Newcastle’s Blake Windred sees the 2022 version of himself as far more accomplished than the one who led last year’s NSW Open Championship before letting too many chances slip by over the weekend.
After a sizzling opening round 64 last year, Windred was the man of the moment, with the tournament all but at his mercy.
“In the past, I’ve shot good opening round scores and felt I was in the right place, but as tournaments rolled on into the second and third rounds. I was thinking: ‘just be happy with a couple of birdies‘ instead of pinning the ears back and going for it.
“I finished tied 6th, but the way I was playing, if a few of those putts fell in the last six holes, I could’ve been right up there.”
Complacency, however, can be a curse, and Windred readily admits he probably had the thought process required to become a winner all wrong.
A season on Europe’s secondary Challenge Tour served the Novoacastrian well, and his dedication to winning, not just competing, has grown enormously.
“What I’ve learnt from a year on the Challenge Tour is when you go and shoot seven under first round, you go out and attack in your second (round) because If you’re not, someone else will be.”
In a sign of his growing belief in his game and his ability to finish off, Windred grabbed his first win as a professional at last year’s Victorian PGA Championship.
It was a victory, Windred noted, as special as it was timely.
“My coach said even though it wasn’t a big, big win, it was my first win, and it was important to win when I did.
“If I had gone another year or a couple of years without having that win, it would have played on my mind.”
“It was great to lift a trophy finally, and I hope there will be many more to come. I’ve got to keep doing the work, sticking to the process of playing golf and not overcomplicating it.”
Although Windred said things this year might not appear all that dissimilar to last, he did admit his maiden victory had sharpened his resolve.
“The game is similar, but the competing factor has grown. I think winning the PGA showed I had been overseas-taking the hit-ups to use an NRL term. It has match-hardened me, and I feel it will help this week.”