Chris Hanson Tour blog: Forza Italia after Dutch top 10
Chris Hanson on his exploits in the Netherlands…
After a solid week in Denmark it was a real shame not to get in the event the following week in Crans, Switzerland! Of all the events on the schedule this year, that was probably one of the most talked-about events, it just sounded and looked spectacular!
So to be fifth reserve on the Wednesday felt agonisingly close! And again it’s frustrating to see invites being handed out to players in similar situations to me and getting the opportunities to play, whilst I have to sit back and watch the leaderboard for another week.
But that’s how it works, and hopefully I will still get a few more chances to play this year!
Last week I played the KLM in Holland – as you now know it was a great week, coming T8! My aim was to achieve a top-10 finish as that would ensure my place in the Italian Open this week (I would have been second reserve and planned to travel anyway). So I travel early Tuesday knowing that I’m definitely in the field! Then next week I am certainly playing the Porsche event in Germany!
After a short break it’s the final three events before ‘judgement day’, when the top 110 in the OOM are finalised – Alfred Dunhill Links, British Masters, Portugal Masters.
I’m really not sure of my chances of playing the above three events, the closing date for entries is three weeks before, so you have an idea then…
But even with the Dunhill having a large field as it’s played over three courses around the St Andrews area, many of the field are invites…
Then the British Masters and the Portugal Masters are reduced fields due to daylight so I may struggle to play – it may depend on who has already guaranteed their card for 2017 as they may choose not to play…
Who knows? All I know is I will be ready and waiting to play and if there is an opportunity I will take it!
So, back to the KLM Open in Holland – it was a quick flight to Amsterdam, followed by one hour in a courtesy car to the course!
My coach Mark Pearson came over for three days which is always great; to have his watchful eye over my preparation and keep my swing in shape before the final stretch of the season really helps!
With flight times as they were last week, I played nine holes Tuesday and nine holes Wednesday, also I had a wedge fitting with Titleist to fine-tune the set-up of my Vokeys!
Tuesday went great, apart from jumping in the hire car with Mark and getting a little lost en route to the course, the practice was fantastic! I played the front nine, it felt like a really good layout, my game felt good and the course was in great condition!
The facilities are really fantastic too, so the back nine Wednesday and lots of productive practice was in order!!
9.40am start off the 10th which was the last out of the morning groups – I was playing with fellow Q-School graduates Nino Bertasio and David Dixon.
I started off really solid, played my first four holes tee to green great and just had to keep patient on the greens…
The next hole was one of the tour’s new initiatives, a short par 3 which got the fans involved! The three of us hit our tee shots, then a spectator came out of the stand to try and beat us!!
If they do, they win two KLM tickets to fly anywhere in Europe! For us, though, John Morgan the Sky commentator took the challenge so they could show it on TV!
Thankfully I took him down, hitting mine to 6ft and rolling it in for my first birdie!! A good birdie down the next and I was on the move!
In the end I signed for 66 (-5) with seven birdies and two bogeys, one on the tough 2nd and another on the 9th, my last hole, from a slightly out of position tee shot…
But a great day overall, and one my coach Mark was very happy with!! The post-round de-brief did not take too long!!!!
Last out at 2.40pm – the hardest thing about those tee-times is passing the time in the morning! Especially as I’m not one for staying in bed all morning…
You don’t want to sit around all morning, but you don’t want to kill it in the gym or do anything too tiring.
It was Jessica’s first half day at school back home, so I got to hang about in the hotel and speak to the family on FaceTime, they even FaceTimed me from the school gates so I got to see her there, which was nice! Technology is a blessing!!
I then had a late breakfast and got the 11am bus up to the club, did my pins in the yardage book, loaded up the bag nice and heavy for Steve, ate more food and chilled!!
At 1pm my routine starts which includes the physio bus before any actual golf preparation, so by 2.40pm I’m raring to go!
A par, bogey, birdie start and things were ok… It felt like a missed opportunity down six but I guess level par never really hurts you!
Then the fun started… Down the next I hit a poor 4-iron off the tee into the rough, followed that with a hack up near the green before nearly playing table tennis backwards and forwards over the green!
Let’s just call it a chipping incident to forget! A triple-bogey seven there and a bogey down the next, I was back to -1, on the cut mark and +4 for the day! I was on the back seat!!
I missed a great chance down 9, lipped out from 15ft on 10 and it felt I was already running out of chances!
The 11th is ranked stroke 1!!! After a decent 3-wood off the tee which left me a little bit back of where I would have liked, I then crushed a 3-iron from 230 to 15ft and rolled it home for birdie to give me the boost I needed for a charge!
And that charge came with three on the spin from 13 to make the last three holes a lot more comfortable and meant I lived to fight another weekend in T20 position!
Bogey free is always pleasing on Saturday ‘moving day’ and to add 4 birdies to that to shoot 67 (-4) is a great day!!
Starting the day in T11 I knew a top-10 finish would get me into next week’s Italian Open, but that also meant a good score was needed!
I drove it pretty poor all week, but never too far out of position. I holed out from 35ft on the second for birdie and my day was up and running!
A great two-putt birdie on the 6th to finally birdie the easiest hole of the week and I was cruising along nicely.
I struck again on the hardest hole of the week (11th) hitting a 6-iron to 3 feet! And from then on my game seemed to up a gear but the putter cooled down a little!
A few missed chances and a long-range three putt on the crazy 16th green, I now knew a couple of pars to finish stood me in a great position to grab that top 10!
I left myself a smelly 45ft putt on 18 up a big slope, but rolled it up to two feet and tapped in for par!
What a fantastic day, and to play with Bernd Wiesberger too, who was leading for much of the day, it was a great experience to be back in that position!
And then it was home to walk Jessica to school for her first full day, and now an extremely early flight out to Italy on Tuesday morning for the Italian Open!