The Omega European Masters is an event I have watched on TV for years, admired the views, and envied everyone who played there, but never thought I would get to play it myself!
So achieving the dream of getting my Tour card for 2016 I was so excited to tick this event off my bucket list…but to then end up 5th reserve meant I never got the chance to play and had to watch it on TV again!
So, this year I was even more excited to play and visit Crans Montana, knowing that I was going to get my bite at the cherry after keeping my card for the 2017 season!!
After flying to Geneva from a successful week in Prague, I then had one of the most beautiful 2-hour train rides – courtesy of Omega!!
The train gets you to the bottom of the mountain and then BMW get you to the top! This really is living the dream, they couldn’t make the journey any easier for us!
The climb to the top is breath taking, it plateaus every so often and you think you’re there but then climb again further up the mountain where the views get better and better – to the point where you’re in the clouds!
On Saturday night it actually snowed and it felt you were level with the snow topped mountains whilst playing, but due to the size of the mountains is was just misleading as to how big and far away they actually were!
And the crazy thing was you could keep climbing higher and higher up the mountain we were on!!
The village of Crans Montana has a similar feel to St Andrews…you walk off the golf course into the village, the bars, cafés, shops and the buzz around the place is amazing! Relaxed, classy and totally chilled out!
On arriving at the course I signed in and collected my player welcome gifts from Omega – some aftershave, a cigar and some chocolates!
Tuesday and Wednesday I had some friends arriving – Ben Johnson, Michelle and Tony Booth, and Lin and Mike Ockenden.
It’s fantastic to have some #TeamHanson support at the event and to have them cheering me along through the good and bad of each round is great!
It was also great to meet Ian Saxton and his friend who were in Crans for the week and supported me throughout my rounds!
So I then had two full days to see the course, get used to the altitude and the difference that makes to the ball’s carry distance…and of course get my head around the spectacular views!!!!
Practice rounds can sometimes be tough, you have to play with the right people, it needs to be constructive and you don’t want to waste a minute!
At first I thought the course may be a bit too tricky, a bit fiddly and maybe even unfair…
But I soon changed my tune! It really was a good test! You had to shape the ball both ways, have full control over your shots and be super patient!!
Play well you can win, play poor you have no chance!! It was a fair course and I couldn’t wait to tee it up – I couldn’t have been more wrong!
The first two days I was paired with Anthony Wall and Dylan Frittelli, we all played steady for two days and all made the weekend, which was nice!!
For me, I was on the cut bubble with 7 holes to play and then made six 3’s in a row – four of them birdies – to cruise through the weekend level par cut on -3!!
I’ve played with Anthony a few times now, and the crazy thing is many of you probably haven’t heard much about his game, but to spend 20 years on the European Tour, win twice and bank €10 million is super impressive!
And I personally can vouch for him being one of the best players out there! You wouldn’t watch him on the range and think ‘wow’ like you would with Rory, DJ etc…
But that’s not real golf!! Real golf is scoring, not dropping shots, holing clutch putts, saving pars and making the easy birdies, and not hitting a shot till your 100% ready and committed – it doesn’t have to look as pretty as Rory can sometimes make it look!
Anthony does all the above and I sat down with him after round two to discuss his game! I learnt so much from him again, there were just stand out moments in his rounds which were world class and I can’t thank him enough for his time and the kind words he had on my own game too!!
I actually think that the conversation I had with him had immediate effect; the mindset and the lessons learned from those two days, plus having some great chats with my mind coach Iain Highfield, really rubbed off on me for the weekend!
I struggled off the tee, but wow did I make some Anthony Wall saves and decisions! I didn’t waste a shot and battled so hard over the weekend making every shot count!!!!
Thanks for the lesson, Wally, and your time across the pond in America, Iain!
Over the weekend I shot 70, 69 to hang around the leaderboard in the same position and finish T37th.
Again, more valuable OOM points and so many positives to take into the next week in the Netherlands for the KLM Dutch Open!
How my schedule looks…
- KLM Dutch Open
- week off
- British Masters
- Alfred Dunhill Links
- Italian Open
- Spanish Open