Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
Padraig opened his account in Scotland with a mixed bag of a round as he signed for a level par round of 71. Starting on the front nine, he dropped a shot on his opening hole but fought back well to make three birdies to be out in two under par. His homeward nine was a real roller coaster affair with four dropped shots and two more birdies. Seven under par leads after the opening round! Padraig is out late Friday at 12.40pm local time.
Padraig is in Scotland for this weeks Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. It is being played on a links course, Royal Aberdeen, which will be fantastic preparation for the Open Championship next week. Padraig has played the course before but it was many years ago as an amateur, it basically goes straight out and back again so one of the nines will play tough in the wind but low scoring should be the order of the day depending on the weather. Padraig tees off early on Thursday at 7.50am with Ryan Palmer and Richard Sterne.
I'm in Scotland this week for the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. Since they moved this tournament back onto a links course I have played in it because, as far as I am concerned, there is no better preparation for The Open Championship than competitive rounds on a links course. There is no doubt in mind that playing the Irish PGA Championship at the European Club the week prior to my Open wins had a huge bearing on winning them, as it is such a different form of golf than what we normally play. More and more players are realising the benefits of playing this event the week before the Open, especially after seeing Phil win back-to-back events last year.
I got here on Sunday night from Paris. On Monday I played twelve holes, which was the first time seeing the course since 1989 when I played the Doug Saunders World Boys Invitational. I have to admit that I couldn't remember much of it. It is similar to Royal Dublin in that it goes out and then comes back in. You generally get one nine downwind and the other into it. On the nine into the wind you are pretty much hanging on for dear life! Pete Cowen walked around with me to have a look at what I was doing on the course.
I played the nearby Trump Links on Tuesday - Ronan and myself took on Phil and his caddie, Bones, in a match, but sadly for us we didn't perform and were beaten. We will be hearing about our loss for quite a while!
On Wednesday I played the morning pro-am; like Monday it was very windy but in a totally different direction. It's always good to see a links course in different winds as you never know what it is going to be like in the tournament, but I struggled on the holes into the wind. Pete was walking with me again so he got to see what I was doing - he thought that in my effort to hit it low I was getting ahead of it. We went to the range afterwards and worked on it - I hit quite a few balls but by the end I couldn't say that I was happy with it. It wasn't the ideal preparation as I hit quite a few balls but it needed to be done. I would have preferred to hit just a few and call it a day but I needed to try and figure out how to fix it, however I am little unsure what it will be like tomorrow. This is a super course in great condition. I may actually play tougher than Hoylake as the fairways are pretty narrow and the forecast is for some high winds. The way the course is designed you will see low scoring on whichever nine is playing downwind. It is a course where strategy comes into play given that the fairway bunkers are penalties and so must be avoided, meaning laying up well back of them or hitting it over others and taking your chances of playing from the rough. The rough is generally heavy and best avoided if possible but there are plenty of areas where it is playable from.
I am unsure what to expect tomorrow after how I hit it on Wednesday, however I know that the key factor on links courses is course management, which comes into play even more when you are a unsure about your game - it is even more important when you are struggling.
I am playing at 7.50am with Richard Sterne and Ryan Palmer in the first round.