Open Diary Round 1: England's Paul Waring reveals what it's like to play in the first round of The Open
TG Exclusive: We've teamed up with English professional golfer Paul Waring this week as he gives us daily updates on what it's like to be playing at Royal Birkdale this week in the 146th Open.
About Paul: The former English Amateur champion has been plagued with back injuries, and was granted a medical exemption for this season having managed just four events last year- but things are looking up. Waring had a runner-up finish at the Joburg Open in February to secure his place in his first Open since Royal Birkdale in 2008. That year he finished 19th and played alongside Phil Mickelson on Sunday.
His first round was slightly disappointing, ending the day four-over-par and tied for 106th place. Waring's birdie free round included a bogey on the 2nd, a double on the 11th and another dropped shot on 13.
Because I was one of the last tee times during round one I had quite a bit of time to get ready, so this morning for me was just about killing a bit of time.
I got up around 8.30am so had a bit of a lie in and then had a slow late breakfast between 9 and 10 before watched a little bit of the golf on TV, which I did to see how some of the lads were playing, what they were hitting off certain tees and see how the course was playing.
Once I’d watched a bit of the golf I then actually watched a couple of episodes of the Big Bang Theory just to help take my mind off it all a little bit to chill out and get ready,
I headed up to the course at about 1.30 before having lunch and going to the locker room to check through the bag and make sure I had everything I needed.
Practice went well. I started on the putting green first, just for five to ten minutes to practice a bit of technical putting and then down on the range to start warming up.
As usual I went through my normal routine, starting with the wedges and making my way through the bag to build the swing up then build my speed up. I went through wedges, then my nine iron, then six iron, then four iron, to the one-iron I’ve got in my bag and then on to woods and drivers.
The nerves felt settled, I was swinging it nicely on the range and ball flight felt in control. I walked over to the chipping green and did a bit of technical putting and practicing shots I thought I might leave myself such as putting from off the green to get myself as prepared as I could do so if I had a bad shot my confidence wouldn’t leave me out there on the course.
Five minutes more putting and then I headed to the tee to get announced and underway, and I just I had a bit of first tee nerves but they just stayed with me for quite a while.
I wasn’t great today at all. I struggled off the tee so I didn’t really give myself any chances and the putter was just cold and I couldn’t get any momentum going at all so because of that I struggled as I had nothing to calm me down.
I bogeyed the second thanks to getting a massive flier in to a bush. It just came out really hot – my nine iron goes about 150 and I think I had 152 to the flag into wind and it just came out like an absolute rocket.
Then I made an ok putt for a bogey but from there I hit two good shots in to three and missed that, and hit a good shot in to four and missed that, five missed that and again on six a good shot in and missed that so I just couldn’t get the momentum going.
I did give myself some chances but I didn’t take any of them, so it was difficult to find some flow from or settle myself down which just frustrated me a bit. I felt like I was always on the back foot and everytime I made a mistake I got punished for it and didn’t make any birdies, and a round of golf where I don’t make any birdies doesn’t help the situation at all.
It was good support but I had my head down a little bit today, tried not to get myself too excited or get any expectations so that I could concentrate on what I needed to do. I was just trying to treat it like any other week, but now I’ve got a bit of work to do.
By the time I finished and got back it was around 9pm so it was just room service and then going to sleep before my 10.30 tee time.
We’ve got a bit of weather coming in on Friday so if I can get it round and get back to par I think that will be good, but it really depends on the weather.
I think if I can get myself back to level or one-over I think that will give me the best chance of getting there for the weekend, but I really need to go well tomorrow.