It was great being back home playing in front of the Irish golf fans. When you are travelling around the world you forget how good it is to play in front of your own crowds. Last week over 100,000 fans turned out to watch the golf and at times when they roared it seemed like they were all in one place.
The Irish Open is always a special event for me but even more so this year as it was in my Dads hometown, Cork. I spent many summer holidays in Cork, so to play there was great. I would have liked to be more in the mix but then you can't have everything!
I finished in a tie for 14th after shooting rounds of 69, 67, 71, and 69 for a four round total of eight under par. It was certainly a week where I am walking away thinking that I could have been a lot better.
After my opening two rounds I was looking for a couple of better days over the weekend - whilst I shot two under in total it could well have been a lot better as I dropped a few sloppy shots and then missed a few chances. That said it was still a solid week and there were a lot of good signs in my play.
I could see a few things that I have to work on but I was happy to see that the work I have been doing over the last few weeks is starting to pay off. Coming into this week I was feeling that my game was in good shape.
I have been showing good signs over the last few weeks but I just haven't been finishing off tournaments. I haven't been putting four rounds together so shooting the scores I did this week was good progress. I am happy that my worst score for a round was level par as earlier in the year it would have been a few over.
In my third round, I got off to a bad start by hitting a poor iron shot into the water on the third that cost me a double bogey and then on the ninth I hit a really nice second shot that flew just a few yards too far and cost me a bogey, which was a good bogey in the end. However I finished well with two birdies in the last three holes to end up shooting level par. I lost a few spots but it was still a good battling round. Things weren't really going for me and I could easily have shot three or four over par.
My final round was something similar, I three putted the second and third for bogeys. What looked like could be another one of those days where you get off to a bad start and it doesn't get any better, turned out to be a decent day in the end. I battled back well and made five birdies to end up shooting two under par.
I have been struggling with my grip for a few weeks now, it just hasn't felt comfortable. On Tuesday I changed the grips on my clubs to see if that would help and after two holes I had to go back and change them again. I was a little better during the week but still not great and a little distracting at times, as I just couldn't get my hands comfortable.
When I look back at some of the poor shots that I hit I can see that I was distracted by my grip, which I will be working on this coming week while I am at home. It generally means that my left hand is a little strong. Considering how I was feeling with this I am very happy with how I performed and for the most part I did a good job of ignoring the distraction.
I was very happy to shoot 69 on Sunday. Not only was my grip annoying me, I also injured my neck before I went out. I was doing my warm up stretches and jarred it; it locked up and made any movement sore. I got plenty of treatment on it beforehand and it helped but it still wasn't 100%.
I could feel in my swing that I was opening up on all my shots, but whilst it felt bad it wasn't terrible in terms of results. I can see looking through the round where I bailed out of a few shots to protect it. However it held up well and I managed to get around in two under which I was very happy with. But, the sad thing about it was that my three dropped shots were nothing to do with my neck.
All in all it was decent week in terms of my performance. I am coming away happy, with a few things to work on in my week off. Firstly will be my grip and then I will be spending time on my routines and preparation, which was another area that I could see wasn't quite where it should be.
I really enjoyed the week in Cork; it's a pity that I couldn't give the crowds a bit more to shout about. My tee shot on the third hole on Saturday took a lot out of everyone. That said the crowds were great throughout the week, the reception I got when I walked onto the final green on Sunday was brilliant. It's just a pity I have to wait another year for it again.
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