Double blogging this week as I’ve fallen behind… Denmark first, followed by my T14th in the Czech Masters, so skip half way down if you don’t want to read about the Danish event!
So, it was back to one of the best events of the year at the Himmerland resort for The Made in Denmark Championship!
This event is known for its huge crowds, concerts each evening, and the amphitheatre par threes – with the 16th probably one of the most famous holes all year – “Himmerland Hill”.
The reception you receive walking up to the green is amazing and if you make birdie then you’re in for a treat!!!
It was my third year back and I couldn’t wait!
I had #TeamHanson out with me last year and they were here again, but this year we managed to get into one of the on course summer houses, thanks to Jeff Winther one of the Danish players!
The resort is great too, the crèche for the kids is great, it backs onto an amazing miniature adventure golf course, and there is also a swimming pool, spa and bowling alley!
We hoped for good weather, as the previous two years it was shocking at times!!!
We got settled in the summer house Monday evening, booted out a few unwanted visitors and laid some poison, as it seemed a few little mice thought they could join us for the week!!
Tuesday I played a practice round with Laurie Canter and Eddie Pepperell, had a great laugh out there and felt to get my game in good shape for the week!
Wednesday was the standard practice and preparation day, followed by a fun swim with the kids and the Winther family!!
My last two appearances at Himmerland had gone ok, 50th and 18th, so I was positive going into the week!
We got the rougher side of the draw this week but it certainly wasn’t tough. People still scored Thursday afternoon but with no wind in the morning the majority of low scores came from that wave…
I played solid, stayed patient and in the end signed for 70 (-1); my ball striking was good, but I probably didn’t hit it close enough to create as many chances as I would have liked.
Day two I was out early…the forecast was for strong winds to build through the day, but it never really got worse.
Again, tee to green I played lovely and the stats proved it!
But bogeying my first two holes meant I was on the back foot all day!
I actually led the stats in fairways hit and greens in regulation for 36 holes (GIR).
And as good as those stats are it then led to some stick on social media as to how bad my putting must have been…
Ok, it wasn’t good, but it didn’t feel that bad and I’m making progress in that department for sure! But that GIR stat doesn’t tell you how close to the flags you were on the greens, remember it’s only saying you hit the green… and those greens were not flat!
With three holes to go I was +1 for the tournament and felt making another birdie I would be safe…. but felt +1 probably had a chance to make the cut too!
It certainly didn’t feel easy!
After waiting around for a bit we soon realised it wasn’t going to make the weekend, and in the end level par was only just safe!!!
So a weekend of practice and training, plus some quality time with the girls before we flew onto Prague Sunday evening!
And you guessed it, I spent most of that time on the putting green! It’s getting there – I will prove it!
THE CZECH MASTERS…
So onto Prague and it was a fresh week and a new challenge, it was my third year here but a first for the family!
If you haven’t been, you HAVE to come for a long weekend…it’s incredible, what a beautiful city, so clean, amazing architecture, cheap food, very cheap beer and so much to see!!
Laura and her parents were here to support this week and they all loved the city, it really is a fun event!
I had the day off Monday, you can’t spend all day every day 7 days a week at the course, so the clubs stayed in the flight bag and we walked what felt like the whole city, proper tourists for the day, walking round with the map and camera out!
We even took to the river for some paddle boating with the kids – tough work on the quads!!
Tuesday it was back to ‘work’ or ‘playing out’, as Laura calls it!!
I played nine holes in the morning and did some decent practice, but I was first reserve for the pro-am so didn’t want to play 18 in case I got the nod for the pro-am the following afternoon….
Wednesday morning was a big putting session then at 12ish I got the call, someone had pulled out with injury in the pro-am so I had to peg it up at 1 o’clock.
It certainly affected my practice plan for the week, but it was also good to keep getting some game time in…. don’t forget I didn’t play last weekend after a missed cut!!
So round one got off to a nice start, I holed from 10ft on the first for birdie then hit the perfect drive down the second and pitched it to 2ft!
Birdie birdie and away we went!! Another birdie on 5 and 9, I turned in -4 and was cruising nicely!
I birdied 12 and my only setback in the round came at the tricky 15th, where I probably got a little unlucky with the tee shot!
So a solid first round lying inside the top 5; that was nice to post a decent first round for a change.
The forecast for round two was pretty grim, rain all day, and wind to go with it!
Lee Slattery went out in the thick of it and somehow shot -7… the round of the day and beating the average by 10 shots – possibly the round of the year!
I really did get the lucky side of the draw, I warmed up in the rain, played my first hole, the tenth, in the rain…
Hit a 7 iron to three feet, made birdie, teed off on 11 and then we got called in!
So back to the hotel and up at 4.45am to get back for a long day of hopefully 35 holes.
Saturday there was no wind, no rain, and pretty perfect conditions, a chance to take advantage and a chance I took!
Ok, I get what people said to me, a long tiring day, but I preferred that to the rain the day before which Lee played in!
I hit seven iron again on the 11th after the restart to 3ft to follow up the first birdie!
I then played the rest of the round nearly flawless, my approach shot stats were out of this world gaining 5.80 shots on the field into the greens – I don’t think I’ve ever been above plus 3 before!
One bogey down my 13th (5th) but I bounced straight back with a birdie, and closed the round out with a 66 (-6) and it moved me into a three shot lead after 36 holes!
A dream start you could say!
As I mentioned with the delays, we were back out for another 18 holes and played the last in near darkness to get round 3 complete!
After starting the round perfectly making birdie down 1 and 2, I then went on to hit 3 scrappy tee shots which got me out of position and if it wasn’t for some very good putting I would have shot in the high seventies!
But I did tell you my putting was getting better, so it was nice to see some fall in!
I signed for 75 (+3) and was happy to get back to the hotel for a sleep and a lie in!
Round 4 I got off to a crap start, a perfect tee shot and a very positive second shot I then went on to play a very poor chip and three putted for bogey!
I’ve struggled all week out of the rough around the greens and had a bit of a mental battle with the shot you had to play, the grass is so thick and wet, and the shorter the shot the trickier it gets, and on camera it probably looks so simple!
I battled well, gave myself some good chances but in the end it was a 73 (+1) and I finished the week with an agonisingly close birdie putt on 18 and a T14th finish!
Would I have taken T14th at the start of the week following Denmark and that progression…? I’m sure I would!
But after 36 holes it’s obviously disappointing not to capitalise on a good week!
But that’s golf, every week is a learning curve and it only makes me more determined to go out there next week and get better!!!!
And especially when it’s Crans Montana in Switzerland for the Omega Masters, an event I have always wanted to play and have heard so much about!