The past 2 weeks I have been in PNG for 2 tournaments, I have played these events for many years now so I knew what to expect. Whilst it is a very different experience in PNG I have thoroughly enjoyed my time up there year after year, it certainly reminds me of how good we have it back here in Oz.
The first tournament was in Lae. I have had good results here in the past and I was confident with my game after my previous tournament in Malaysia just a couple of weeks before. After getting a look at the course in the Wednesday Pro Am I was ready to get out there and get started. The course was in great condition, probably the best I have seen it.
After opening with 2 solid rounds of 68(-3) & 67(-4) I found myself running about 20th and 6 off the pace. I knew that if I started to get hot over the weekend I was still within reaching distance of the leaders, it is a course where you can really get it going! Saturday was probably my best day of the week, played great from tee to green and really created alot of great opportunities. I ended up shooting 66(-5) but felt like I had really let a good one slide by…could have easily been 8 or 9 under with the chances I had. However I had still managed to make up ground on the leaders and was now only 2 shots behind. Felt really good on Sunday, was very happy with my game and was confident I could play well and give myself a good shot at winning. After a front 9 that could have been much better, I was -1 through 9 I found myself 5 behind with 9 to go. Played really nicely the back 9 for -4 but unfortunately came up a little short. Finished with a 66(-5) for a 4 round total of 267(-17) and a 3rd place finish. Was great to be in the mix again come Sunday and I found myself really comfortable throughout. Overall I was very happy with how the week in Lae turned out, and on Monday we traveled back to Port Moresby where my focus now shifted.
The Royal Port Moresby GC is I think, a much tougher layout than Lae. It is more undulating with more doglegs and the wind can get up quite a bit. This year the course was extremely dry, now while this made the course play a little shorter it also made it harder to hit fairways and your targets.
I was obviously full of confidence after the solid week before hand however this is a funny game and over the first few days I didn’t feel like I had as good a rhythm as I had in Lae. After shooting 72(E) on the first day I found myself in a big grind on day 2, sitting at +4 with 4 holes to go I rallied really hard and managed to birdie 2 of those holes to finish 74(+2) and make the cut on the number. Whilst I wasn’t happy with my game or score that day I was really pleased that I was able to hang in there and make the most of a tough day, days like this are often more beneficial down the track then the good ones.
Making the cut on the number I now had nothing to lose over the weekend. I knew I was playing well and that I was capable of going low, it was just a matter of giving myself the opportunities and staying patient. Over the weekend my game improved and I shot 67(-5) & 73(+1) to finish the tournament on 286(-2) T-17th. Happy with the week considering the first couple of days I was grinding pretty early.
Had an absolute ball for the 2 weeks and am very pleased with both results. Thanks to everyone in Lae and Port Moresby for getting behind the events, both events have such a great atmosphere and its great to be a part of.
I am now home for 2 weeks before heading to Thailand for my next ADT event on the 22nd May.