My trip to Shanghai for the HSBC Championship was a disappointing one as I never got myself into contention. In fact, I struggled right from the first round, was on the back foot and wasn't able to make up the ground.
I have had a number of good finishes there before and so was looking forward to this year's event, especially as it had been upgraded to World Golf Championship status. In the end I shot a good last round to finish in a tie for 25th, but even that was only an average round on the day.
I shot five under par on Sunday and only moved up seven places - normally if you shoot five under on a Sunday you would move up a lot more than just seven spots. It just goes to show what pros can shoot if you give us good greens.
I never got myself into the tournament at all - it all stemmed from the first round where I played fine from tee to green but I had as bad a day on the greens as I have ever had. I missed six putts from inside six feet and ended up shooting two over par, which was a very poor score on the day.
On top of the missed putts I also took two shots to get out of a bunker on the second hole; it was an easy bunker shot and I made a complete mess of it, which was probably the turning point in my round (I started on the tenth).
I was two under par, in the back bunker in two, looking like going to three under, but instead, as a result of the poor bunker shot, ended up taking a six. I then missed a five footer for birdie on the next and another one on the 4th for par. Two three putts on the 6th and 7th added insult to injury and I finished with a 74, but it could so easily have been a 68 or 67.
After my first round I was always struggling to get into the tournament, and unfortunately I never did. My second round was another day where I shot pretty much the worst score I could have; my 69 should have been a 66 or 65. My third round was no different, a poor level par to leave me on one under for the tournament.
It wasn't until the last round that I made some headway - I went out with a much better attitude and decided that I was going to enjoy myself and smile. It was amazing the difference it made - I shot five under and never got annoyed with myself.
Looking back at the first three rounds, I was probably trying a bit too hard and got a little annoyed with myself when I didn't hit the perfect shot. It was actually a little like the first half of my season - I think I had got a little caught up in technique again and as a result I was analyzing every shot I hit and then judging whether I had executed it correctly.
Whereas in the final round I got back to just playing golf, trying to score and not worrying about how I did it. The last round was definitely much more refreshing as it felt like a weight had been lifted off me.
To finish 25th was a disappointment as I really needed to win to give myself a chance of winning the Race to Dubai. In the end I was trying too hard and I ended up reverting to where I was at the start of the year. I can see exactly what happened now as my short game was poor for the week and I was very hard on myself, which is exactly what I was like early in the year. I got caught up with technique, so my chipping and putting suffered and therefore my scoring was poor as a result. When I realized it and I went out in the last round with a better attitude I played nicely and managed to keep a bogey off my card.
I am off for a family holiday for the week; I won't be thinking too much about golf for the next few days, just relaxing and having some fun with my family. It will be a week where I am thinking very little about golf before playing the Dubai World Championship next week.