The first, of two practice days opened with a jet-lagged 1 am wake up, eventually turning into a 1/2 hour chipping contest at 7 am after an hour stretching. We left to the picturesque Belmont Hills GC (17th hole pictured)
and arrived shortly before tee off at 8:45 am. After a quick putt, we were off and running. The practice round proved necessary, with lots of tight, fiddly holes and very grainy greens. High winds and the occasional shower dampened the mood for the day, however, this paled in comparison to when I found out that my rangefinder had been stolen upon arriving at our next destination, the par 3 course, Turtle Beach. Thankfully Robby, the tournament director, organised for me to borrow one for the week; here's hoping the golf insurance becomes useful when I get back home. We wrapped up an interesting first day with one of the most expensive pizzas I've ever consumed and headed back to the room.
Sunday 1st, the second practice day, consisted of a morning croquet session with James, followed by a walk to the local supermarket. After just glancing at the prices and seeing $7.50 for a packet of sweets, $8 for a 1.5L bottle of Pepsi and $40 for a box of celebrations I quickly turned back around and jumped in a taxi to today's practice round venue, Mid Ocean Golf Club (5th hole pictured).
What a golf course, mint condition and pure views.
Tournament day 1
Tournament day 2.
Headed back to Port Royal for an early tee off with Alasdair and Josh. The same weather had been forecast and with the average 7 iron on the range going 80 yards I was in for another interesting day. Started off reasonably well, I made pars on all of the first 7 holes bar 2 and 6 where a couple of unfortunate breaks cost bogeys. After choosing a 3 iron on the 153-yard par 3 8th I was left with a horrible lie in the rough around the edge of a bunker and ended up walking off with a double. Bounce back birdies on holes 9 and 11 with a good par save in between got me back to +2 for the day before reaching the open and unplayable part of the course. After making double bogey on the 12th, a 2 iron was the choice on the 140-yard par 3, another poor lie in the rough cost another double bogey and a horseshoe on the next saw another shot drop. Words can’t really describe how impossible holes 15 and 16 were, a 60mph crosswind on both saw not only the tee and approach shots get blown all over the place but the putts impossible to hole. In the space of 20 minutes, I witnessed 8 3 foot putts missed on the 2 holes. (Flag on 16th hole pictured)
A bogey on 16 followed the quadruple-bogey down 15 and after making pars down the final 2 holes signed for another 12 over par 83 that saw me in T28th position, 2 shots outside the 22 over par cut line.
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