Professional female golfers were either busy smashing records or making history for themselves last weekend. Did you see that American Alison Lee scored an incredible -29 (yes, you read that correctly!) to take the Ladies European Tour Aramco Team Series title in Riyadh, eight shots clear of Spain’s Carlota Ciganda? Shout out to England’s Charley Hull (-18) and Bronte Law (-17) who finished in third and fourth place respectively, although these usual winning scores pale into insignificance!
Meanwhile, at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia, Celine Boutier beat Atthaya Thitikul in an epic nine-hole playoff, the joint-second-longest sudden-death finale in LPGA history. Most of us have played in Club knockouts or team matches when you trundle off down the 19th and tension goes up a notch – you’ve come all this way and don’t want to lose it now! I can only imagine the relief for Celine when she sunk a birdie putt for the win. She certainly won’t forget 2023 in a hurry, she’s not only now a Major champion but has also become the first player to win four tournaments this year.
A couple of weeks ago, you might have read Zoe North’s account of St Andrews in another Surprizeshop newsletter, in which she describes it as her happy place and I get it, there’s something really magical about this town. This might sound cheesy but I honestly feel goosebumps every time I visit this iconic golfing venue.
So, although I haven’t broken any records or made history recently, on Monday I played the Old Course with three Golf Monthly colleagues. For myself and two others, it was our first time, so we were buzzing to tread in the footsteps of all the greats that have played there.
As St Andrews is a tourist attraction, there are always a few people milling around. I don’t like an audience on the first tee at the best of times, so thank Goodness I made good contact and hit a decent drive. To be fair, it is one of the widest fairways in golf, so you can get away with a less-than-perfect shot and it will still run.
I won't bore you with a detailed account of my entire round, but if you ever get the chance to play this famous course - do it. I realise it’s not easy and I was very lucky, but at least the public ballot that is drawn two days ahead of play gives everyone a chance to not just enjoy the course, but also to embrace all the emotions associated with this legendary venue. That includes an obligatory picture standing on the Swilken Bridge.
One thing to add, I wish I’d perfected my bunker shots beforehand – I have so many great memories from this round, but those deep bunkers are what nightmares are made of! Let’s just say, on numerous occasions, I threw my ball out of a bunker onto the fairway, I couldn’t take it anymore! Oh well, that’s why we all love and hate this game at the same time ….
Image courtesy of Ladies European Tour