Follow Sebastian MacLean at the British Amateur via Kieran Lovelock's Diary

Kieran Lovelock will be caddying for MacLean at the British Am.
 
Kieran Lovelock will be caddying for MacLean at the British Am.
 

June 15, 2009

 

 

EASY LIKE TUESDAY MORNING.........
Tuesday, June 16

What do you do when you have a tee time of 3:21 p.m. and breakfast is only served until 9? Well to fill the time we took a trip down to Royal Birkdale (venue of the 2008 Open Championship) for some inspiration, made sure we got lost at least three times on the way, drank gallons of tea and went around the same roundabout twice; but the tee time was so late we still arrived with 2 hours to spare! After 6 hours of finding things to do 3:21 p.m. rolled around and Sebastian MacLean from Bolivia was on the tee. After another difficult start with bogeys at 1 and 2 Sebastian once again responded well with a birdie at the par 5 third followed shortly by another at the short 5th hole. A smart second shot into the par 5 8th gave him another birdie before a bogey at 9 saw him out in level par. Sebastian at this point was one outside the cutline, which had moved to 3 over par. Solid pars at 10 and 11 meant Sebastian was in a strong position with 7 holes left (he was at 4 over and the cut was at plus 3), but a couple of loose tee shots at 12 and 13 both resulted in bogeys and Sebastian had work to do. However one thing the Xavier golf team has become very good at is responding to mistakes, and Sebastian proved this with a sublime birdie at the difficult 14th. A par at 15 was followed by a bogey at the par 3 16th and the equation was simple, Sebastian need to go 3 under for his last two holes which were the short par 5 17th and the par four 18th. After two smart shots at 17 Sebastian was left with a simple chip and some spin on the third bounce saw it come agonizingly close to going in but unfortunately it grazed the lip and stayed out for a birdie. Then in front of a big crowd Sebastian proceeded to show great character by making a birdie three at the 440 yard 18th and was left with a final round of 72 which consisted of 6 birdies, 6 pars and 6 bogeys to miss the match play by a just one shot. Sebastian made 9 birdies in 36 holes and this shows that his good play is as good as anybody’s, however this week will serve as a lesson to him and the whole XU golf team; and that is that it is not how good your good play is that matters but how good your bad play is. Throughout the week we have both enjoyed ourselves immensely and Sebastian has showed a fantastic attitude the whole time. As team captain I can say that if the rest of the Xavier golf team can enjoy themselves like Sebastian and I have over the past few days we will be in for a very successful time indeed.

Cheers
Kieran and Sebas


 

 

 

EMERGENCY TAXI DRIVES, TRAIN RIDES AND BIRDYING THE PAR FIVES
Monday, June 15

After a relaxed English breakfast and a pot of tea it was time to make the short train ride up the coast to Hall Road; the stop for West Lancashire Golf Course and the venue of Sebastian's first round in the 2009 British Amateur. The warm up session in any event can often be a tense time, however the mood was lightened when American Reed Howard literally fell out of a taxi on to the car park floor and proceeded to run to the first tee to make his tee time by about ten seconds. However, as he pulled out his driver on the first tee he realized that his golf shoes had failed to fall out of the taxi with him and he proceeded to play the opening 18 holes in a pair of dress shoes! (FYI he shot 78.) Sebastian teed off at 1045 a.m. and after a bogey at the very difficult opening hole he made his first birdie of the championship by sticking a 92-yard pitch shot close at the par 5 second. But after that Sebastian struggled off the tee and dropped six shots in the next 13 holes. However, he rediscovered his form off the tee at the par five 16th with a 387-yard long tee shot leaving him a simple wedge to the green and an easy birdie. This was followed by the shot of the day at the par 3 seventeenth; an 8 iron to 4 feet would mean a second birdie on the bounce was in the bag and a solid par down the last ensured that Sebastian finished strong. Sebastian was not at his best today and finished the round with a four over par 76 to be positioned just over half way entering the final qualifying round. By my calculations he will need a 69 or a 70 tomorrow to qualify for the match play; the fact that he finished strong shows he is still playing with confidence and with a sense of confidence anything is possible in golf. Sebastian learned a lesson today in that the courses in Britain are designed differently to those in America and therefore have to be treated differently. In America the fairways are usually quite wide and soft allowing for the odd wayward tee shot, the hardest thing in American golf is hitting the right part of the greens as they generally have more slope to them compared to British courses. However when playing in Britain, especially on the coast, the hardest thing is hitting the fairways as they are always firm and narrow with the greens being flat and less undulating. (Reason being British courses were built 120 years ago when they lacked technology and space to build undulating greens and big fairways). Sebastian can shoot a great score tomorrow and make a big move up the leader board. However, no matter what happens from 315 p.m. onwards tomorrow I can assure of two things: Firstly Sebastian and I will have a blast working our way around in a meaningful round of golf and secondly Sebastian will be a better golfer this time tomorrow than he was before he came to England, and that is what it is all about!

Cheers
Kieran and Sebas

 

 

 

THE DAY THE ENGLISHMAN, THE AMERICAN AND THE BOLIVIAN HIT THE LINKS OF WEST LANCS.........
Sunday, June 14

Before go on I should explain the format of the British Amateur. There are 290 players in the field from all over the world, there is 36 hole qualifier (18 holes at Formby and 18 at West Lancs) and after this the top 64 players and ties will go through to play a seeded match play tournament played from Wednesday through Saturday. Sebastian tees off at 10:45 a.m. at West Lancs Monday and at 3:21 p.m. at Formby on Tuesday.

Today was our turn to play our practice round at West Lancs. This is a traditional links course to the extreme with literally just one tree throughout the whole 18 holes! We were paired with UCLA sophomore Gregor Maine from San Francisco so there were many stories being exchanged throughout the round about our goings on the college golf circuit. We were saying afterwards that the fact that fellow college golfers from different parts of the world can get together on a different continent thousands of miles away and spend five hours simply playing golf, laughing, joking and exchanging funny stories shows us just how lucky we are to be playing college golf. The fairways at West Lancs (short for Lancashire) are even firmer and faster compared to those at Formby and once again shooting a good score will be largely determined on how well you manage and execute the tee shots. The fairway bunkers at the two courses we are playing are the most penal that I have ever seen; my biggest job as Sebastian's caddy over the next few days will be making sure that he takes a club that will take these bunkers out of play as much as possible. Tiger Woods set the scoring record at the Open Championship in 2000 around St Andrews by not going in a single bunker during all four rounds, so if you need some advice on how to do well at a links course there it is! However the greens are quite flat and all the par fives are reachable so if you keep it straight by choosing the right club off the tee you can definitely shoot a low score. That is what we were talking about over dinner and this is the thought we will go to bed with tonight. The terribly unreliable English weatherman says it will be warm over the next few days with a few heavy showers thrown in here and there so we will be interesting to see what the big man upstairs has in store for us! But whatever the weather, Sebastian will be grinding all the way throughout the next few days and I will make sure that the mental toughness shown by the XU golf team to bring success last spring to will be continued into the summer. Roll on 10:45 a.m. tomorrow morning!

Cheers,
Kieran and Sebas

 

 

FAST CARS, FIRM FAIRWAYS AND FISH N' CHIPS
Saturday, June 13


I picked up Sebastian from London Heathrow airport on Friday afternoon and after a quick nine holes around my home course, some dinner and a good night's sleep it was time to make our way up to Liverpool for the biggest amateur golf tournament in the world; the British Amateur. We left my house at 8 a.m. this morning (Saturday) and made it to the golf course by 12:45 p.m. (record timing I have to say!) and after an easy warm up session we went out for the practice round at Formby. What we found was that the front nine is heathland with plenty of trees and that the back nine is more of a linksy style of golf. The fairways are incredibly firm and a big responsibility on my part as Sebastian's caddy is to use my experience on these kinds of courses to make sure that Sebastian hits the right shot at the right time. Believe me you don't find many courses like these in Cincinnati!!! Like all courses there are times to nail a driver and times to play a more sensible option, but considering how firm the fairways are the ability to use a long iron off the tee will be crucial if Sebastian is to have a good tournament. After we finished the practice round in the glorious English sunshine, we went in search of our hotel and found it on a street that has no less than five fish n' chip shops. A classic English meal is battered fish, chips (fries) and a cup of tea- so I guess this is just another thing that Sebastian will have to get used to this week! Anyways, time for bed now. The next step for team "mate and amigo" as we have been labeled is to go and check out the other course (West Lancashire) in the morning and believe me we are very much looking forward to it.
 

Cheers,
Kieran and Sebas

 

emailticketmaster