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  • Writer's pictureRonan Kleu

First event as a professional golfer

This last week I played my first event as a professional at the Big Green Egg German Challenge. It was held at the same venue as I played last year, the Wittelsbacher Golfclub in Neuburg an der Donau. The course, however, was set up a little differently - slightly softer fairways, however much taller, US Open style rough. Tee shots required moving the ball in both directions and hitting into zones in order to not be blocked out for approaches. This, combined with the tall rough, made long game and ball-striking key this week.

In order to conserve energy, I played nine holes on Tuesday and nine holes on Wednesday before the tournament started on Thursday. During my practice, I worked a lot on speed on the greens, and moving the ball left and right off the tee using an alignment stick in front as reference for start and end line.

Naturally, I felt some nerves on the first tee but started decently with a par, a bogey and then 8 consecutive pars! One big adjustment that had to be made coming onto the Challenge Tour was the pace of play: I enjoy playing fast, decisive rounds, but had to settle for a 5 and a bit hour round! The impatience grew throughout the round and I let a bad bounce influence me for a bad stretch holes 11-14. I finally made my first birdie of my professional career on the 15th and another on the 18th. I finished +4 for the day with high hopes for a better day the second day. I implemented some adjustments after the first day and was a lot better off the tee. My approach play on the day didn’t allow for quite enough birdie opportunities but I signed for a solid 73. I ended up missing the cut by three shots, which stung a bit since I knew of so many places where I left some shots out there. Regardless, I can build off that for tournaments to come.

Roberto Francioni from SwissGolf accompanied me during both rounds, for which I am thankful for and we had a very good post-tournament reflection. The first had to do with the excess amount of time we had between shots and how I am going to occupy my mind between shots. It’s important to get your mind off golf between shots, otherwise it’s tough to keep up the concentration for over five hours. Next, had to do pre-shot visualisation. The mind-body connection is something quite fascinating and I’m convinced that with better visualisation, I am allowing myself a better chance of executing a given shot due. Just as any other techniques this needs to be practiced, something I will be doing heading into the next tournaments.

I travel to Ireland this week for the Irish Challenge just outside of Dublin. Thank you for reading!

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