We started the weekend 2 shots back. Anyone near the top knew that most likely (-20) would be a good score to win this event. I believe 3 players shot (-20) or better last year with (-25) being the winning score. There are so many opportunities to make birdie on this course that it could be very easy to fall behind.
They had to play weekend threesomes due to potential weather issues which is different from the normal twosomes they play. Ryan came out of the gates in my opinion just a bit shaky. Weekend golf to me is a whole different animal because the feel of everything is just a bit different. He came out with 4 straight pars before eventually birding the par 4 – 5th hole. To me it’s all about playing the course and anytime you can continue to head deeper under par you are doing what you need to do.
We stood on the par 3 – 7th hole having 174 yards to the pin. We felt the wind was in a bit and there was plenty of green beyond the pin. The miss to me was short so we had to make sure we took that out of play. We agreed on a left to right shape 6 iron because we felt the wind in from the right. It was probably a bit much but at the least it leave a chance for birdie.
He hit it and the wind never touched it and found the right green side bunker. It was a delicate shot that he hit to about 4 feet. It was a great shot to give him a chance to save par. The putt broke to the right a bit so we figured some speed inside the left edge would be fine. For whatever reason he missed the putt low to make bogey and draw back to even on his round. It was a bit of a momentum killer but what can ya do sometimes besides move on.
He had some good looks on the next 4 holes but only yielded 4 pars. At this point in the event we were still in the mix but really felt we could be much better. The par 3 – 12th yielded a nice 15-20 footer for birdie to get back under par for the round. A great wedge shot to a few feet on the 16th got us to two under for the round which was just fine in my book. He finished with a great two putt par from some 60 feet up a steep slope to shoot (-2) 69 to sit at (-13) for the event. At the end of the day he was only 4 shots back heading into the weekend which is all you can ask for.
The final round Sunday put us 4 groups ahead of the leaders. Ryan started the round hitting a wedge to 2-3 feet for the birdie. It was just the start he needed to get the momentum going. A great 9 iron to about 10 feet on the second hole set up a great look for birdie. The putt looked fairly straight but broke outside the hole. In golf it’s tough to swallow not converting great looks for birdie. It’s even tougher to not convert a few holes in a row but the last thing you can do is let it get to you mentally.
We short sided ourselves left of the pin on the difficult 6th. He had no green to work with coming out of the bunker with a lie that was sitting down. This basically gave him no chance to hit the shot high and soft which was his only chance to get it close. It rolled some 20-25 feet away and missed the putt to make bogey. A par on 8 brought him to the 9th hole Par 3 which had a similar pin placement to the Friday pin. He hit the same 8 iron to an almost identical 3 feet on made the birdie to turn in one under par. In the grand scheme on things it’s wasn’t what he wanted but it’s what he was at. I told him you have a new 9 and to stay in it mentally.
He made birdies on 11&12 to move to (-15) which at the time was about 5 back. The 13th was a birdie opportunity we just couldn’t take advantage of. The 14th can be a tough hole and we had about 25-30 feet down what was a pretty good hill. We agreed speed was the first priority because it looked pretty fast. He definitely gave it the respect and left it some 5-6 feet short. The clean up putt was missed and we walked off making bogey 5. Three putts are tough and even tougher when they come at such a critical stage in the event. It was his first of the week at a time where every shot can really add up. He made a nice par on the tough 15th and par on the 16th.
The reachable par 5 – 17th finally gave us the birdie we needed. Any birdie coming in wouldn’t help us win, but lots of money was at stake. A great drive on 18 putt him in position to give himself a look for a finishing birdie. He hit a great 9 iron to a back right pin with water closely guarding the right side. It left him 8 feet or so for a very important birdie. The putt had some break to it and was pretty quick. It’s a short putt but if you try and give it some speed it can really get away from you. We read it somewhere in the 3-4 inches outside the hole breaking right. As he stood over it I really felt he would make it. It ended up missing low for a disappointing finish but overall a great week.
He ultimately finished T13 in the event. It was a nice week considering how the first three events went and I made sure to try and stay positive about it. Everyone wants to win out here and it’s just so tough because of so many variables and factors. In my heart he hit it tee to green well enough to win, but we just didn’t convert enough of the great birdie looks we had. In the end it always comes down to making putts, not so much how you hit it..
There ended up being 17 guys within two shots of where Ryan finished and sole 2nd. The line is so fine out here sometimes between being right there and not even close. If we found 3 more shots across those 72 hole it would have been $75,000 more dollars. Everyone in the field could say the same thing and that’s what really makes it tough. All in all I’ll take the week for what it is. Next week we are in Santiago, Chile at a brand new course. It’s much differnt from the course in Brasil so it’s hard to say how guys will play.
Stats for the week:
Front 9 Scoring Ave : 32.75
Back 9 Scoring Ave : 34.25
Fairways : 40/52 (76.9%)
GIR : 62/72 (86.1%)
Putts : 118 (29.5/Rd)
1 Putts : 27/72 (37.5%)
3 Putts : 1/72 (.013%)
Scrambling : 7/10 (70%)
Sand Saves : 1/3 (33%)
Bounce Back % : 1/4 (25%)
Birdies : 20
Pars : 48
Bogeys : 4
Prize Money : T13 – $15,016.67