The Lookers Championship – Close House (Colt Course).
My first tour event of the year was on the EuroPro Tour and held at Close House golf club in Newcastle.
The Colt course at Close House will also hold later this years British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood.
Last year whilst representing one of my sponsors on a charity day in Ireland I was partnered with Heike O’Leary who is a director of www.lookers.co.uk.
Heike very kindly offered me an invitation to represent Lookers in this years Championship and to play with a team of guys who work for Lookers in the Tuesdays pro am event.
The Pro-Am was a difficult with very windy conditions, mixed with some rain and hail and proved tough for all professionals and competitors, but everybody still seemed to thoroughly enjoy their day.
Round 1 66 (-5)
I got my first round underway at 2:24 in the afternoon on the back 9 and after a slow but steady start of five consecutive pars I holed a lovely 12 foot putt from off the green at 15 to move one under par. This seemed to spark a small run of birdies as I knocked an iron close on 16 to make a second followed by hitting the par 5 17th in two and two putt home for three straight birdies. My only bogey of the day came at the 18th hole (my ninth) when I drove into a stream on the right side of the hole but recovered to make a bogey 5 and reach the turn in two under par.
I headed over to the first tee to begin my back 9 and made some solid pars on the first three holes to remain at -2. At the 212-yard par three 4th, I hit a stunning three iron that narrowly missed for a hole in one but left a tap in birdie to get back to -3.
The tricky 5th hole followed but two steady shots set up an easy par before heading to the 6th, a poor tee shot and an equally as poor second shot had me over the back of the green with a treacherous chip with little green to work with.
After studying the shot I opted to hit my 56 degree wedge to try and get as much grab as I could to leave a short putt. The shot was played perfectly and it checked up and dropped dead weight into the cup for another birdie.
The par 5 seventh followed which was a great birdie chance which just slid by however a sublime wedge shot on 8 set up my sixth birdie of the day and got me to -5 which is where I stayed at to finish with a 66 and lead the tournament by a single stroke.
What an evening to follow with all the good luck messages coming through, EuroPro tweeting about me, even doing my first interview which you can read here on the EuroPro website
Round 2 81 (+10)
After the thrill of the first round it was devastating to post such a terrible score the following day.
A solid start for seven holes to be +1 and still -4 for the tournament was quickly undone with double bogies at 8 and 9. The shots I played didn’t feel bad and I felt very hard done by but that’s golf.
I was still in good shape at level par for the tournament with 9 to play but more drama was to follow. Bogies at 11,12,13 followed by another double at 15 pretty much meant I was now missing the cut. I finished with three straight pars to shoot an ugly 81 and left the course distraught.
Such a mixture of feelings from just 24-hrs earlier feeling on top of the world, to just now so disappointed, upset, and so, so gutted
Despite the bad finish the experience I have gained from this event will hopefully propel me onto better things and learn from my mistakes.
Huge thank you to Heike and Ian from Lookers, I hope to see you both again very soon
Now onto Ireland to play my next event and now I have experienced leading a professional tournament next time I hope I will handle it better with the experience I gained.
Here’s my scorecard