The power of proper practice

Chris Paisley on preparing for the final stretch of the European Tour season

It’s been a frustrating two weeks on the European Tour. After making the cut in the KLM Open and finishing 27th, I missed the cut at the BMW PGA Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Links.

For some reason, Wentworth has not been kind to me. I have played the event five times and missed the cut every time! We all have courses that just don’t suit our eye, and unfortunately I think Wentworth is one of those for me. I have had some good rounds there, so I know I can do it, but so far I have struggled to string a couple of good rounds together. I’ll get it back next year!

As for the Dunhill Links, an event I have had some success at in the past, a poor round at Kingsbarns cost me. I shot 68 at the Old Course then 70 at Carnoustie. I wasn’t at my best, but after two rounds I was on the cut mark knowing I could go low around Kingsbarns having shot a 62 there in 2013. It was fairly windy and I just didn’t have my usual game. I made bogies on the par five 12th and 16th holes on my front nine and shot 75. The cut went to nine under-par and I missed by quite a way.

I have a week off as I write this, followed by three weeks in a row to finish the regular season – the Italian Open, French Open and the Portugal Masters.

I’ve noticed a pattern recently in my game. I have been striking the ball extremely well on the range and in practice rounds, but then playing poorly in tournament rounds. I had a similar issue in my 2017 season and used my five weeks off before the 2018 South African Open to focus on adding pressure and consequence to my practice sessions. I have talked about this in the past, but basically my goal was to bridge the gap between my practice sessions and tournament rounds by adding punishments when I didn’t accomplish a certain task in practice. This obviously worked very well as I went on the best run of form of my life and broke into the top 80 in the world. For whatever reason, I haven’t placed as much emphasis on this type of practice recently and it has shown in my performances. My goal for the rest of the season – and my career really – is to get back to that form of training. It really does seem to bring out the best in me. My game is very close so I think a slight tweak in my training will really help my results in the short and long term.

If I can play fairly well in the remaining events then I should get into the Final Series events. My goal at the start of the season was to finish in the top 20 of the Race to Dubai and I believe that it is still within reach.