Apologies for not writing up my recent blog on my event in Thailand. I got back to England just over a week ago and I couldn’t be more happier to be home. I don’t recall ever getting home sick but after such a disappointing 4 week stretch, I just needed to get home to restart and refresh.
So The Pattana Golf Championship was hosted at The Pattana Golf Resort about 40 minutes outside Pattaya. The course was in great shape and it couldn’t suit my game more. There wasn’t much course management to do as it was quite straight forward, in my eyes a very easy layout; there was probably only 1 shot that was difficult which was the 10th tee shot down a fairway protected by water both sides but even the fairway was wide enough to get away with a push or a pull.
The event was supposed to be the MENA tours first ever 72 hole tournament. The extra round would allow for more World Ranking Points up for grabs. However the weather this week was frustratingly persistent. Constant thunderstorms rolling in throughout the week meant that the 1st and 2nd round had to be cancelled. The rain had battered the course that much the fairways were so waterlogged you could quite easily lose your ball underground. We had to wait around the majority of both days in the hope that the weather would clear but it couldn’t make its mind up and kept flooding back. I had an early tee time so I was up at 6am both days, and the decision to call play was made around late afternoon, so as you can imagine, sitting around all day wasn’t the best! That was the best decision the tour could make at the time, as the course was just not playable.
The hotel lacked entertainment, and after spending a week couped up in a hotel in China, the last thing I wanted was to be couped up in a hotel again for another week, but thats the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. All I wanted to do was play golf and get out of there. I just had to get out of the hotel while we waited so we decided for one of the lads birthdays, we’ll go into town play some pool at Hooters (for obvious reasons) and then go Go-Karting. Those two days were great and what turned into a drag of time was brilliant. Some of the lads wanted to stay in at the hotel and practice all day, and I have no qualms about that but I truly believe having a good time off the golf course will result having a good time on the golf course.
So day 3 of the tournament, the weather hadnt improved much but the course was playable. The tee times were flipped from the first two days, which meant I was now teeing off in the afternoon. They did this so the early guys didnt have to get up early 3 days in a row for nothing, again it made everyone happy. Happy until in the afternoon when we had to come in again because of thunderstorms bearing in mind the morning guys had played in the best conditions. These thunderstorms were right over us at one point, and I can honestly say its absolutely terrifying when lightning strikes a tree 50 yards away from you!
I had played 6 holes before the horn had sounded for us to be called in again. I was 3 over par. I wasn’t a happy chappy when we got into the clubhouse. I was actually so mad I had to take a walk off by my self, ignorantly ignoring “how you getting on joe” from a few guys. I was playing good again and felt in control of my game, yet I had bogeyed the first par 5 (a birdie hole) and doubled the 2nd par 5 (another Birdie hole). I also had the bonus of trying to hole an 8ft swinging putt on the 7th hole for par when we return back out to play. I had a little word with myself in the mirror of the toilet and told myself to get my shit together. If I missed that putt, it would put me to +4 and way out of the cut line never mind contention.
We returned back out and I slammed that putt straight in the back of the hole. I birdied 9 to get back to +2. From then on I missed every birdie putt I looked at, I hit it so good and gave myself more than enough opportunities. The ball just wasn’t going in the hole. I knew the cut would be around level par and I was +2 with 3 holes to play, 2 of them were the hardest holes. On 16 the par 3 I called to myself hole in one, it came close as I flushed it to 5ft, I then holed the putt for birdie. 17 was the hardest hole, a long, dogleg par 4. After smoking my 3 wood down the middle into position A, I had 190 yards to the flag. My 5 iron landed next to the hole and ran to 6 foot from where I holed it for back to back birdies. Back to Level par. With a birdiable Par 5 to finish to make some head ground on the leading pack I missed another birdie putt, but I worked my way back into the cut mark. I came back from the dead in the space of 9 holes!
The next day and round wasn’t much better. The front 9 I played ok with a couple of mistakes, I was chasing it and forcing things to happen but you just can’t do that being so far back from the leaders. Level par through 9, no biggie. Walking onto the 10th tee, I couldn’t have been less bothered to play. For that 9 I didn’t take one practice swing, I just walked to the ball hit it and then walked on. Attitude of an ignorant prick, I didn’t want it to end the tournament that way and I tried to change it but at the time I couldn’t have been less happy on a golf course. I haven’t had this feeling in a long time. My feelings and thoughts are usually kept under wraps on the course and I’m so focused in on the present that nothing outside really affects me in tournaments but I remember I just wanted to be home, I even had thoughts on what job I could look into when I was back, I was so fed up. I finished the round Level par and T39th. My good mate from Sweden Freddie From tore up the course and shot -9 that day to Win by 3, I was made up for him to finally get his first Mena Tour Win. A tournament to forget for me.
After a few much needed drinks in Bangkok the following day and a 1 day stopover in Abu Dhabi I returned home on the 22nd. Back in my own bed!
I needed a good week off at least to gather thoughts and plan whats next, but I heard news of a 36 hole tournament on the 25th of May. The Leeds Cup, a Pro and Amateur competition held by my former district that I played for, was held at Sandmoor Golf Club, a course I played a lot as a Junior. I decided to get back into the thick of it and go again! But this time, I wasn’t there with the sole focus to win. I was testing myself, which areas of my game are strongest and which areas need improving the most. I shot 71 71, level par again!! And finished 5th. I was disappointed that I hadn’t manage to shoot under par, especially with making 4 bogeys on the par 5s but my main goal was to gain feedback for the next coming weeks on where needed most work.
I can only imagine what a Pro Footballer feels like on a Goal Drought.
If anyone was going to me ask advice on how to improve their game, it would be practise your short game. PRACTISE! PRACTISE! PRACTISE! It doesn’t actually matter if you can rip it down the fairway and then rip it onto the green! The one time you miss a green and can’t get it up and down, right there is the difference between a par and a bogey, or a birdie and a par. Not only is it the ability to save a score on the hole, the big thing that people don’t get is its something that you can’t see. Its intangible. Its called momentum. To keep the ball rolling and keep your score together, thats the main aim of golf right there, to get the ball in the hole, not to make it look pretty.
So whats next for me?
Well, I’m still a little in Limbo Land. The MENA tour returns to South Africa to Co-Sanction with the Big Easy Tour, sadly I won’t be playing as the 3 week trip just doesn’t add up to be feasible. Prize funds of $28,000 before tax against top South african Boys who pay $20 entry fees rather than the $150 dollar Mena Tour entries isn’t quite drawing me into playing. As much as I love South Africa and really enjoy playing the MENA tour as its a great tour, I just can’t warrant the money. So. I’ve just entered Open Final Qualifying held on the 7th July, which I’m looking forward to hearing back, as to where I’ll be playing. In the meantime, I’ll be planning to head back to China, towards the end of June for 2 events. This is going to be the biggest gamble I’ll be taking so far in my professional career. Because I don’t have any playing rights on The China Tour, I’ll be heading out to Monday Qualify; which means you turn up the Monday before the tournament and play 18 holes to try qualify for that event. 10 guys usually get through say from 50-70 guys so the odds are average, but the rewards form playing well are more than worth the gamble, a Win out there could see me bringing home $70,000. Its going to be an expensive trip but I believe I can do well out there. In between China and now I may play some 1836 tour events just to keep competitive.
I hope to catch up with you all soon
Donate to the Birdie Club
Donate as little as 50p per birdie to help Joe with his Tournament costs
Joe made 7 birdies in The Pattana Golf Championship and made 8 Birdies in The Leeds Open
Total: 15 Birdies
Donate here: PayPal