It was a week of what could have been. I have come away from the week, having finished in a tie for 25th, disappointed. I got myself into contention but had a poor final round, which always leaves a bad taste - if I had finished on 5 under for the week by shooting 3 or 4 under in the final round I would have gone away feeling great about myself. However the problem with that is that you are never under pressure if not in contention, so you don't get to see how you would hold up when you?re under the gun.
I played well in the first three rounds and was seven under par, which was actually a poor return for how I had played. I gave myself plenty of chances but even though I felt I putted well, I just didn't hole many of them. The two key areas for my good play was my driving and my wedge play. For the first three rounds I drove the ball very well and was never really in any trouble. It amazing the difference it makes to how you play when you are in good shape off the tee. The other area that was good this week was my wedge play. The range had plenty of room so I was able to get some good wedge practice in and it definitely showed on the course. The combination of these two areas made the game seem quite easy and rounds 1 to 3 were quite stress free. I was only seven under but I was feeling good. In fact, I could have been a lot better but I ran my ball over a lot of hole edges.
I was feeling good going into the final round and looking forward to it, however I didn't drive the ball well on Sunday. On the front nine I only hit two fairways and of the ones I missed, I had some tree trouble. I made bogies on the 3rd, 4th and 9th, with a birdie on the 8th. I missed putts from inside 10 feet on both the 5th and 6th which killed any chance I had - even though I had made a couple of bogies, if I had holed the putts on the 5th and 6th I would have been fine. On my back nine, I drove the ball better but I still struggled to hole putts - I made one bogey and one birdie to shot 2 over par and a final total of 5 under. Even with my driving on Sunday I still finished 9th for the week in terms of strokes gained from tee to green but 64th in strokes gained putting. Even though I was well down in the putting stats I felt I putted well and every putt I hit ran at the hole and had a chance. I don't feel bad when I am hitting good putts, as I know that if I keep at it they will eventually go in.
I am disappointed to have finished how I did but I am taking a lot of positives from the week. My ball striking was great and I felt I hit good putts all week. I'm off this coming week and then return to the States for the Wells Fargo Championship and then the Players Championship. I'm looking forward to getting some work done on my wedge play and short game before I am back in action.
Valero Texas Open.
Disappointing final round for Padraig in Texas as he recorded just two birdies on his way to a round of 74. His five under par total left him in a tie for 25th place. Charley Hoffman won the event with an twelve under par total. Padraig got off to a poor start with two early bogies on the 3rd and 4th holes and was struggling after that to find any momentum on a tough golf course. He did birdie the par five 8th hole where he had a tap in putt but gave it straight back to the course with a poor drive on the par four 9th hole. He has a week off now but will be encouraged this season with some fine play, and as he remarked after the round, "I just need to put four solid rounds together!"
Third round of four under par 68 sees Padraig in contention heading into the final round of the Valero Texas Open. His round was a rollercoaster effort with seven birdies and three bogies recorded including a chip in birdie on the par four 10th hole. His round finished with two fantastic birdies from close range on the 16th and 17th holes but a disappointing bogie at the last from prime position in the fairway. His seven under par total leaves him just four behind the leader, Ricky Barnes, at eleven under par. He tees off at 11.25am local time with Nick Taylor and Chad Collins.
Padraig continued his good form with a second round of one under par 71 to leave himself inside the top twenty heading into the weekend in Texas. Starting on the back nine, he had two tap in birdies on the 12th and 17th holes but dropped a shot on the par three 16th hole where he missed the green way right with his tee shot. He again dipped under par at the third hole where he holed a nice putt from twelve feet but dropped one more shot on the par four 6th hole where he failed to get up and down from a green side bunker. His tee off time for Saturday still has to be confirmed as some players failed to finish the second round due to fading light!
Fine opening round of two under par 70 leaves Padraig inside the top twenty heading into Fridays second round! He swapped a birdie and a bogie on the front nine to be out in level par but dropped a shot on the par four 10th hole where he failed to get up and down from a green side bunker. He finished well with three birdies coming home including a twenty five foot putt on the 17th hole to sign for a 70. He tees off Friday at 1.10pm.
Padraig is back on the USPGA tour for this weeks Valero Texas Open being played at TPC Antonio. It is an historic event having first been played in 1922 with a distinguished list of former winners. Jimmy Walker is the defending champion this week and he will be joined by a stellar field including the latest PGA star, Bryson DeChambeau. Padraig tees off at 8am local time with Charley Hoffman and Kevin Streelman.
After two weeks off I am ready to get back in action and I'm pretty sure Caroline is ready for me to get back out too!!! I've been at home working away on things and happy with what I have seen. I've hit a lot of shots on my Full Swing Golf simulator I have installed at home, as the weather wasn't great for practicing outside. I have to say that it has been a great addition to my practice, it is so much better hitting shots into it rather than a net. Using it, I can see how the ball reacts, whereas with the net I have no idea.
Being home for a couple of weeks is great but the downside is sitting watching the tournaments on TV, especially the Masters. I find it hard watching any tournament that I am not playing in, but the Masters is the hardest as you want to be there playing so much, whereas with the other events you at least know that you have chosen not to play. However the last couple of weeks have been great viewing and while I missed not playing them I thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment.
This week I am playing the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. I've played here a couple of times before and enjoyed the course. It is a bit funky in some places but all in all it is a good test. It can get windy here which can make it quite tough. It's a Greg Norman design and he likes to add a few different things. On the 16th, there is a bunker in the middle of the green like at Riviera - I like it, but some don't.
I played 13 holes on Tuesday and did some practice afterwards. I wanted to get out on the course as the weather forecast was poor and I wanted to see how I was playing. I did play a couple of games with my brothers when I was home, but the weather was poor and so it was hard to see how I was hitting it. I was happy with how I played the holes here and saw a few things that I needed to work on. On Wednesday I played the pro-am which was reduced to nine holes due to a storm. It actually worked out very nice as after playing the nine holes I had some lunch and then came out and did my practice, which felt like a very nice day.
The practice facilities are very good here - there is plenty of room, which is great, as it has meant that I have been able to get my wedge practice in no problem.
I'm playing early/late this week with Charley Hoffman and Kevin Streelman. I'm feeling good about my game and looking forward to getting going. The forecast is for storms tomorrow so we may have a stop-start day. Thankfully I'm good at sleeping anywhere!