Date: 9th - 12th May 2013
After 5 weeks off since the tournament in Morocco, I was raring to get going again. I have good memories of Turkey, so I was very much looking forward to returning.
We were greeted by a wall of warmth. The first couple of days were scorching hot, it got up to 39 degrees! Having just spent over a month in the UK, it was quite a shock to the system. My practice round was very lethargic and my palms were somewhat sweaty! Don't get me wrong, it was lovely to be in the sunshine.
Tuesday evening, the tournament organisers invited all the Players and guests to a Welcome dinner. A great opportunity for us to let our hair down, ditch the golf gear and dress up for the occasion. It was a great evening; dining by candlelight with live entertainment while we ate.
Wednesday was spent practicing, whilst the Pro-Am took place. Some fine tuning before it all kicked off. Followed by an afternoon of relaxing by the pool. Bliss.
I was second to last group for Round 1, so I had a nice lie in before starting my preparations. I played some steady golf, it wasn't all plain sailing but my pitching and putting was pretty good. The start to my back 9 was like a extract out of Winnie the Pooh after an unsettling moment where I walked into a swarm of bees! The noise was extremely unnerving and seemed to follow me round the course after that. The second incident was much more fruitful, holing my 3rd shot for eagle on 12. It's one of the most awkward greens on the course, so it was a bonus not to have to putt. I finished -1 for my round, which put me in the top 15. A decent days work.
After a good nights sleep it was time to get down to business. Round 2 was much more of a battle. I was really struggling with my iron play, which didn't give me many opportunities for birdie. I limited the damage and fought back from being +4 after 12 to just +2 for the day and still well positioned going into the weekend.
The third round I hit the ball much better, playing much more steady golf. A minor blip on 10 which cost me a double but I finished strong, making 3 birdies in the last 5 holes. Still in the top 25 and looking to cap off the tournament with a good final round.
The front 9 was fine, no drama but not making any headway. I hit what I thought was a good drive down 12, only to find it had run out of fairway and behind a tree. I was forced to chip out sideways leaving an awkward shot into a raised 5 tier green. I played a career 6iron draw up and around the tree onto the green. So I thought; it had taken a hard bounce straight into a bush at the back of the green. I couldn't believe it. Still out of position and I hadn't hit a bad shot! Anyway, to cut a long story short, it ended in a triple bogey 8. I was fuming. I refocused and bounced back with a birdie. 17 was a similar story, good shot off the tee that went too far followed by a flier out the rough over the back of the green leaving me short sided to a tough pin. By this point I was holding back the tears, why was I being punished for hitting good shots?! Sadly, I broke down on the 18th tee and could barely see what I was doing. Things went from bad to worse and I just wanted the ground to swallow me up. I was devastated, distraught, angry and upset.
To finish a tournament like that was heartbreaking. It was hard to take. I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever learned so much from 1 round of golf.
It will never happen again.