One of the great attractions of the PGT-Asia for me was the way they events are planned onto the schedule. It is very uncommon for there to be standalone events which gives me greater opportunity to play multiple events on consecutive weeks.
This was again the case with the Luisita Championship which was held 3 days after the end of the PGT-Asia Qualifying at the same course, Luisita Country Club in Tarlac City. I had spent the 2 days off looking at how to resolve my putting woes of the previous week and after a couple of setup changes, I felt a lot more comfortable with my putting the second time around. I still felt my ball striking and wedge play were extremely strong so I knew that if I holed a few putts, I could contend for this week. After the first two days I had rounds of 72 and 69 with a disappointing bogey on my last hole of the second round but good enough to be playing in the 4th last group for the 3rd round.
Teeing off with my name on the leaderboard and the leading group only a few holes behind, I definitely felt the extra adrenaline that can only be found from being in the mix to win a tournament and it was something I have missed. I shot a disappointing 1 over par 73 with another very strong ball striking round which I felt took me out of the equation to win on Sunday which was a bit disappointing initially. After a short period of reflection and analysis, I realised I wasn’t really that disappointed as it has been such a long time since I was in contention to win a golf tournament I couldn’t help but feel that all of my hard work was paying off and that this was a strong sign of progress for me.
I went out on the final round with nothing to lose and everything to play for and I did just that. I got myself to 5 under par through 15 holes and all of a sudden I knew I was only within a few shots of the lead yet again. This time I didn’t allow myself to look at any leaderboards and simply try to hit the best shots I could. If I am honest, the last 3 holes for me was some of the most exciting golf I have played in a long time. It is this feeling that caused me to miss competitive golf so much! With adrenaline flowing I made 3 great pars coming home narrowly missing a birdie on 17, a 200m par 3 over water leaving me with a very satisfying 67 and a total of -7 which only missed out on a playoff for the tournament by 3 shots. It was however great to see a good friend in David Gleeson take out the victory in style with a birdie on the 3rd playoff hole.
Needless to say I head to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea this week for the SP Breweries PNG Open (Australasian Tour) with a lot of confidence in my process. Results are never guaranteed but my confidence in my process is only increasing which is exciting for me.