Goslings International Invitational

First of all, I would like to clarify that along with this being my first blog, I also only got a B at English GCSE, so please excuse the impending grammar and punctuation discrepancies.
Travel day (Friday 29th Nov) consisted of a 6:45 am wake up, followed by a 2hr 30min drive to Gatwick. There I browsed around the duty-free debating which family members were deserving of high-end Christmas Presents before meeting up with a friend and fellow competitor James Mack. The 7hr 50min flight passed quickly thanks to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ and ‘A Star Is Born’ before landing at 6 pm local time. Furthermore, much to my delight, only 1/3 of the holy grail of flying was achieved this time around with just the knees in the back, as opposed to the usual inclined seat in front and crying baby.
However, if the taxi journey cost from the airport to the hotel was a sign of things to come, then I am in need of a leaderboard topping performance this week. Check-in and unpack for 9 pm local time, early alarm set for the 1st practice round at Belmont Hills tomorrow morning.

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)

Belmont Hills 17th Hole

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).

Mid Ocean Club 5th Hole
What a golf course, mint condition and pure views.
A very tricky course off the tee, lots of blind tee shots (excluding par 3’s only 5 tee shots where you could see the ball finish) and with very high winds forecast I can see this being an interesting first tournament round.
Monday 2nd, pro-am day. The first of 5 ‘mini hurricane wind’ days. 12:00 shotgun start at Port Royal GC, paired with James Mack, and amateurs Tom Miller and Glenn Kelley. Pros and amateurs were put into pairs and the field was split into two teams, Glenn and I were on team ‘Papa Seal’. The conditions were unplayable but seeing as it was an informal pro-am we guessed it would go ahead no matter what. For example, on the par 5 7th, I had 3 60 yard pitch shots stop 6 feet past the pin, before the wind blew the ball back off the green and back behind me. It was a long day, my average ball flight was probably below head height, Glenn and I were battered by James and Tom and team Papa Seal lost to team Junior Seal. However, it was good to get a look at the course ahead of the tournament round and get a taste of the weather to come.
Tournament day 1
Teeing off at 11:30 at Mid Ocean Club, paired with fellow pro Alasdair Plumb and retired NFL kicker Josh Scobee. Winds of 45mph forecast along with a high chance of rain put pay to any hopes of a low opening round. The opening tee shot found the lip of a bunker, which I managed to save bogey out of. Next up came the long, into the wind par 5 2nd which turned into a holed 6 footer for a 7 after going for the green in 2 with a 2 iron from 235 yards and blasting it onto Bermuda’s version of the M25. Not an ideal start. I then seemed to find a groove and made par on holes 3-9 before making a birdie down the par 4 10th. I then followed it with doubles on holes 11 and 12 before making bogey on holes 13 and 15 and yet another double bogey on 16. Remarkably, I did all of this while hitting all but 1 shot exactly how I wanted to. I finished up with a 3 putt bogey on the last and signed for a 12 over par 83. On a day where +4 was a great score, round a long, tough course along with unplayable wind conditions it made it seem remarkably easy to hit the ball well and walk off with a score in the mid 80s and find yourself out of contention before you knew it.
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)

Port Royal 16th Hole Flag

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.

The missed cut meant I played at the par 3 Turtle Hill GC on the 3rd and final tournament day. A 9:00 am shotgun start paired with Coral Coast Clothing co-founder Sam Outerbridge and Andrew Borland. It was a very laid back and informal day, to say the least, and with consistent 40mph winds and poor green conditions, it meant I was able to enjoy a less competitive day. Afterwards, we headed over the Belmont Hills to watch the conclusion of main tournament play as well as James and Alasdair as they finished T15th and T12th respectively.
Overall, it was tough to enjoy the week with good shots being continually punished due to the conditions and your game being made to feel worse than it is but I’m grateful to have had the experience of playing there. I would like to say thanks to tournament director Robby Thompson, Dave and Chris from New England PGA, the Goslings family for the invite out, Port Royal, Belmont Hills, Mid Ocean Club, Turtle Hill and Cambridge Beaches for their hospitality, the British Junior Golf Tour for their support and last but not least my mum, who this week wouldn’t have been possible without.

For quicker updates on my events, follow my Instagram tr_tigeradams; and all results and pictured will be uploaded to the website.