Date: July 09, 2007

Matt Griffin blogs from the US

Having now played my fourth event overseas, it marks about the halfway point of my trip. There have been many ups and downs and lots of fun had so far! The first tournament was the Links Trophy at St Andrews in Scotland. This tournament had one of the strongest fields I have ever played in and we played from the British Open tees, so the course was playing tough. I had a very good tournament with rounds of 72, 71, 73 and 69 to finish three-under and in 12th place. I was happy with this result as until you arrive at St Andrews, you cannot appreciate how much course knowledge is needed. Scott Arnold had a great finish in second which was a good start for the Aussies. Following that it was a trip on the Engloish trains which I will try to avoid in the future! The British Amateur was held at Royal Lytham and St Annes and St Annes Old Links. Lytham was a very demanding course being extremely tight off the tee and many penalising pot bunkers. In the first round I shot a 69 which I was rapt with after a shaky start. Unfortunately on day two I hit my ball out of bounds on 17 and finished with a birdie on 18 to finish one stroke out of the matchplay at one-under. Despite the dissapointment it was a great experience and one I will learn a lot from. It ended up being a great week for the Aussies as Tim Stewart narrowly went down in the final and Rick Kulacz reached the quarter-finals. Following the British Amateur it was off to the US and it was nice to get out of the grey skies that rarely departed in Britain. It was a shock to the system leaving the airport and feeling the heat in Atlanta. Our first event in the US was the Dogwood Invitational which is one of the bigger US amateur events. The Druid Hills course is magnificent. There is barely anything out of place and it resembles Augusta National. The greens were lightning quick and my scores of 70, 80 and 66 meant I missed the cut by just tow-strokes. It was disappointing given my form was good, apart from the 80, but that&aposs golf I guess. All in all it was a dissapointing week for the Aussies with no one in contention. The most recent event was the Rice Planters Invitational in South Carolina. The course is a typical Queensland Resort layout with some of the most grainy greens I have seen. Having had Dennis McDade, my VIS coach over, I made some adjustments and was ready to play well. My group won the AM-Am and I took a lot of confidence into Round One with a 65. A 69 was a nice start to the event although Josh Younger came in with a great 63. Middle rounds of 69 and 70 left me four behind Josh. The last day was a rollercoaster. After being two-over for the day through nine, I stormed home with birdies on 10, 12, 13, 16, 17 and 18 for a closing 30 and 11-under. This would leave me one shot out of a playoff with Josh and fellow countryman Michael Foster. Foster won on the second playoff hole to a big roar from the Aussies and many celebrations followed. All in all it was a great week for the Aussies with a one-two-three finish and Rudi Bezuidenhout in fifth. From here I play the Eastern Amateur, have a week off followed by two more events and then we are homeward bound. So far it&aposs been a great experience and I have learnt an amazing amount from playing a variety of courses. I am looking forward to some good results and hopefully some wins from myself and the Aussies contingent in general! Matt Griffin