David Carey hopes to make his experience playing at altitude count as he looks to convert a run of made cuts into a weekend challenge at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
The Darwin Escapes star signed off on his Czech Masters bid last week with a disappointing final round 80 but after learning at 6pm on Sunday evening that opportunity knocked once more this week in Crans-sur Sierre, the blow was instantly softened.
“It wasn’t as bad as the score made it look, I just had a frustrating time on the back-nine,” Carey reflected on a week where he posted 15 birdies but finished 54-holes at five-over.
“It definitely helped being told I had another start this week because that’s what you want straight away – a chance to go again and do better.”
On short notice, Carey flew into Zurich from Prague on Monday morning before driving three and a half hours to Crans Montana while picking up an expensive Swiss McDonalds along the way.
“I think a euro saver is more like 10 euro over here,” Carey jokes, “but everything about this place is spectacular.
“I’d put the golf course up there in my top handful of courses I’ve played. I absolutely loved it in the practice round on Tuesday. The setting is obviously stunning but the course itself is just a really fun course, a nice mix of long-ish par-4s and drive-able holes. You get to play lots of different shots and it’s in such good condition that it makes it very, very enjoyable.”
A regular on the Alps Tour, Carey is hoping his experience playing at altitude and dealing with the variables that such an environment presents could give him a leg up on his rivals; not least given the site of perhaps his most remarkable day on a golf course lies just the other side of the famous Matterhorn peak.
“I think it has to help a little bit. We’re literally just the other side of the Matterhorn to where Cervino is,” Carey says, a nod to his Alps Tour win in Italy where he shot a magical 57 en route to the Cervino Open title.
“I obviously have pretty good memories there so that helps, but just knowing you have to have a bit more feel to figure out numbers. It’s not just as simple as ‘it’s a percentage off’. There’s a bit more to it than that.”
A great exponent of GCQuad data, allow Carey to elaborate about how altitude impacts his game.
“A stock wedge this week, we have it at 173-yards,” Carey says. “One thing that happens at altitude, particularly with a wedge, normally when you play at sea level, when you hit it harder, the extra speed you generate gets offset by the extra spin so the ball doesn’t really go further because it spins more.
“When you have the altitude, that’s not the case. The speed overrides because the spin doesn’t have as much effect with the thin air. So if I step on a wedge, it would go 180 this week.
“Probably the most relatable way to explain it. If you’re playing into a really strong wind, you can’t just hit a harder seven iron because it will just spin up in the air. This is the exact opposite to playing into an extremely strong wind.”
Carey had a new driver head in play last week in Prague and aside from two poor swings, he was pleased with how it performed. A punisher of the golf ball, Carey is capable of bringing a course to its knees should his driver behave and controlled aggression is the order of the day this week too as he looks to make the most of another invite to the DP World Tour.
“If I drive it well, I think I’ll have a good chance,” Carey says having played a practice round with Cormac Sharvin, Niall Kearney and Paul Dunne on Tuesday.
“Step one is making the cut. I’ve made the cut the last few weeks and that doesn’t seem to have been too much trouble but it would be nice to push on and get into those later groups over the weekend and hopefully be in and around the lead at some point at least.
“This course, of the ones we’ve played over the last few weeks, would be my favourite course that we’ve played. It doesn’t always work that you play well on courses that you like but hopefully this week it will.”
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