So last monday I played in the pre qualifer stage for the British Ladies Open, which is at Turnberry this year! Yes! The pre qualifying stage is always at the Berkshire, having played there….. I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve been, maybe my 5th time, I’ve obviously repressed the unsuccessful times, not a bad way of dealing with it! I qualified to final stage last year, so felt confident of my chances with recent form. With 6 birdies, 1 bogey and a double bogey, I shot 3 under. Pretty solid from start to finish, I had a very encouraging group too, playing with fellow scot Iona (Noni as otherwise known) Stephen and fellow LET pro Whitney Hillier. So that score put me tied for first with two other people, securing my place in final stage qualifying, on the 27th July at Irvine Bogside.
More exciting news! A few days ago it was announced that I gained an invite into the Scottish Ladies Open at Dundonald! It’s a limited field, so was very chuffed when I got word. Am very excited to play in my home country round such a challenging course. It takes place 24-26th July, fingers crossed the weather holds, and if it doesn’t, well I guess “we are used to it” as everyone tells us, to which I always reply, “nope! We just don’t play in this weather!” Haha.
After a thoroughly enjoyable week in Amsterdam, I came home to play at Dalmahoy in the Ladies Tartan Tour event. I had my trusty caddy Paul on the bag. After an average first round of not much happening, the second day was much more exciting! With a 2 hour or so rain delay half way through the round, I was itching to get back out on the course, as it was going well. Finishing up with 3 under for the day, 2 under total, that was enough to win the event by 1 from Sally Watson. The ladies tartan tour is fantastic for us, bridging the gaps in a sparse LET schedule.
Which brings me nicely onto the LET event at the Buckinghamshire, the ISPS Handa open. I’d played the course prior to this event, only a few weeks ago in the US Open Qualifying, however that was also prior to my putting lesson from Coach Beveridge, and this time I was ready for it. With Paul on the bag again, the familiarity is nice. After an opening round of 5 over, which I just felt I had a couple unlucky breaks, with the cut sitting at 1 over, I knew I needed a good second round to play the weekend. I went out with birdies in mind, shot 3 under to make the cut on the mark. Phew. I put it in the bunker at the last, leaving myself a testing up and down for par, and to make the cut, splashed it out to 2 feet. Also, phew. Haha.
Playing over the weekend was great fun, the crowds were fantastic. So supportive, and to top it off, my folks came down on Friday night to watch me play,the first time they’ve seen an LET event. Was great to have them there, especially when the crowds clapped, just as the clap was coming to an end my dad would do this ridiculous high pitched whistle, that I knew could only be him, which made me chuckle every time. With a 3 over 3rd round and a cheeky 5 under last round to finish me in 33rd position. Not a bad result, it’s more ranking points and that the goal.
Paul did a great job these last couple weeks, he has a pair of lucky shorts, the kind of shorts you may only find in a fancy dress shop… Hehe, the worst score I’ve shot with him wearing them is 3 under, looks like he’ll be wearing those a lot over the next couple weeks!!!
Over the course of the week I had some followers, one girl in particular caught my attention, as I walked off the 8th green she came over and said “nice up and down”, so I gave her a wee high five. Thereafter if anything exciting happened she came over as I walked to the next tee, gave her a wee high five. When I came off 18 that day she was there waiting for my autograph,so I rushed over and gave her my ball from the day that I signed. I know it may not seem that big a deal, but this is all new to me, and all adds to the tour life. Her dad sent me a photo he took, the one below, and said how I’d inspired her that day. It’s really heartwarming to think I’d had an effect on someone’s attitude and aspirations. So you heard it here first, Amy Knotts is her name, from Essex area. One to watch for future.
Straight after the round I drove back up the road with my parents, a 10.5 hour journey in total. Long day! But I didn’t care, I had two of my biggest supporters with me, grinning like Cheshire cats the whole way.
The last few weeks for me have been very busy!
Let’s have a wee round up of what’s been happening. First I played in the LET event in Amsterdam, the Deloitte Open. I arrived a couple days earlier than usual due to me playing in the LET Access event in Strasbourg the week prior, and headed straight from one event to the other. Shot total 1 under for Strasbourg and finished in 22nd place, good scoring from the field that week! (Strasbourg for those of you who have heard my story about stepping in rotten compost was the first place I did it last year- yes, there were two of those unfortunate incidents! Poor shoes!) Anyway, back to Amsterdam. The International course. What a course!! Just awesome. From start to finish you had to have an accurate game plan. At no point could you just stand on the tee and hit, you had to pick a precise place on the fairway and a tier on the green – yes, there were plenty to choose from! The course is definitely one of my favourites. I had been very lucky that week that a kind follower of mine on twitter – @belgiangolfer offered his caddying services. What a team we were, he was lovely. He had great caddying experience from other tours, so was a huge help to me that week, much easier having someone on the bag that’s for sure. I played solid the first couple days to make the cut, and to top off my week I got to play with Laura Davies in the last round! I was so excited. Actual legend! She was so encouraging, and how she played the game made me really hope that I’m fit enough and able enough to have a long career like her. She does the whole “not using a tee with driver, just thumping an iron into the ground to create a grass tee”, it’s so cool to watch. Then smashes driver off it and away she goes. Prior to hitting the ball, it takes her a couple seconds to balance the ball on the grass, so I asked her after she hit her tee shot on the 9th hole, “has the ball ever fallen off the grass before you hit it?”, to which she replies “oh yeh, all the time! A few times a month I’ll swing back and it’ll fall off, then I have to start again, but don’t worry, by the time you’re my age, you’ll be doing daft things like that too!” I think that’s the most I’ve ever smiled during a round of golf, even when I mis-hit shots, I still smiled it off. Those are the days you remember the most, if you can get forget the bad days and hold onto those, it makes the game a whole lot easier. So it was my first LET cut made, I played with a legend, on an amazing course, this is one tournament I’ll always remember.
This was one of those “smiling off the mis-hit” moments. They say you recognise a genuine smile by the wrinkles….. This one is 100% real
Yes, that’s right, I went there, to the dark place of terrible puns. Haha.
So last week I played in the LET Access event in Switzerland, at Gams, Werdenberg. Firstly, what a stunning place Switzerland is. Take every stereotype and assumption made about the scenery and multiply it, that’s Switzerland.
The course was in great condition, the rough was beautiful to look at it, with it’s meadow like appearance, hellish to play out of! If you found your ball in the first place that is. There’s a law in Switzerland, I’m unsure of the specifics, but basically to protect certain areas of natural land, they aren’t allowed to cut the rough until July I think. So basically, it’s thick!
I started off the tournament with a reasonable level par, leaving a lot of putts out there. So the second day, I went out with intentions to make a move on the leaderboard, haha, didn’t go to plan either, shooting 1 under. The thing is, if you were able to hit fairways, the course was there for the taking, and that’s what happened to me, only my wee putter just wasn’t willing to pop that ball in the hole (why won’t your go home!- Happy Gilmore reference, haha)
The last day as I was walking to the first tee I was approached by a member offering his caddy services, which was awesome! As it looked like it may rain. What’s a sweet guy, Sandro was his name. I shot a respectable level par last round, especially after losing a ball on 16 par 5 due to my ambitious course management… Stick to the plan next time! I managed to stick my 5 iron on the last to 10 feet, and having the putt slide past the edge for eagle, easy birdie I guess.
So what have I learned from this week….
1. Stick to the game plan, regardless of the situation, you can always hole putts for birdie,you can’t make birdie from the rough there.
2. When it’s a little humid outside, take your waterproofs off, otherwise you will bend down on the first tee and rip the butt seam open….. Yes that happened
3. When you have a 4 minute change over in a train station with heaps golfers at once, you WILL have to run, it will take team work, and the trains don’t wait!
So this week am off to Turkey, today actually, for the Let event. I’m excited, as it’s only my second event, and I hit the ball well last week. So looking forward to seeing what lies ahead.
Also this week was announced the Paul Lawrie Par 3 championship round the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre. Unfortunately scheduling is always tricky, but I’d already committed to playing in an LET Access event in Strasbourg, France. There was a gap in the LET schedule, and is the perfect opportunity for me to get some competitive golf in on a fantastic course. However I wish the best of luck to everyone playing in it and to the golf centre and foundation with organising it. Perhaps next year I’ll get the chance.
The tournament this week runs from Sunday to Wednesday, so keep an eye out as there’s increased coverage on both sky sports and the LET website.
So after a long and agonising wait for my first ever Ladies European Tour event, it finally came around this week, starting on Thursday in the beautiful setting of Agadir, Morocco, on the Golf de L’Ocean course. After qualifying school I’ve been working a lot with my coach Keil Beveridge on my game, I’ve been playing in the winter alliances keeping a scorecard in my hand every week, however, nothing you do can really prepare you for your first LET event. I arrived late on sunday night, after our bus driver who was convinced that he knew where he was going was doing U -turns down stray dog alleys and took 50 minutes to drive us 6 miles to the hotel, and we got there only because one of the other caddies was shouting directions at him. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ve seen that bus driver again this week. Perhaps he was relocated to another position.
When we went to the course it occurred to me that we were getting police escorted to the club, every time we got the shuttle to the club a police motorbike would go in front and stop the traffic, kinda cool. Or perhaps it was to make sure that every driver knew where he was going, but I like to think it was because we were important people, haha.
The course was set up in perfect condition. The first tee being slightly elevated, being overlooked by the grand clubhouse only 15 yards or so away, it’s quite a course opener. The tee shot requiring an accurate wood, with bushes (bundai in Scottish slang) down the left and a few sparse perfectly rounded bushes on the right. The tenth tee start was a fairly challenging shot too, requiring a wood down the middle with the spectator ropes lining the edge of play. The more I played the course the more it suited my eye though, the more I saw how holes should be played, how greens lie and how to approach them.
The first round I had the pleasure of playing with an established Ladies European Tour player Kylie Walker, a fellow scot. Kylie had 2 wins on LET last year, so I was more than pleased when I saw the draw. I enjoyed my first round, but nerves got the better of me in the first 6 holes or so, and by that point I was already a good few over par, playing a fairly normal back nine to finish my round on 5 over. My second round I played much better, gave myself several birdie chances, just didn’t hole many, shooting a level par round. I missed the cut by two shots in the end. I had a lovely local caddy, and though our conversations were limited I felt we got on well. For some reason he kept speaking to me in German, thinking he was speaking English, and when I spoke back to him in German, he didn’t understand, haha, we got by with our Germenglish.
I am disappointed that my first outing on LET ended in practicing over the weekend, however this is the first of many events this year, and my first event since qualifying school in December. I’m really looking forward to my next LET event which will be Turkey in May.
Next on the schedule for me is the Ladies Tartan Tour next week at Murcar Golf Links, followed by the next event at Montrose. Where I am priviledged to have top caddy Paul MacMichael on the bag. These are bringing in some great fields of players, probably our strongest yet, it’s fantastic for the tour, and Scottish Ladies Golf.
I shall finish off with a few things I learned from this week:
1. When free practice time (no sign up sheet, just turn up and play) is between 8-8.45am, don’t turn up at 8.30 and expect to play, as you can’t, as it’s so busy and then have to wait atleast 2 hours til the next available time – Rookie Error
2. When you have a caddy with a fairly common name, say… Mohammad, and he has gone AWOL and you can’t find him before you tee off because they don’t know which Mohammad you are requiring, make sure you get a full name / nickname, in this case … ” ahhh yes, you need ‘Baby Mohammad’” – Rookie Error
3. When you have earned your right to be somewhere, believe and trust that you’re meant to be there. It took me a few days to realise this, in fact almost a week. However, now I can go into the next tournament not questioning my ability, or potential, but knowing that I already have ability and potential, and with more hard work fuelled by my experience this week, this is going to be an exciting year.
I’ve been waiting so long for this first week to happen, and now that it’s done, I can just play.
See photo above: My poor pins were bitten to bits by Mosquitos, hence the lumpy legs!
So today I am flying off to Alicante for the LET Rookie Orientation. Am flying out a day earlier so I can take advantage of the fantastic facilities at which we will be based for the next few days. Looking forward to some decent weather! Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the ” fresh” feel to my practice, but recently when I turned up to the range and put on my shoes that weren’t entirely dry from the day before, my feet froze. Literally couldn’t walk on my toes. So, this will be a nice change.
I suppose I’d better talk about my successful venture to Qualifying School in Morocco. Having achieved a Full card for the European Tour! Played over the Samanah and Al Maaden courses in Marrakech, it was a gruelling 5 days of tournament. If you want to see pressure in a tournament, go to tour school, as it’s the event that can make and break people. This was my 3rd attempt at it, failing to reach the final stage previous times. However this year due to my 12th place ranking on the LET Access tour I missed out the first stage and went straight to final.
Keil was on the bag this week, playing the role of supporter, caddy, motivator, morale booster, level header, cheerleader….. Have I missed anything?! He’s my coach. Having coached me now for 3 years, I trust him with game completely. We’d been doing a lot of on course preparation prior to this.
Round one was a challenging day for me. I don’t know what happened, you know those moments when you get from A to B and don’t actually know how you got there? That’s what it felt like, before I knew it I was signing my card for a 7 over par, 79, to put me in 109th place after day 1. Disappointed was an understatement.
So, after a lot of pep talks with coach and myself, the best way to look at it now, was that I am the chaser, as opposed to the one being chased. I could only improve. The courses suited my game, they were fairly long, wide, and I’d putted solidly all season. All I had to do was give myself the chance to chip away at the mountain I’d placed in front of me.
Round 2 I shot 1 over, round 3 I shot level par. Round 4 I shot 2 under… Having left myself a 5 footer on the last, which I knew I had to hole to get through to the last day! Talk about a clutch moment! And there it was! I scraped through to the top 60, to the final day, after being 109th on day 1.
The momentum was with me. Every day I’d improved my score, so the goal for the final day was to do the same.
Round 5. I got off to a solid start, made a birdie early on, then made a run of 4 birdies (I teed off on 10 for those who followed my scoring) on 18,1,2,3. Holing a range of tap in to 50 footer. Leaving myself an awful shot in to the last green to a tight pin, I left myself a 40 footer for a two putt par for a round of 5 under.
Keil was delighted, giving me the most pumped up hug you’ve ever seen! I walked round to the clubhouse to meet Heather Macrae, she peeped her head round the corner asking “what did you have on the last?!” When I replied with par, told me I’d made it. Made it?! That wasn’t even on my mind, I just wanted to climb up as high as I could. But to make top 30?! And gain a Full status on the European Tour! Very cool!
5 under is the best score I’ve had as a pro, and to do on it on the last day, in the most important situation of my golfing career to date, is exciting to say the least! I mean you can’t write that stuff!
My schedule starts in March, with the first event being Morocco.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my coach Keil Beveridge, based at Kippie Lodge Sports and Country Club, Aberdeen. He’s always had faith in me, and he always tells me what I need to hear. The amount of input in my game he has is perfect and it’s a balanced two-way coach to pupil effort. He’s going through his PGA tutor training, so as he develops as a coach, I develop as a player.
My sponsors have been vital to my success this last couple years. I would like to thank Saltire Energy, the Paul Lawrie Foundation, Dynamic Edge and Motion Software.
I would also like to thank David Lloyd, Aberdeen. They’ve been kind enough to continue their support for me, and recently assisted me with a Personal Trainer, Ben Smith. We are making brilliant progress, the aim for this season……to fit into my shorts! Haha. We are doing a lot of power based exercises, and combining that with a high protein diet, my shape is changing already.
And not to forget, my parents. All the FaceTime calls, all the texts, emails and communication we have when I’m away is so supportive. Long may it continue!
LET here I come!
I still have some sponsorship packages available. Contact me via my Contact page for more information.
Well my season on the Ladies European Tour Access Series and the Ladies Tartan Tour has drawn to an end, and what a year it’s been.
Starting with the LETAS tour. I set out this year ideally to achieve top 5 so I would gain automatic entry to the European tour, however, I’m pleased with finishing 12th in the Order of Merit, gaining me entry straight through to final stage qualifying for European Tour, held in Morocco in December. I knew I needed a few good finishes top make it to the top 5. I gave myself the opportunities, that’s for sure, in my last 3 tournaments finishing 5th, 7th and 11th. The difference in my game this season has improved vastly on last years performance. I really feel I’ve made my mark at this level. Now to take on qualifying school! I’ll be practicing mostly at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre and playing in the North East Alliance in preparation for it in December.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paul MacMichael for his caddying services this season. He has been fantastic. He’s based down at Gleneagles, so if you’re ever down there, request him. Very professional, forward thinking, optimistic and not a bad laugh either! Haha. Charlotte Ellis quoting : “wow, he’s better than most the caddies on tour”. Why yes Charlotte I believe he is! Below is a picture of us, I think it may just be the camera angle that suggests I’m tall, as opposed to him being of the short variety. Haha.
Now onto the Ladies Tartan Tour! My goal for this year was to win the order of a merit, with the prize being that you gain your flights and accommodation paid for LET Qualifying School. After winning one event, joint winner in another, a second, and two 5th finishes, I won the Order of Merit. The fields weren’t quite as big as anticipated this year, but the quality of the fields were stronger, with a good few LET players playing regularly. Which is good for the growth of the tour, and the exposure it gains with these top players competing.
So now into my winters preparation, and also a bit of fitness is needed. So I’ll be attending David Lloyd Gym in aberdeen, which I love.
Thanks to my beautiful clothing sponsor Nivo , they have a lot of gorgeous golf clothing for women, and now I get to wear the winter gear. I do love a Gilet!
My sponsors make it all the easier to go out and play the game I love.
I appreciate the support.
So it’s been a couple weeks since my last blog. Previously I blogged that I had a mad scramble to Czech Republic for the next LET access event. Which I did! After a couple flights on the Tuesday morning, arriving and meeting my parents at the airport, then straight to the course for my practice. Talk about a hectic day. However it worked in my favour, as there had been some thunder storms forecast for that day, and most of the players didn’t get the chance to play anyway til the afternoon. I got off to a solid start in round 1, shooting level par. I was frustrated as I had many birdie opportunities, but couldn’t convert enough. Again in round 2, I was 4 under at one point, but finishing 1 under was still a good days work, even though I left a lot out there. The last day I ended up shooting 2 over, putting me in tied for 23rd spot. Not ideal, but giving me more ranking points.
In Belgium, i had a great time. I enjoyed the course, but again, didn’t manage to convert a lot of my birdie chances. Staying patient is key to these tournaments. Shooting 3 under first round, 2 over second round and finishing up with a 6 over last round, put me 14th position. I guess the heat got the best of me. Reaching temperatures of 32 degrees! On a golf course, that is tree lined, so not much room for wind and ventilation, for a girl from Scotland…… Is pretty hot! Haha. The course was in excellent condition, and was my first trip to Belgium. All in all good experience. Just need to put in a couple more solid final rounds in tournaments, and it will put me one step closer to my goal for this year.
Next up, I’m playing in the Ladies Tartan Tour Event at Cardrona. Starting on Friday. Looking forward to it, as haven’t played there since my Uni days.
So it’s been a wee while since my last blog. Let’s catch up on what’s been happening.
I guess I need to go back to the Ladies Tartan Tour event at Dundonald Links, on 8-9th June. The course was playing long but in fantastic condition. I ended up joint 1st with Heather MacRae. Both finishing on 3 over par. Which is my second Ladies Tartan Tour win, pretty exciting season so far.
Next was the Dinard Open on the Ladies European Tour Access series in France. The course was brilliant. I played it last year in March but the tournament was cut to 36 holes due to the wind. So it was nice to play it in June when it was a real holiday destination, and trust me, if you get the chance to go there- please do! It’s stunning. After a strong first day of 1 under 68, dropped back a fair few places with rounds of 75, 74. Finishing tied 35th. Not my best result, but it’s always another cut made, and more points gained. Currently lying 16th in the order of merit for this season.
Fast forwarding to Pre qualifying for the british. Down at the Berkshire. This is my 5th attempt at that course. 5th time lucky- isn’t that the well known saying?! Haha. Shot 2 under, having 2 eagles on my card helped. Qualifying comfortably as level par progressed through to final qualifying. Which was today! Playing on Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club, adjacent to Royal Birkdale. What a challenging track! Ended up shooting 3 over today. 2 under qualified. Started off great, birdie, birdie start. Been struggling a bit recently with my tempo, and never really got a rhythm going. Had a fantastic caddy though, many thanks to Paul MacMichael from Gleneagles. We were a good team. If you’re ever playing at Gleneagles, ask for Paul.
So now I have a mad scramble to Czech Republic for my next event, starting Wednesday on the LETAS tour. My folks have ventured out for this event, first time they’ve ever seen me play a LETAS event.
So that’s my golf round up.
Also a special mention to Alford Academy. I went back to my old school to do a speech at the Leavers Ceremony. I was treated like royalty, and had a fabulous day. Always nice going back to your roots.
The next blog won’t be so delayed…… I promise!
One more thing! In my speech to the promising and ambitious pupils of Alford Academy I brought up the subject of “Talent”. I believe there is no such thing as Talent. Think of how many times you’ve doubted yourself and restricted your ambitions due to thinking you have a lack of talent. If you take Talent completely out of the equation….. I mean, like it never existed. Then all you had to do to achieve something was work hard at it…… Suddenly anything seems possible. Use this to your advantage…. Use this analogy to gain the edge over others.
Pictured below is me post- speech at the Leavers Ceremony and at the scenic Dinard Golf Club.
This last week I had the Kristianstad Ladies Open, in Sweden on the Ladies European Tour Access Series
I love the course, I played this event last year and it was my first cut that I made on this tour, so I have good memories here. The first day I played very solid, having only one bogey, a birdie and an eagle. Leading after the first round by two shots, was pleased with my performance. The second day, what a day it was! Started a bit rocky, being 6 over after 7 holes! Oocha! From then on I had 4 birdies, to finish 2 over. Which took some mental strength, believe me. So going into the last day I was sitting 3rd. Being in this position was a new experience for me, and I’ve been working on performing in my last round, as that’s what let me down last year. I played solid, dropped a few shots, holed a few birdie putts, finishing level par for my round. Finishing tied 3rd place. My highest finish to date. The support in the crowd for the tournament was great, and the event ran extremely smoothly. Thanks to both the LETAS and Nordea Tours for a fantastic week.
This week we continue the tour of Sweden and are in Sölvesborg, for the Sölvesborg open hosted by Fanny Sunesson, staying in the most amazing Guest house with the funniest Swedish couple! Carina and Martin Centrén. Being treated like royalty this week. Two very lucky scots! (sharing with Jane Turner again this week- who I’d like to give a congrats to for making her first cut last week!)
If I stumble upon any more official photos I’ll pop these up too! But for now, here’s Janes great photography skills. Also, apologies you can’t see my face, the sun was out in force!