Dates: 27th August - 10th September 2012
After the British Masters, I was confused about what I should do next to get back on track. I wasn't sure if I needed a lesson or just keep practicing in the hope it will come together. I had a chat with my 'golfing mum' (Kirsty Taylor) who decided watching me play a few holes may shed some light on things. Stuart Little also kindly offered his advice and talked me through my thoughts and feelings. It was extremely helpful and I felt like I had some positive direction before my next outing. All I had to do now was to put theory into practice.
My first opportunity came at The Berkshire on 27th August. Pre-qualifying for the Ricoh British Open. I had a new frame of mind and a feeling of freedom for the first time since Germany. I had my brother Phil on the bag, who's always very amusing and kept me relaxed throughout the day. I hit the ball beautifully, I can't remember the last time I struck the ball so sweetly. It was such a wonderful feeling. I was hitting the ball long again off the tee and even the putts were dropping. Apart from 2 bad holes I had a bogey free round, and finished tied 5th. I was so relieved to get a good round under my belt. This was great preparation before Austria and a much needed confidence boost.
We had a hair raising taxi ride from Vienna airport, where the driver thought it was appropriate to drive at 110mph in a rusty old people carrier 6 inches from the car in front whilst on his phone! When we finally arrived at Forrenwald Golf Club, we thought it would be a good idea to get some lunch and a strong drink! ;)
I decided not to have a caddy this week. I was happy just to be in my own bubble and focus on the things I'd worked on. Practice went well and I was looking forward to the week.
Apart from having possibly one of worst starts to a round, dropping 3 shots, I was surprisingly calm, stayed focussed and from then on I didn't hit a bad shot for the rest of the day, making 6 birdies. It could have been even better as I had missed a 5 footer for birdie on 7 (my 16th)! I was really pleased with my come back, and was looking forward to continuing the momentum going into Saturday.
I didn't quite have the same solid iron play in round 2 and making birdies was hard work. I was satisfied to finish +1 total and was sure I'd be playing on Sunday. Unusually the cut mark went down a stroke. I was heartbroken to miss yet another cut, especially as I'd played well. It was hard to accept but I could take a lot of positives and I knew my game was back on the right track.
Next stop......Caldy Golf Club for Open Final Qualifying.
It was a quick turn around; I flew back into Heathrow and drove 4 hours north in a Yaris with two other tour mates and all our luggage, yes you could say it was a tight squeeze! We didn't get to bed until 2.30am, but thankfully we all had afternoon tee times.
Neil took over the caddying duties this time, I thought it was appropriate to have some help, especially when you have the prospect of playing in the Open. As pro's we hardly ever get to play links golf, so I had to reawaken those shots from my amateur days. It was quite refreshing and I hit the ball very well. I gave myself many birdie chances, but unfortunately struggled with the pace of the greens and left everything short, it was agonising! On the 18th, I had a 12ft putt for birdie, Neil threatened to kick me if I left it short, at which point I boshed it in the back of the hole for my only birdie of the day! I later discovered that I'd missed qualifying for The Open by a single shot and was in a play-off for the 4 alternate spots! There were 13 of us in this play-off and we weren't even guaranteed to get into The Open. We played till the sun went down, but it wasn't to be. So close! :(