Rookie Squad member Matt Griffin.
By Matt Griffin
After the disappointment of the initial stages of my last trip to Korea and Japan it was nice to finish the trip off on a better note with a couple of solid finishes. It wasn’t without the odd drama or two but all goes down as experience.
I am now writing to you from Miami Florida where I am over doing some preparation for Tour School at the end of the year whilst playing a couple of pay to play events in the Carolinas.
I guess the more cuts in a row you miss the more pressure there is to make one. So when it came to the 4th event of my trip in Chiba Japan the tension had risen a bit. It wasn’t helped by the fact that after the last event I hadn’t had access to a golf course for 3 days.
I was able to get in some good gym work whilst also doing some dry drills. The practice round was positive as I was starting to eliminate the poor shots I was hitting. An early start would also mean a better place of play while we would still have the good old lunch break.
I got off to a really solid start with 8 pars which was a little frustrating given I had played great with not much going right. I was able to make a couple of birdies around the turn and played solid coming home to shoot 2 under and be in a tie for 7th after round 1. Boy was it nice to be in contention again.
A birdie on my first on day 2 got the juices flowing but unfortunately I just overshot my second shot into a terrible position on 2 and made a poor double which hurt my chances. I did battle back well to get back to one under for the day before hitting a tricky set of holes and 3 straight bogeys dropping me down the board. A late birdie left a better taste in the mouth and a 15th place finish. Only one shot out of the top 10 (4th time this year) and some more positive signs. It was also good given it could easily have been 4 or 5 shots better but every pro thinks that way!!
We then had a small gap before the next event and so Gareth Paddison, James McLean and myself spent the weekend in Tokyo and visited a few of the sights which was fun. Shibuya square was a great experience and it is crazy seeing so many people in such a small area.
A highlight too was Melbourne’s win over the Bombers in the footy. Those of you who follow me on twitter (@MattGriffinGolf) would realize I bleed red and blue so I apologize to those in the rooms next to me for all the cheering! We have been waiting a while for a win.
After the weekend we headed down to the southern part of Chiba for the ISPS Charity Challenge one of the higher money challenge events. The course was very tricky and had an extreme amount of out of bounds, which would come to haunt me. My game was gradually getting better so I was confident I could handle it. In round 1 I got off to a flyer and was 5 under after nine as all the putts and chips I had been saving seemed to drop.
The back nine was solid and I stood on the 16th tee 6 under and in the lead before hitting one slightly left hitting a tree 20m inside the oob. Unfortunately it went straight left and oob (although I did have a clear shot to the green). That was a set back but I birdied the last for a round of 67 and 3rd position. I was feeling great and ready to make a bit challenge.
My body had other ideas though and a build of off bad beds, stress with a new body movement and a lot of travel I would wake up with really sore ribs on the right side. My movement was restricted and had a sharp pain in my take away.
I battled through and despite the restriction played the front 9 on day two in one under in very tough conditions as a typhoon was passing close by Japan. I wasn’t the same after the break and my lack of range led to 2 OOB balls of to the right and an overall round of 75. Very disappointing but I probably would have taken it at the start of the round given the discomfort.
I felt better day 3 but still wasn’t quite right and shot 74 to finish 24th. It was then straight to the airport and a smile on my face when I saw the red kangaroo. Overall a very poor trip but it was nice to bounce back at the end with some better golf.
After arriving home I had some good rest and great treatment to get the body in shape. Basically my whole right side had tightened up causing the issues whilst I was away. Now the project is to ensure it doesn’t happen again to that level as some tightening is inevitable with the repeat action associated with golf. I was also able to put in some good work with my coach and what we were working on has come along nicely and I am in a much better position now than I was 6 weeks ago.
The Royal Melbourne Purse proved that as I played nicely to finish 2nd in their yearly pro am which is a wonderful day on US Open Monday. It was a shame not to win it for the 3rd time in as many starts but there where some good signs and I always feel at home at Royal.
So I have just arrived in the USA and it is great to feel the warm weather again. In the next couple of days I will check out the Florida venues for US Tour School to see if one catches my eye before heading north for a few E tour events a pay to play golf tour. I will update you on the progress in the next email but until then I hope this finds everyone well.
Matt Griffin is a former National Squad member and current member of Golf Australia's Rookie Professional Program. This blog can also be found at his website www.matthewgriffingolf.com Follow him on Twitter @MattGriffinGolf