This week it was time to head north to Newcastle for the third PGA EuroPro event of 2014 at Longhirst Hall.
Longhirst Hall consists of two 18 hole courses the Lakes and the Dawson and in previous years the Tour has used the Lakes course, but this year the Dawson was being used for the first time.
So with this in mind I traveled up to the course on Monday to play a practice round, definitely a must with a number of blind tee shots. Having not played the course I did not know what to expect, but what was presented was a well manicured course with greens that were running fast and true.
This is probably the first thing we look for when we arrive at a venue – how good are the greens going to be for the week and it is a testament to the tour that we are getting to play on some of the best greens in the country, week in, week out.
With no pro am preceding the event there was another chance to play a few holes on the Tuesday, which was a big help as it enabled me to just reconfirm some of the lines I wanted to take off the tee. This was coupled with some light short game practice and everything was in place for a good week.
I would start the first round at 7.10am which meant a 4.30am alarm call. I was feeling good going in to the opening round as my game has started to click in the two weeks off and an opening birdie got me on my way. I would drop a shot at the fourth and complete the front nine in level before reeling off four birdies in a row from the 10th, I would give a shot back on 14 to fall back to -3 and I had some great chances to improve on that over the closing holes. But a first round of 69 put me at the top of the leaderboard for most of the opening day.
Unfortunately I would fall away over the remaining two rounds and finish in a tie for 43rd. Despite this it was great to see my name at the top of the leaderboard and I look forward to that happening more over the course of the season.
Next up is Burhill in Surrey, a great course with arguably the best and fastest greens we play on the Tour. I have good memories of the course having finished 5th there last year.
As some of you may know I am from Hoylake and I live very close to the Royal Liverpool, and it is really starting to take shape ahead of this year’s Open Championship, with more and more stands going up every week.