5th Hole of the Luhuitou Open, Sanya China
It’s been a number of busy weeks since my last update in October. In this time I have played 6 events across 3 countries and have had some contrasting experiences and great memories from the tournaments I’ve played.
October saw me travel to West Australia and play 3 events on the PGA Tour of Australasia. I began in great fashion by qualifying for the WA Open and finishing 6th after rounds of 68,71,69,67 to be 13 under for the week. It was great to play with fellow Kiwi’s Mark Brown, Gareth Paddison and Josh Geary during the event. Which was won in spectacular fashion by another Kiwi in Ryan Fox.
From the WA Open, I travelled down the road to Mt Lawley the following day to pre qualify for the Perth International. The Monday qualifier involves around 100 players for the final 4 spots in the field. I was fortunate enough to continue my good form and shoot a 6 under 66 claiming 2nd spot and a place in the field for my first European Tour event.
The week was a great experience for me, sharing a locker room with some of the worlds best golfers was a nice sign that I was on the right path to reaching my goals a professional golfer.
Working on the range at the Perth International
Unfortunately for me a poor nights sleep on the Wednesday night resulted in me waking with a rather stiff neck. An old injury I received from a car accident 2 years ago had flared up. I wasn’t able to get any treatment on it prior to playing due to an early tee time. I proceeded to play anyway as it felt about 70%, good enough to play Thursday morning.
I played some good golf over the 2 days there but played in discomfort for most of the week. Unfortunately for me this was some terrible timing and after rounds of 74 and 76, I wasnt able to progress through to the weekend. It was a frustrating week having come into the event with some good form. But I was thankful for the experience and can’t wait to return next year.
Following my 6th place finish at the WA Open, I had earn’t a start in the WA PGA in Kalgoorlie the week after the Perth International. Unfortunately another poor nights sleep during the week meant the neck got worse and I withdrew from the event after 10 holes in the first round.
I had a week’s preparation in Melbourne before heading state side to the US to play the 2nd stage of Web.com Qualifying school in Dallas, Texas. With some good treatment on my neck I was confident of playing a full week without pain and found the injury had settled down well.
The event was played at the TPC Craig Ranch course, in McKinney, 40 mins north of Dallas. We arrived to some nice weather, light winds and around 15-20 degrees for the practice days. Perfect for golf. Then the Storm hit! The US experienced one of its biggest snow storms in recent years. It began hours before our first days play and continued right through the week.
Temperatures fell well below freezing level for the 4 days, the hot water I had put on my towel on the first tee, had frozen stiff by the first green! A sign that the arctic winds from the North meant business. Walking and staying warm during the golf was all of a sudden really tough. I actually managed to play some decent golf over the 4 days. Hitting a high majority of fairways and greens. The real issue I faced was having any feel in my hands to putt and chip. I was proud of my efforts over the week. Despite finishing in a tie for 68th, well outside the qualifying mark of the 18th and ties, It was an experience I will never forget!
My first NBA game, watching the Dallas Mavericks play the Miami Heat
From the US, I flew to China for the final two events of the year on the PGA Tour China season. I managed to find some warmer weather in both Saya and Shenzhen over the 2 weeks. We played 2 really challenging courses and I played some good golf over this period. Finishing in a tie for 27th the first week and 34th in the final event of the year. It was another good learning experience for me completing my first year as a touring Pro and finishing in 20th place on the Order of Merit.
It has been a great experience to play my first full year out on Tour, I have set myself high standards and have achieved so many things I am proud of in 2014. I’m looking forward to a well earn’t break back home in New Zealand after my last event of the year in mid December.
Thanks for reading, have a wonderful Xmas and New Year!