I shot a first round of 75 — five over par — in the Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Saudi Arabia on Thursday. The weather was ideal for us early starters over the par 70, 7,048-yard course. I started on hole 10 and went out in 40, with bogeys in 11, 13, 15 and a double on 18.
I played my back nine, holes 1-9 in level with birdies on holes 3 and 5, matched by bogeys on holes 2 and 6. I was just not swinging well all day and missed too many greens. I am feeling tired now but am determined to give 100 per cent on every shot I have in front of me.
It is a course where with good solid shots to the greens you can get plenty of birdie opportunities, but missed greens can easily end up with dropped shots with the undulating green complexes surrounded by bunkers and slopping run-offs as well as rough.
The par-five 18th summed up my day. I was plugged in a greenside bunker in three shots and chopped my recovery into the water on the left hand side of the green.
A penalty drop and down in two saw me write down a double-bogey seven. On another day I could and should have walked off with nothing worse than a par. I was also not happy with my swing on my back nine, but managed a level par score with some grinding.
Immediately after play I left the course without hitting any balls for practice. I have a 1pm tee time on Friday for my second round. I rested in the afternoon on Thursday and my dad took a nap when we came back. After a good night’s sleep, I will hopefully come back fresh and energised in the morning.
I will not go to the golf course before 11am, so a lie in is a real treat for us all after the last couple of weeks with early morning calls seemingly every day in the dark.
I am keeping to myself along with my caddie and dad, which was always in my plans for the three weeks, but it is nice to be recognised and acknowledged and receive a hello from a few of the golfers and I always return the greeting. That has been fun this week.
Josh Hill, 17 years old, was born and brought up in Dubai, plays off a +5.8 handicap as an amateur out of Trump International Golf Club, Dubai and represents England at Junior and Full International levels.