Date: 20th - 23rd June 2013
After all the rain which seemed to be following the LET around, the forecast in Slovakia promised to be very good. I was looking forward to the sunshine and to putting my new found confidence with my game to the test. I didn't have the best of memories of the course from last year, so I was hoping to get my revenge on it.
It's set in the mountains on a ski resort in Talé, Bystrica. A beautiful setting, but as you can appreciate, it's miles from anywhere and a bit of a mountain goat track!
We arrived to a very warm 30 degrees. Unfortunately, none of the hotels had air-con and are all made of wood, so trying to get to sleep in effectively a sauna was particularly difficult. Some nights we resorted to pouring water on our beds, it was the only way we could think to cool down!!
We had a practice round on the Tuesday. I was completely sapped of energy by the 13th hole. A combination of very little sleep and 90% humidity. So I decided just to hit the tee shots and do some putting. I knew the course, so it was just a case of familiarising myself.
I was striking the ball really nicely, it was just a matter of putting the ball in the right place on these vast and undulating greens and knocking in a few putts.
The hosts look after us very well in The Slovak Open. Every evening we have a huge buffet and every evening has different entertainment too. A great opportunity for all the players and caddies to socialise together.
Wednesday was another scorcher, but storms were expected in the afternoon. We managed to get on the course early for 9 holes before the pro -am. Sure enough, the storm prediction was right. All of a sudden the skies turned black, and the rumbles of thunder surrounded the mountains. It was huge, like something out of Armageddon! We had torrential rain, hail the size of peas and claps of thunder with such force they were setting car alarms off! Incredible contrast from one minute to the next.
Day 1 of the tournament started unusually for me. I was going through my warm up when my left foot gave way! It felt like cramp every time I put weight on it. It transpired that my metatarsal joint had dropped, which gave me a shooting pain. Thankfully Andy our tour physio was on hand; so having dealt with that, I only had 20mins left before I had to tee off. It didn't do me any harm, I played really well, carding a 73. Maybe I should shorten my warm up all the time?!
The following day was a little tougher. The 5 and a half hour rounds in the heat made it especially hard to concentrate. Despite having a brolly up to keep me cool, it's a long time to be out on the course. I was still playing well, but a couple of slack shots put me in wrong positions on the green causing me to 3 putt. I had a bug fly into my ear on another shot, which cost me a bogey. Unfortunately resulted in missing the cut by a shot. This was disappointing for me, as I know I played better than my score suggested.
However, the improvements I've made in my game are definitely coming together. I really feel like I'm on the brink of a break through. I just need to stay positive and hopefully the good stuff is just around the corner.