IT was an unbelievable day at Carnoustie yesterday, especially at the 18th hole which I started with my first really decent drive of the round.
I then hit another good iron shot onto the green and was feeling great until I started walking up the fairway saw the size of the crowd! There were hundreds of people watching which made me quite nervous about the 20 foot putt I had to make. I took my time, Lee Westwood, my playing partner, helped me with the read and I stood up and hit it – and it worked! The putt went down and I finished my day with a net eagle.
Things didn’t start quite as brightly for me. I was rattling on the first tee and ended up hitting my opening shot onto the other fairway. It looked like it was going to be one of those days but, fortunately, it wasn’t.
Overall I’m very happy with the way I played and I’m delighted with our team score of 8 under.
The 12th was another amazing hole where I also carded net eagle although it’s not the score I’m thinking about when I play. I try instead to keep my focus on the shot at hand, looking to make a good shot every time, get each putt into the hole and then see what the score is. The great thing about playing with pros like Lee and Charl Schwartzel, who also joined us in today’s fourball, is that they take their time, they work out their shots and they know what they’re going to do. More importantly, if they don’t make the shot they had intended they soon forget about it and move on. This is something that amateurs like myself struggle to do. We tend to get annoyed, kick the ground and carry that bad shot with us for much longer.
When you play with the pros it really lifts your game and I always try to listen to their advice when we’re out on course. Both Charl and Lee were great yesterday – I was getting the wrong set up for my swing, the shoulder was too far forward and they helped me correct that. It took nearly 18 holes to get it right but by the end I had it sussed!
Hopefully I can continue that groove going into Kingsbarns tomorrow. It is the most picturesque of all the Alfred Dunhill courses and I’m really looking forward to playing it today with glorious weather forecast.
• Ronan tees off from the 10th at Kingsbarns at 9.44 today for his second round in this year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship