I mentioned at the end of my last article that the forced break that I had may have been good for my golf. Well I made my comeback at the Maryborough Pro Am and I can tell you, it didn’t feel like the break helped me. It’s amazing, I have played this game for 30 years, over half of that professionally and when I got out there I felt like I had never competed before! I had 3-over the first day and 1-over the second to win last money. How long has the game been this hard? But at least Maryborough once again ran a great event. The course was in excellent condition and you are always welcomed with open arms.
The following week I headed up to Darwin for the first time ever. It’s nice to go somewhere that’s new, as in the golfing circles we seem to go to the same places and play the same courses year after year. The NT PGA was played at Palmerston Golf Club, which is about a 20 minute drive from Darwin’s city centre. The course layout was great. There were quite a few holes on the front 9 that you had to stand there and hit a straight tee shot. The 9th hole tee shot was a cracker with water all the way down the left and a line of trees down the right. You had to ‘man up’ as either of the options weren’t great! This was my first four-rounder for a while and I will be honest, it took a couple of rounds to get my head back into the grind of four days of golf. The putter was hot on day 1 but the ball striking was a little off and I ended up shooting 2-under par 69, to be around 20th heading into day 2. I improved my ball striking but the putter that was excellent the first day disappeared. I signed for an even-par round to be mid field and in a good position considering my lack of competitive golf.
Once again on day 3 my long game was great and I shot a 4-under par 67 but again I felt like I missed quite a bit on the greens but was moving in the right direction. The last day was a tough assignment as the wind decided to get up. I grinded all day and was hanging in there until a double bogey on 17. I can tell you that I wasn’t overly happy leaving the car park that afternoon. But after sitting down and once again putting it all into perspective, it was a great week.
My next run of events were on the QLD Pro Am tour. I had Maroochy River, Mt Coolum, Coolangatta Tweed Heads, Southport, Riverlakes and Windaroo. I won’t bore you with a shot-by-shot reply of all these events but just a few highlights.
Firstly Mt Coolum, what a great little golf course. I hadn’t played there before and I was really impressed with not only the condition of the course but also the layout. It had a great mix of short and long holes with dog legs both ways. It was great to get back to Southport Golf Club for the Pro Am as it is without doubt the best Pro Am we play all year. When you arrive you are greeted with a smile and a buffet lunch that is awesome. The golf course was once again in great condition and it is always a pleasure to play. When you finish your round you sit down for a dinner, drinks and desert. Benny the head chief always does a great job and I can honestly say that I have never had a bad meal there. I had even par, unfortunately, but I would like to say thank you to the members that followed me around the course and supported me. Straight after Southport was the Riverlakes Pro Am. For those of you who don’t know where Riverlakes is, it is just past the Logan motorway turnoff, approximately 40 minutes from the Gold Coast. And once again what a great golf course! I would call Riverlakes a fun place to play, as there are quite a few holes where the water really comes into play, as the course name may suggest and the greens were rolling pure. In the earlier events I was struggling to finish up near the leaders. There were 2 reasons for this, firstly since coming back from my injury I found myself hitting shots that I wasn’t hitting before. I’ve always prided myself on being a good ball striker and never to far off line. But it seemed that now I would throw in 3 or 4 really wide shots which some of you will know isn’t what you need to do when you’re trying to shoot a good golf score. Secondly I found myself getting quite nervous, which is a feeling that I never really had before. So I went into Riverlakes with a plan to commit 100 percent to every shot and, surprise surprise, I won! I shot 6-under to win by a shot and even though I have won a heap of Pro Ams it felt like I got the monkey off my back. The day was made easier as I played with Robbie Bennetts, Footy and Tik Tac (I won’t go through the story of that name!). As most of you know Robbie has sponsored me for a lot of years. It’s a massive help and I can’t thank him enough.
My next event is the Korean Open which is played at Won Jeong Hills Country Club and it is a brute of a course. This is also why it was a great time to win Riverlakes. You can’t have better preparation than winning another event just before it. I think Tiger Woods once said winning breeds winning and he’s right. I finished 5th at this event last year so I am hoping that all these positives will lead to another high finish. But on the other end of the scale, I still have to remember that I still haven’t played a heap to golf and I am coming back from a very bad injury. Confidence is great but you need to keep it in perspective. Maybe a good plan maybe to lower my expectations and just commit to what I have at that time. But a win would be nice!!