It was another week of “almost”, although not quite as close as some of my last few tournaments. I equaled my lowest ever round on the European Tour, ten under par, 62 and I finished in a third place on my own, four shots behind Lee. Going into the last round I was always struggling to make up the ground so to finish third on my own was a reasonable result. My final round of five under could have been quite a bit better as I missed a few putts but I did also hole a few; of all the shots that I left behind the one that was most annoying was the three putt on the last hole.
I went to Portugal looking to win so as to kick start my run for the Race to Dubai so in that sense a third place finish is not great. It does move me up the ranking but I am still a long way behind Lee. However a third place finish is never a bad result; especially on such a low scoring course. Normally I tend to struggle on courses that produce a lot of birdies so to be in with a shout was a good sign.
My opening round of three under was a reasonable effort considering that I was in the water twice. It was my second round that got me into the tournament; I went out knowing that I needed to shoot a good score to get myself moving up the leaderboard. I wasn’t expecting to shoot ten under par and the funny thing about it was that I came off the course feeling like I had left shots behind me. I managed to birdie three of the tougher holes, the 1st, 7th and 9th, but I missed a few short putts on some of the easier holes to balance it out. It was nice to shoot such a low round as it has been a long time since I shot something like that.
As much as my second round got me into contention in the tournament, my third round kind of moved me out of contention. It was still possible for me to win it but it was always unlikely as the course was always going to give up plenty of birdies, there were too many people between me and the lead and a few too many shots. I third round of one under par was a poor score on this course; I just wasn’t able to get anything going and found it hard to focus all day. It wasn’t until the next morning when I got a call from my trainer to say that he thought that I looked dehydrated that it became clear to me what was wrong. When I look back at it I can see that I was dehydrated, as I had all the tell tale signs. It was similar to the second round of the PGA in Oakland Hills but not as bad. It was one of those things; I drank a lot of water during the day but obviously not enough.
For my final round I shot five under par to finish on 19 under par, which was decent total but not good enough to catch Lee. I did miss a few putts in the final round but really it would have been hard for me to catch up from where I started. To finish third on my own was a good result as there were plenty of players that could have joined me.
All in all it was good week. I would have liked to have shot a better score on Saturday so that I would have been more in contention for the final round but that’s the way it goes. When I look back on the week I am happy as I felt I was struggling with my putting all week. I wasn’t able to get comfortable over the putts because I was thinking too much over them. I had my putting coach out and he told me something that I was doing wrong which I wasn’t able to get it out of my mind all week. However to shoot round of ten under was great as it has been a long time since I have shot a round as low as that and to feel that I left shots behind was even better. I have a week off before I head to The Barclays Singapore Open I will be working on my putting so as to avoid thinking over the ball.
Speak to you soon, Padraig