Today wasn’t quite what we had planned, but jeez Dan played great for the most part, despite his score not reflecting that.
But let’s go back to 2:31pm when the announcer read out, “From New Zealand Dan Hillier”. Dans deep breath was clearly audible, which said to me that he was working hard to stay in the moment.
He pumped his drive 301 yards right down the middle and as we walked off the tee, I asked how nervous he was. He responded, “that is a new level of nervousness for me, I was packing myself, but I loved it.” This was a long drive but nothing out of the ordinary.
Dan weighs 73kg dripping wet, but my word he bombs it. On the last hole (the 9th) he hit his drive 360 yards on the right hand side of the fairway, and that was at 7:30pm on a cold night. To give you some context around that, Dustin hit it 330, Woods 304 and Koepka 312 down the same hole. I know that distance isn’t everything but it’s a pretty nice weapon to have especially when you hit it as straight as this kid.
So what were the main learnings from today, well firstly Major Championship golf is bloody hard and the margin for area is small. An example of this would be, on the second hole he hit a majestic shot from 170m out of the fairway bunker and hit it 24 feet right of the flag, but unfortunately 2 feet off the green. He played a great shot to about 6 feet and missed the putt, but if the second shot had been 2 feet left the ball would have trickled down close to the hole, and it would have been a kick in birdie, instead it was a bogey.
The other major learning was to keep the ball under the hole. This is easier said than done, as these greens are tiny, the average green size at Pebble Beach is 3,500 feet compared to Augusta which is 6,500 feet and sometimes keeping it under isn’t all that easy. That being said we will certainly attempt to do a better job of it tomorrow and trust the putter will play its part.
We have an early tee time tomorrow, so we are looking forward to getting amongst it and trying to post a nice low number. Dan is in great spirits and really happy with where is game is at so that is exciting for tomorrow.