2012 Season Review

December 31, 2012 · James Blog, uncategorized
Holding aloft the Aberdeen Asset Management Northern Open Trophy

As we approach the final hours of 2012, I figured it might be a good idea to reflect one last time upon the past 12 months. In about 2 hours time, 2013 will be upon us, and 2013 is no time to be writing or reading about 2012. So, reasonably briefly, here’s my wrap up of my 2012 season:

After securing my Asian Tour card in the second week of January, I was really excited about getting started as a professional golfer and the opportunity to play on a major global tour. I wasn’t officially getting started – I’d had a short stint as a pro at the end of 2011, but it was a handful of events through invites on various tours, and I hadn’t had much of a chance to establish myself anywhere. 2012 was to be my first full season, so in my mind, I was just getting started.

Unfortunately this year, things just didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped. Coming off the back of a successful amateur career, I thought I’d be able to contend most weeks on the Asian Tour. Admittedly, this wasn’t the case at all. Yes the courses and grasses and weather and culture and food were a little alien to me, but the bottom line is that if you aren’t shooting 10 under par on any given week, you probably aren’t contending. And I wasn’t shooting 10 under par each week. Before I went to Asia, I somewhat ignorantly hadn’t even heard of the likes of Thaworn Wiratchant, Prom Meesawat, Manasori Kobayashi or Anirban Lahiri. It didn’t take long before I realised they were actually world class players. It’s not that I was overawed by them, I was just taken aback somewhat by the numbers they were shooting. It clearly wasn’t going to be plain sailing.

Unique but awesome practice range in Taiwan

The Asian Tour took a break over the summer for about 3 months, and by that halfway point I had made most cuts but not made enough money to sit inside the top 60. I played a few events over the summer to fill the void, with inconsistent results, and went back East to finish the season there. Knowing I needed a couple of strong finishes to keep my card, I went back and missed 2 cuts in a row. Then I came back for European Q School, missed that, and went back East again and missed the next 2 cuts by a single shot, the latter being the Indian Open which was a $1.25m purse, substantially more than our normal purses. Ouch.

It was a brutal spell of tournaments, and something I wasn’t really used to in my amateur career. There, cuts rarely fell under par and I can only ever remember missing one or two. Missing four in a row was a totally new experience, and it was a tough period mentally trying to keep plugging away. On good days you think the tide is just about to turn, but on bad days you just can’t see where the next cut is coming from. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from 2012, it’s the power of self-belief and the ability to quickly forget. Selective amnesia I think it’s called. Remember your great weeks, relive them and savour them, and then just dump the rest.

The incredible movable island 17th green at Amata Springs, Thailand. 132 yards front.

After four weekends in a row laying by the pool (and in the gym of course, kinda, not really), I decided I needed a change of scenery. I entered myself for three consecutive tournaments on the Asian Development Tour, the Asian Tour’s feeder tour. It turned out to be quite a good move. Without having to worry about 3-under cuts, I relaxed a bit more and finished 9th, 3rd and 30th. My mind was certainly in a better place, and I finished up my last 2 events on the Asian Tour playing much better golf, albeit without outstanding results. Of course, that wasn’t enough to retain my playing rights, which means in a couple weeks I’ll be back off to Thailand to try to earn it back.

So that wraps up my year on the Asian Tour. Certainly not the year I’d hoped for in terms of results, but the experience overall was incredible, and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. I played on some of the best golf courses, in some of the best cities in the world, and met some fantastic people along the way. In addition, I’ve learned a lot about my golf game and what needs to be improved, physically and moreover mentally. I also found out what a chicken’s foot tastes like, but perhaps I won’t go into the details.

Before finishing up this exhaustively long summarised season review, I will of course mention my win the Aberdeen Asset Management Northern Open at Meldrum House. It actually came just before my stretch of missed cuts, which shows how absurdly fickle this game is, but it was certainly a welcome victory and was my first as a professional. I shot 66 66 66 70 for 12 under par, and was delighted to lift one of the most prestigious trophies in Scottish golf at a place so close to home.

Holding aloft the Aberdeen Asset Management Northern Open Trophy

So there we have it, 2012 has come and gone. Before I finish, a quick note on my New Years Resolution. I actually haven’t really thought of a good one yet. Let’s just say it’s to get better. Even if it’s just half a shot per round, the goal has to be to get better. Half a shot isn’t asking a lot. I figure in golf, as long as I remain healthy (touch wood) and driven, I should have another 30 years in the sport. So if I can improve by half a shot each year, I should be a decent player by the time I’m 53.

Lastly, for those interested, below I have compiled a list of all the tournaments I played in 2012. This extensive table also includes all my scores, finishes, and comments.

 

 

Date

Tournament

Venue

Rd 1

Rd 2

Rd 3

Rd 4

Total

Finish

Comments

Aug 28-31

Aberdeen Asset Management Northern Open

Meldrum House Golf Club

66

66

66

70

268

1st

:)

 

 

Remember, savour the great weeks, dump the rest.

Wishing you all a successful 2013.

James

 

Some other snaps from this year:



Amazing view of the 16th fairway at Kuala Lumpur GCC

 

The Singapore skyline. One of my favourite place in the world. Taken from the Singapore flyer – Singapore’s version of the London Eye.

 

The incredibly daunting 17th hole at the Macau Open. 220 yards with a 50 foot drop in elevation!