As predicted, the winds blew most of the field away on Friday in the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
I was prepared for the wind, which gusted up to 45mph, but perhaps not the cold.
Yas Links is somewhat exposed on the island. As I arrived at the course, I saw all the barriers flat on the ground, flagpoles down to ensure they did not blow away. Thanks to the organisers, as far I could see, everything stayed in place throughout the day, with the exception of the odd banner here and there.
My warm Dubai blood struggled to adapt to today’s weather. It has probably been the coldest and windiest day I have ever experienced in my 17 years in the UAE.
Statistic of the day that sums it all up that I saw on finishing was that only five players who completed their round broke par.
And these are some of the best players in the world.
I started disappointingly with a bogey and on the second hole, the par five measuring 534 yards, I probably made my only real mistake of the day.
I went for the green in two shots with a 2 iron, and walked off the green with a double. I felt comfortable with the shot and confident I could deliver a decent result. Looking back, I should have played a mid-iron short of the green and made a par at worst. I just got a little greedy and chased too soon.
I learnt that I should have been more patient and not to chase. This poor start stopped the positive momentum I was looking for.
In the morning I received a call from Falcon telling me I had received a late invitation to play in next week’s Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic. A huge thank you to the promoters and especially to Gen. Abdullah Alhashmi, Vice-Chairman of the Emirates Golf Federation, for making it happen. I am excited about the next few weeks.
I return to the golf course to finish my round at 7.30am on Saturday — I came off at seven-over par for the round through 12 holes due to bad light and delays. I will arrive at the course at 6am and a healthy breakfast will be first on my to-do list.
I have six holes to play and hope the wind has blown itself out and the conditions are calmer. I will need a fast start with the cut likely to be around three or four-over and I am on six-over for the tournament.
After my round, my caddie Pete and I moved hotels and we are now staying at the Hilton on Yas Island.
A warm bath is on the agenda to thaw out my whole body, then a meal and a good night’s sleep. The wind always seems to make you very tired.
Josh Hill, 17, was born and bred in Dubai, plays off a +5.8 handicap as an amateur out of Trump International Golf Club, Dubai and represents England at junior and international levels.