Date: 13th - 17th December
Just hours after flying from Dubai, I flew straight back out of Gatwick and off to Morocco. No time to wash my clothes and no time to fix my game. I wasn't at all happy about returning to Q School but I didn't have a choice. At least the weather was going to be better than at home!
Once I arrived and met up with my caddy for the week, I got my brain in gear and started preparations for the week ahead. There were 2 courses to learn, Al Maaden the newer of the two and a lot more forgiving and Amelkis, which was more mature and had a lot more character. Both courses had stunning views of the snow capped Atlas Mountains, it was quite a picture.
The first round at Al Maaden was hard work. I had been struggling with my Driver and had no confidence to use it, so for the most part I survived with just my 3 wood. I limited the damage to 73 (tied 72nd) but the course was there for the taking and that's exactly what the majority of the field had done.
Amelkis: Round 2 started well. I teed off the 10th and made a birdie. I had a bit of a wobble on 12 and 14 where I found the waste land but I managed to salvage my par. The back 9 was where it got exciting, my putter was on fire and I had 7 consecutive single putts. I finished with an unfortunate 3 putt for bogey but 67 put me right back in the game (now tied for 19th).
Continuing with just my 3 wood off the tee, the 3rd round was back at Al Maaden. I came a little unstuck on the 8th where I left myself an unusually long 2nd shot into the green but apart from that I was playing sensibly and managing my game well. Finishing -2 for the day and -6 for the tournament.
Back at Amelkis for the 4th round before a cut was made for the top 60 and ties. Despite starting with a 3 putt I was playing steady golf. A very poor swing on 16 meant that I had to reload and I ended up with a horrible double. It was frustrating to have undone all the hard work at this stage but I quickly refocused and made a birdie 2 on the next. My aim at the start of the day was to shoot under par, I was very happy to have done just that. 71 put me at -7 for the tournament and tied 23rd.
I wasn't quite sure how I'd managed to be 7 under par the way I was hitting it but I certainly wasn't complaining. My putter had definitely been my saving grace so far this week, I was just hoping that it had one more day of magic to give.
That evening I thought it would be a good idea to take my mind off golf and experience the real Marrakech. We visited the market square, a crazy bustling place where lots of weird and wonderful things were going on. Snake Charmers, camels, monkeys, and hundreds of stalls all selling the same counterfeit goods. You couldn't move an inch without being coaxed in.
I had a bit of a sleepless night on Sunday. I couldn't imagine not having another full year on the tour, especially now I've had a taste of it.
After a slightly shaky start, I thought of all the poor people watching the live scoring back home, so I told myself to pull my finger out. The moment I holed a putt for birdie on 6, I started to believe. I then holed a 20 footer on 7 followed by a 90 footer on 9. Now that's what I'm talking about! I got into my stride on the back 9, hitting my irons in close and converting the putts. With 3 holes to play I was just looking to coast in without any drama. Well, apart from short siding myself in a bunker on 16, thats exactly what I did. I was so relieved. I wasn't aware of my position, but I hoped that my 68 (-4) was going to be good enough to secure my card.
I later learned that I'd jumped up the leaderboard to finish 9th! I was absolutely thrilled. A huge relief, I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present.
The experiences I've had and the lessons I've learned in my first year on tour have helped me enormously to become a more rounded golfer. I am already looking forward to tackling next year with the knowledge I've gained.
Thank you to all who have supported me this year and followed my progress. I hope you've enjoyed reading my blogs as much as I've enjoyed writing them.
Merry Christmas and best wishes for a fantastic 2013.