!!!
It’s a team effort! Even if Steve does think he hits the shots (that’s a caddy joke, promise).
So, as expected, a great day of practice, a quick session on the Tour fitness truck and I was set for round 1.
Round one went ok, it didn’t feel great, but Steve and Mark both felt we managed it well.
In the end I shot level after holing a nice birdie putt on 18, and then to see my ‘strokes gained’ stats relative to the field as all positive, it was a pleasing thing to see!!!
Round two…today we were in for a battle!!
Starting on 10 I flushed my tee shot and we were off! Missed a great chance on 11… but it felt good!
15th I made birdie and was under par, but not for long, following it with a bogey! I made a great up and down on 18 to turn in 1 under and was in good spirits!!
But this place is just tough and doesn’t offer up many chances, my game started to get a little scrappy and after a poor tee shot on 6 I made bogey.
I thought the cut would probably go to +3 and I’m not going to lie, it was in the back of my mind.
Down 7 I found my drive stuck behind a lone tree, I tried to chip 5 wood as I had no follow through and use the spring face to get it up near the green.
Another bogey, I was now +2 with what should be a birdie chance par 5, and then a tricky island green par three!
It was far from a straightforward finish, I pulled my tee shot, and again was stuck behind a tree, I had to play a sand wedge left handed out of a rough lie…. I made contact and it flew across the fairway into the rough/trees at the other side.
I was now knee deep, I hacked it 70 yards forward then thankfully held my cool to hit a 7 iron to 15ft and rolled it in!!!!!!!!!
I missed a great chance on 9 but was happy to hang onto the right side of the cut line, it’s felt like a while since I’ve played a weekend!!!!!
I set off really nicely in round three, with birdies on 2 and 5, it kind of felt in cruise control, but I guess the minute it normally feels like that the game then bites you!!
Soon enough I was +1.
I played some great stuff from 11 through to 15, with a birdie on 12, but didn’t capitalise on lots of good chances.
If you miss the fairway on 16 it’s tough, a bogey there followed by the worst bogey of the day on 17.
A birdie on 18 would have made the day feel a lot better, and after a perfect drive I left myself a number where I could find the green. I’m not one to hit many high draws on demand, so to hit a high draw with a five wood from 270 and see it pitch on the green was pretty satisfying.
Unfortunately, it bounced through the back and I failed to get up and down! Argh!
I hit a few putts that afternoon, smashed a strong gym session, then got back to the hotel, packed up and chilled out ready for one last round before heading to China!
Round 4 – it felt again like every round this week, really good, got it under par through half way and then stumbled over the finish line either level par or over par!!
I had a good chance to go to -3 on the 13th but missed that and from there it went the other way with bogeys at 14 and 16! Soft bogeys too….
18 is a chance if you smash a tee shot up there…did I?? Nope! I smashed it into the trees, tried to get a free drop for animal scrapings, which the ref was having none of!
So, a penalty drop, a crap lay-up, but saved by a nice 18ft putt for par!!!
T41st 72, 74, 74, 72
Was it a good week? It was ok…but what was very satisfying was the progress I have made on a couple of aspects of my game by applying some new processes to them over the last five weeks!!
I’m pretty excited, as most of the time it’s easy to see the changes in practice but then on the course is where it counts!!
Already I’m looking forward to competing in China!!
Let’s hope for some more progress!!
It’s been a while since I ran a competition, so here goes….
Fancy winning a dozen Titleist ProV1’s and a Callaway Tour bag towel?
Then email or contact me on social media with the answer to the below question and if it’s correct then you’re in the draw!
• Which superhero is on my new custom www.pegolf.se three wood head cover? It’s also my youngest daughter Olivia’s favourite character!!
Clue: the answers in this blog
*entries close 29 April – with the draw done the following week*