UA-33754892-1 Update - October to October! | Jason Kelly Golf

Jason Kelly Golf

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Update - October to October!

Ah long time no blog…. Lets give a quick update on what’s been happening over pretty much the last year. I appreciate this could be extremely boring so I will try and skim across with a very brief summary, as any in depth detail could be borderline torure.

In my last update I had just finished up in Burgos, Madrid where I had putted horrifically to finish -2 and 39th. Three weeks later, 2nd Stage of Tour School began. I had a week in Marbella working on my game before travelling up to Murcia to play a new venue called Las Collinas. The week in Marbella was spent mainly trying to find some confidence with the putter, and like a lot of times when you try and force something it becomes even harder. Las Collinas is an ok course but it is very wide and easy. It suits the bombers. I had to putt good to contend and my putting was a horror show. I shot 73-76-72-69=290 (+6) to finish 55th and miss comfortably. Disappointing.

A week later I was in Marseilles for Masters 13. I needed a good week to counteract four consecutive poor ones. But it was not just my own self esteem that needed a boost, my Order of Merit position needed a one too. I arrived in 8th position and needed to jump to at least 6th in the last two events to get a Challenge Tour card. The week started poorly with three 3 putts on my front nine on Thursday. I posted an opening 73 (+1) which although unspectacular, was good for 8th on a tough, windy day. Cambis shot 63, which was without question the round of the year. It left him with a huge lead he would never give up.

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Masters 13, Ponte Royal, Marseilles, France.

My final three rounds were much of the same. Decent shotmaking but not making the most of the opportunities created. I hung in there but two shots killed my week. A three iron into the par 5 14th in round 3 which hit a green side sprinkler and went out of bounds instead of giving me an eagle opportunity and an 8 iron on 15 in the final round which got grabbed by the rough and went hard left out of bounds. Two freak shots that compounded my short game errors and left me at +3 after rounds of 75, 70 and 73. I finished a disappointing 21st after feeling like I was looking at a top 5 finish for most the week.

Straight on to Sardinia for the final Alps event of the year. Hublot bailed on their sponsorship commitments a few days before the event and in turn the prize fund was cut from €100,000 to €60,000 and an expected chance for a big jump on the Order Of Merit had been quashed. The course was very tight and a heavy wind for the whole week made it a demanding test tee to green. I played ok but hit a couple of lose ones at the wrong times. I never truly got going the whole week. I shot 75-76-77 for a +12 total and a share of 16th. It meant I remained 9th on the Order Of Merit and another year on the Alps Tour had been booked for 2012.

The final event of the year was a nice bonus event in Mauritius. It was a 30 man field playing on The Ernie Els Course at the Four Seasons. It is a great week and a wonderful way to finish the year. Everything is complimentary apart from a token gesture we make towards our flights. We stay at the luxury Anahita Resort and there are fantastic events every evening, either at Anahita or at the Four Seasons. As it is a limited field we always play in the morning meaning one can enjoy the facilities at this paradise. Waterskiing, sea fishing, diving, snorkelling to name but a few. It is a wonderful, wonderful place and it very nearly compensated for the disappointment of not being at Final Stage at Tour School.

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Ernie Els Course, Mauritius.

I hit it the best I have ever hit it in Mauritius, I even impressed myself at times. I was getting it right out the middle and working it both ways on demand. I was hitting it so straight and as hard as I wanted to. To play like that around a fantastic course, not just in layout but in immaculate condition as well, was very rewarding. However, putting the way I did was the opposite, absolute frustration. I shot 77-72-73 for a +6 total to finish 10th and pick up €2990 of Christmas money. A beautiful week in so many ways, but like most of the second half of the season, it was tarnished by an unruly putter. Havret won, with Otto and Colsaerts keeping him honest down the stretch.

After a few weeks off my 2012 campaign started off in good style in Spain. My first event was a Gecko Tour event at San Roque. I maintained my ball striking from Mauritius but holed out well from 6ft in - a big difference. I shot 69-73 for a -2 total and an opening win. San Roque New is not the easiest course in the world, especially with a stiff breeze but after shooting -5 on the back 9 in the first round to get in position I played really good, solid, conservative golf to see off a strong challenge from Carlos Rodiles (a successful European Tour player who won Tour School at San Roque, which is also his home course), Manuel Quiros (another European Tour player who lost a playoff for the African Open in 2011), Gabrielle Canizares (brother of Alessandro and an impressive player in his own right) and Raul Quiros (a player who was rated as good as Sergio Garcia as an amateur). It was a good confidence booster at the start of the season. Not just for my moral, but financially as well. I had no sponsor for the season.

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San Roque, Spain.

The rest of my run on the Gecko Tour was not so successful. I finished 23rd at Torrequebrada, a fiddly, horrible little course in bad condition. I putted so badly there and never got in the mix. 16th at Finca Cortesin. A tough track where I got nailed by the draw. Not a fun place to play in wind and rain. 6th at La Canada where I played good enough to win but never got the putter going. 13th at Parador. An absolute dog track where I struggled all week. I can’t believe they have hosted multiple European Tour events on the course, it is so bad. 4th at Arcos Gardens where I started badly and finished like a train, coming up just short. 7th at Costa Ballena, where I lead after day 1 but put in a horrific back 9 on the final day to fall away and miss out on a 4 man playoff by a couple of shots and 20th at Valderrama, where, for the first time for a long time, I just absolutely lost my head!

In March, between Parador and Arcos Gardens, I popped home from Spain to play the Sunningdale Foursomes. Riaz and I really played some good stuff there last year but never really got going this year. We scrapped through to the 4th round but never looked good enough to win. I went from there to Hossegor in the south of France for a French PGA event. It is a great little course and one that really suits me. However, there is no course that suits a bad putter and I certainly matched that label at Hossegor. I missed everything for 73 on day 1, got it going on day 2 only to falter late on. I had a 4ft birdie putt on my 12th hole to go -5 for the day and 3 putted. I also missed a 4ft birdie putt on my last hole to miss the cut by 1. Gutting. I punished myself with a 7 hour practice putting session the next day. 7 hour putting sessions are not something that will benefit your putting but they certainly make you not wanna putt bad again!

The Alps Tour kicked off in Barcelona in late April. I played awfully, I couldn’t hit a wedge straight. I shot 75-69 (+4) to miss the cut. Not a great start, especially as I was going to miss 3 of the first 4 events and there are not too many Alps events in 2012.

In May I was back out to Florida for the Sawgrass Pro Am, played the week after The Players Championship. I opened up well with 71-65 to be one off the lead. However I did not keep the momentum of the second round going and I ended up finishing 2nd closing with 73-72 for a -7 total. I picked up $1982.34 which again, was a handy boost.

It was straight back to Europe for a run of 5 Alps Tour events from mid May to the end of June. The run started in Slovenia. I shot 70-76-69 (+1) around a course I detest. I hit the ball so straight all week, never in trouble, but the putter was ice cold on bad greens. You need a bit of luck in conditions like that.

San Remo in Italy was the next venue. Rounds of 70-67-67 (-3) left me in 8th. I played ok in Italy round a tricky, little, hilly course. I just made some really bad, unforced errors during the week which proved to be costly.

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San Remo, Italy

Back to San Roque New Course in mid June. Obviously my expectations where high after winning on the course in January and I was playing well. I played pretty good, well good enough but the short game mistakes during the week were horrendous. It included a triple bogey 7 on the 3rd in the 1st round where I missed a green with a wedge into a green side bunker and turned it into something it should never have been and a double bogey 6 on the very next hole where I dunched a couple of easy chips. I opened with a disappointing 76, bounced back with a solid 69 and closed with a two under 70. A -1 total was only good enough for 17th in easier, warmer, firmer, mid-summer conditions than my January victory.

Poitiers in France was a rerun of my 2011 tournament there. Last year I should have won, I was leading with 10 holes to play but lost my head. This year I got into position again, without really playing well. I was never leading this time but was only ever a couple of birdies from getting right in the mix. The birdies never came and I lost interest. I shot 73-71-78 (+3) to finish 19th.

I had a chance of winning the following week too in Metz. I played ok the first three rounds but again without much happening. Then the last day I just holed the ones you expect to and found myself 7 under for the day standing on the last tee. I was out a long way ahead of the leaders so did not really know where I stood. I hit a good drive that just ran through the fairway on this difficult par 4. I caught an ok lie but it looked like it could fly. All the trouble, including water and a bunker, is short so I thought I would hit a hard 4 iron from 214 yards and if it came out normal it would be perfect and if it came out hot it would be long but safe. I hit it great, straight at it and it came out soft. I thought it was money in the air but came up just short, in the bunker. It plugged, I left it in there and it plugged again. I duffed it out to 20ft and 2 putted for a double, a 66 and a share of 7th. A birdie would have got me in a playoff. If I had posted 63 it may have been even better with the added pressure on the leaders. But there you go, another week were my short game cost me.

Seven Fountains was the venue for the Alps event in Belgium. The course was easy but like so many easy courses it could be very frustrating if you can’t keep up with the scoring. I didn’t and spent most the week in a very dark place. A pair of 74’s meant a missed cut. The only consolation was the wonderful hospitality forwarded to us. We stayed with a great family who were members at the club and another family took me and the 2 Irish boys up in their private plane to see the course!

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The private plane in Belgium offering us the perfect practice round!

It was baking in Monthecchia, Italy in July. 38 degrees and humid. I started awfully but played holes 26-36 in 7 under to squeeze past the cut. A final round 69 in conjunction with the opening 74-67 left me at -3 and a share of 19th. Another nothing week.

I have never played well at Club De Campo in Madrid. My best finish is 37th in 2010. This year, in the heat, I shot 72-75 to miss the cut.

After a months break we were back in Italy at the end of August. The Valle d’Aosta Open is the worst venue I have played a tournament at, interesting, but appalling. It’s a ski resort. I shot 69-72 to miss the cut and was left with that ‘what a waste of time’ feeling. Beautiful place, an awful course in awful condition.

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Normandy was next up. I love this event. The course is always in great shape and we get treated like kings for the week. I finally got the putter going on the first day. I posted a 65 that felt very easy. The putter cooled down for the final three rounds and it felt hard again. 65-73-69-73 left me at -4 and a share of 14th.

I missed the cut in the Dolomiti Open last year and really was not a fan of the course. It was better this year but the front 9 still has 3 of the worst par 5’s you will ever see in your life. I made 16 birdies, 16 bogies and 22 pars to shoot level par and finish 28th. Another nothing week.

So we are up to date, that was the last event that I have played. Here is my bullet point summary of why 2012 has been disappointing.

- To play good golf you need a good team around you. You need moral support, motivational support and, at times, financial support. Playing professional sport is hard and a good team can give you a huge edge and let you concentrate on making the most of opportunities.

- You can’t win if you don’t putt well and a strong short game can give you huge momentum and keep your chances alive when you are not quite on.

- You have to be fit, the trapped nerve I have had in my foot for the second half of the year has affected my practice time and my focus on the course.

And my bullet point plan going forward.

- I have two more events on the Alps Tour where I currently stand 30th on the Order of Merit. I obviously need two huge weeks to get anything out the year.

- I did not enter European Tour School this year as there are such limited benefits available now, it needs to change. Also the trapped nerve (Mortons Neuroma) in my left foot has been a hindrance and has benefited from the rest. Instead I intend to got to Asian Tour School in January.

- I have two pro ams in the USA in November, Arizona and Palm Springs, that have the potential to give me a financial boost going into 2013.

So there we go, up to date, lets hope after Valencia 18-20th October that I have something a little more positive to report. The course looks great. The flights, accommodation and hire car are all booked. All I am left to worry about is making sure my golf game is ready to go….. easier said than done in this weather!!

JK




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