I’m sure, at least I hope, I’m not alone when I say that I can count on one hand, the number of times I’ve played a competitive round of golf where every element of my game has truly functioned well.

If I’m straight from the tee, I’ll be pulling my short irons. If my short irons are solid, my driver will be wilder than a wild bear rudely woken from hibernation to find a group of weasels ransacking his cave.

Generally there will be two or three parts of my game not quite on song, but yesterday in the first round of the Alliance Championship there was just one. Unfortunately it was a fairly crucial ‘one’ – putting.

My first drive at Buckpool was a belter, straight down the middle, and long. My approach shot was reasonable too, landing about 25 feet from the pin. I rolled up a putt to a foot from the hole and all seemed fine. Alarm bells began ringing, however, when I went to tap in for par, made a horribly tentative prod at it and the ball just narrowly crept in on the right edge – falling backwards into the cup with its dying motion.

My fears quickly turned to reality as three-putt followed three-putt and a seemingly endless stream of three-footers rolled agonisingly past the hole. I played some of the best golf I’ve produced in a while, but just couldn’t convert. I found both par-5s in two and three-putted both for par. I drove the 294 yard 17th and three-putted that for par. The first putt I holed from outside a couple of feet came, typically, on the 18th. Never has a round of four over par included so much good golf and so many putts.

One major positive I took from Buckpool was the fact we were playing on the full course – from the medal tees and with no mats on the fairway. This is a seminal moment in my 2009 season – the first full competitive round (hopefully of many.)

As I look out of the window I can see crocuses flowering and daffodil’s preparing to unfurl. It’s making me feel a lot less depressed by yesterday’s missed opportunities.

Yes, by the end of this season I’m going to be able to use both hands when counting the number of rounds I’ve played where every part of my game has clicked.