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Thoughts turn to Irish Open after frustrating tournament in Austria

My last minute decision to play in Austria meant the only available flight got me in late and after tournament transport finished on Monday night.  It was 1230am by time I got to the hotel, the joys of tour.   I hadn't seen the course before so on Tuesday I played 9 but was careful not to do too much as I was a bit tired as it was my fourth week competing in a row.  I was in the pro-am on Wednesday which is always 5 hours and can take a lot of energy depending on your group.
  
The course is good, much firmer than previous years, when the Danube had flooded.  This area, 1hr west of Vienna is very scenic with hills and the river.  It's big wine country which I didn't realise. I joked with Bev that this week was going to be a holiday being in a hotel on my own, not having to tidy up and lazing around, not running after Erin now she is mobile.  I used to complain about hotels but it can be luxury if you want to rest!
 
The pro-am started on Wednesday at 8am, I had 3 good guys.  All lawyers, 2 in tax, they were talking about setting me up in Jersey to try and avoid UK tax, lol.  Gerry kept them entertained with some good jokes, that helps me as sometimes it's hard to talk on and off for 5 hours, but it's important for them as we have lost sponsors before because of the conduct of a few players.  It's really important for them to enjoy the day and you never know sometimes a sponsorship deal may come out of it!  It was nice and hot and I could feel myself fading towards the end of the round so I just got a quick Physio treatment on the Tour bus and then headed back to the hotel, as I was on the 630 bus again in the morning.  Simon Thornton was in my hotel but he didn't arrive in until midday Wednesday, on the early Dublin to Bratislava flight, 3am alarm, nice!

I got a great draw as I suppose I'd done well this year; out with Miguel Angel Jimenez and the local favourite Bernd Weisberger.  I'd played with Bernd quite a lot but only couple times with Miguel. Everyone was questioning why Miguel was playing this week as the US Open is coming up and this is his 4th in a row at the age of 50.  His new Mrs might not have been happy if he hadn't played as she's from close to Vienna and they just got married.  It was cool to see him shaping shots and hitting quality irons and some unreal bunker shots he's probably the best I've seen from the bunkers. I held my own nicely which was all I wanted to do, I drove it good in the windy, cool conditions. Bernd is a strong player also who putts great but can spray it a bit off the tee.  If he won the event he'd get into the US Open on world rankings, some motivation.  Miguel said there wasn't much rough at the US Open this year, a totally different course set up from the usual hay, which you have to chop it out backwards from.  Apparently the balls will runoff the fairways as they camber into the trees and the greens are upturned saucers which is the tough thing about Pinehurst.  Rory's length should help him hold the greens with shorter clubs but it always comes down to who makes the putts.


On Friday the course had firmed up a lot and the ball was going miles at altitude.  It was hot, 30 degrees, and so it was hard to club.  I was going lovely, some of the best golf I've played lots of fairways and greens, and was 4 under after 10 holes then disaster struck.  My ball was sitting high in the thick rough and I just got completely underneath it on 11 for double.  Then on 13, I got a massive flier combined with the wrong club to airmail the green into a bush and 3 putt for a triple.  Gerry was trying to convince me how far it was going from the dry rough but I wouldn't listen.  Normally I hit my wedge 130, I hit it 170 on the 17th!  That's why the scoring was so bad and the cutt went to 4 over as most guys are used to playing target golf. It's the worst feeling building a round for 3 hours, playing great and then messing it up in a few shots.  It feels like a total waste of the good work.  At least I made the cutt, another chance at the weekend and ultimately good practice now for the Irish Open.
 
On Saturday it was the same story.  I was 4 under after 9 and then had a loss in concentration on the 10th, making a quadruple bogey all due to a wrong line, a bad swing and then an air shot from a bush , apart from that it was perfect!  I finished the last 8 holes in 1 under to keep it under par.  Jeeve Milkha  Singh sprayed it all over but he chips and putts and scrambles great, pro golf isn't pretty a lot of the time.  The more I play the more I realise that pro golf is about concentration and determination, I just didn't have enough of the former this week.  Golf is so cruel you have to be so precise with your thoughts.  I did some exercise in the afternoon, just a gentle jog and a swim at the hotel, it had really good facilities.  It felt good to get the heart rate up and it helps you distance yourself from the golf. 

The only time I spent with Simon was on Sat night as we were on different sides of the draw.   We went into town for food with Brian Smyth from Mourne.  It was my only time out of the hotel all week, very glamorous!  Bryan has been working at the Emirates Course in Dubai, enjoying the coaching side of life out there.  He's waiting to try and get a  job back home, but it's tough; the industry offers more in far flung locations away from family. 
 
Sunday was another hot day, it was 35 Celsius and I was out between 10 and 2.  I was already knackered so this was going to be a long day.  Again I was under par after the front 9 and flagging on the back.  I just wanted to get in and home, it's been a long run but I've done some better work on the putter this week, started to take the hands out of the stroke which should help going into the Irish.
 
We got the 330 bus to Vienna airport and the flight to Heathrow with an overnight and on to Belfast in the morning.  Thankfully my clubs weren't lost our track record with BA through Heathrow and luggage is not good.  Gerry helped me by taking spare clubs, shoes etc. in his van which goes to Cork.  It really lightened my bag for dragging around terminals. It's  gonna be nice to escape the heat for a week even if it might rain, see the girls and get  some rest before another big run of golf but some great tournaments.