Date: August 25, 2008

Keating blog: What it feels like inside the ropes

Stacey Keating writes: What an experience it was. My first LPGA event, The Canadian Open played at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. I arrived in Ottawa late on Sunday night and headed straight out to the course on Monday. I spent the day out there practising and then headed out to play in the afternoon. It was one of the longest courses I have competed at and definately one of the toughest, with very thick rough and every green had at least 3 elephants buried under them! I played 9 holes on my own which was quite good as I got to spend time doing a lot of work around the greens and then I played the back nine with Nicole Castrale (world number 24). This was a great experience to play with a big name. On Monday night my coach Steven Giuliano arrived from Australia so I went to collect him from the airport. This was even more exciting for the week; the AIS had organised for him to be there. I thank them so much for that! I went out for practice time on Tuesday. I arrived out there early to hit some balls and do lots of short game work before my hit off with Karrie Webb. It was only a month ago and I was walking outside the ropes watching her at the US Open, and now I m inside the ropes with her…what an experience! I think I was actually more nervous in this practice round than I was on the 1st tee when the tournament started! I had a blast out there though-Karrie was great, made me feel really comfortable so after the nerves settled I got some good practice in. We did the same sort of thing, just working out what to hit off each tee and doing a lot of short game work. Then Wednesday was the Pro-Am day so we were off the course. I spent some time practicing before heading home to rest before the first round. I had 2:10 hit off. Do you think they could they make me wait any longer to play this event? I woke up early with a little excitement and it was a long morning! After my usual warm up 2:10 finally arrived. I got off to a steady start, I actually felt quite good because I thought I would be a nervous wreck. I made three pars to begin my round. Then I let a three putt slip in and a double bogey. But then I made two birdies in a row, so again felt great. Another bogey and birdie up to the 11th hole, sitting at 1-over. Then things took a turn for the worst. I dropped 7 shots in the next 8 holes to finish the day at +8, (80). I couldn’t believe it, but I just didn t have the shots. I continually found myself in the green side rough and unable to get up and down. So as you can imagine I was quite disappointed at the end of the round but after some consoling from coach/caddy Steven, I was still excited to get out there for the second round. Round 2 started much the same as the first. Steady-I felt like I was hitting the ball quite well, just not nailing any putts. Then again I found myself in the green side rough, not getting up and down, and had some consecutive bogeys with no birdies in the round to even things out, I ended up +6 (78). Obviously I was disappointed to not score a little better but this has been the biggest learning curve for me, and it has only motivated me more as I just loved it out there! So I spent Saturday and Sunday watching from outside the ropes but as you&aposd know from the results it was very exciting for Aussie fans! Katherine Hull overcame a 6 shot deficit to win by one shot over Se Ri Pak. So that made my week even more exciting! I&aposm heading back to Australia now to see everyone, yet am very sad to leave over here. I have had the best time, gaining priceless expereince and achieving more than we could have imagined.