The European swing is always one of my favourite times of the year.
I started it off this year by playing the Aramco Team Series Sotogrande, which is a Ladies European Tour event in Spain. The format was a little different: we played in a team event and an individual event at the same time. There were 36 captains for the week, who were decided in order of their world rankings.
As a captain you get to pick one fellow pro in the field, the other pro was a random pick and then you get paired with an amateur too. I picked my fellow South African and world amateur teammate Stacy Bregman, with our third pro being Hayley Davis from the UK along with an amateur from Spain. The team format was the best two scores to count on each hole out of the four players.
It was great fun to be part of a team again, but you also had to focus on your own play for the individual tournament. I played some great golf that week, finishing on 10 under and in second place in the individual competition but it was all about the team!
Hayley made plenty of birdies during the three days and Stacy made a clutch chip-in on the 54th hole to get us into a playoff. Being captain, I was nominated to play against the other captain, Linnea Strom who also plays on the LPGA Tour. We went down 18 and after she found the greenside bunker and failed to make up and down, I had a four-footer to win it for the team. It was such an awesome feeling to win again and even better to do it for the team.
After Spain we headed to Scotland for two weeks of links golf. The Ladies Scottish Open is a co-sanctioned tournament by the LPGA and Ladies European Tours, staged at Dumbarnie Links. I played well from Thursday to Saturday in the windy conditions. I always seem to thrive in the wind.
I was lying fourth going into the last round, but the conditions were much calmer on the Sunday which I was disappointed to see. I hit the ball beautifully but unfortunately didn’t putt as well and only managed to shoot level-par 72 and finished 12th.
Now, saving the best event for last! Carnoustie was the venue for this year’s AIG Women’s Open. It’s my favourite tournament of the year. The course was in fantastic condition and I felt confident going into the week. We had windy conditions for the practice rounds but it was beautiful and calm for the tournament.
The course played so differently and you had to adjust the gameplan.
I had never hit so many fairway woods off tee boxes before to keep everything short of the bunkers. The No 1 rule in links golf is stay out of the fairway bunkers. I shot one over in the first round, but I think I had played a little too conservatively.
In the second round I decided to be a little more aggressive and hit more drivers off tee boxes. It paid off because I had shorter irons in but didn’t hit my irons close enough to make birdies.
The last three holes are always tough and play long. Unfortunately I finished bogey, bogey to miss the cut by two shots. I was very disappointed after the way I had been playing going into the tournament, but overall it had been a good few weeks of golf.
– This article first appeared in the October 2021 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!