I have now been on the “road” for seven weeks, the first three weeks were in California where I played in the San Diego Junior Masters at the Sycuan Golf resort which is a beautiful mountain resort about 20 miles north of San Diego in the town of El Cajon. The boys and girls tournaments were held simultaneously with the under 18 girls division played on 6100 yard Oak Glen Course. The tournament attracted the best players from all over the world and I was quite pleased to have hit 73, 73, 73 over the three days to secure 4th place in a field of 60 girls. This was my first ever tournament in America and was awarded World Amateur Ranking points, the tournament was great preparation the Callaway Junior Masters on the North Course at Torrey Pines the following week. Torrey Pines was a magnificent course nestling alongside the Pacific Ocean with some really dramatic holes especially the par three hole 6.
After a promising start on day one of the Callaway World Championship, some loss of from with the swing resulted on some wayward shots off the tee on day 2 and 3 and disappointedly missed the cut. Putting this setback aside we headed inland to the La Quinta Resort where the weather hit 107 deg with an equally stifling humidity reminding me of Abu Dhabi in mid summer; fortunately we were allowed carts to play the Odyssey World Championship. I was pleased to make amends from the disappointment at Torrey Pines and managed to secure a 5th place on the magnificent Jack Nicklaus Championship Course. Straight after the presentation ceremony it was a dash to San Diego Airport to catch the return flight to London.
Overall my experience in California was a positive one and a great opportunity to play against girls from all over the world, many of whom are amongst the best amateurs in the world, it was an opportunity to re-examine parts of my game which need improving.
The second three weeks began in Somerset England with the English Girls Open at Oake Manor Golf Club, a really hilly course with some magnificent challenging holes in very windy conditions, a few careless shots here and there and you could quite easily add unnecessary shots, fortunately I was not too badly punished and managed scores of 77, 73 to make the cut and then hit 77 and 75 on the last day despite losing may playing partner who tried to continue playing with a broken toe, nature convinced her otherwise, so I had to continue with a marker before being paired up for the final round to finish 16th in the field of 120 girls.
Mannings Heath in Horsham was a superb hilly course which rewarded strategic course management, in the English Ladies Open my 20 seconds of madness on hole 18 on day 1 and over cautiousness on the same hole on day 2 slapped on 8 strokes onto my 2 day collective aggregate to destroy hours of carefully crafted hard work…………I suppose you never stop learning, but it was still upsetting to miss the cut.
My final leg of the journey, has brought us to Prestwick Scotland , the original home of the British Open where the first ever Men’s Open was played in 1860. Incidentally Tom Morris and his son won at Prestwick Links many times, the very same Tom Morris whose statue adorns the entrance of my home club Yas Links in Abu Dhabi, to my surprise many of those I met here have played Yas Links………….What a small world !
I was advised to seek out a good caddy to navigate Prestwick Links, and what great advice that has been, it has been a pleasure to discover the quirky crooks and crannies of the course with Billy…”Aim the ball to the bush left side of the fairway and you will end up on the green twenty yards right “, this just happened again and again, I started to think Billy was a magician. It was the same for Julienne Soo my Australian playing partner who is ranked 90th in the world rankings, she has another magician on the bag disguised as a “Caddy”! Alas the joys of Links Golf. I have another practice round before British Ladies Open Strokeplay Tournament which starts on Wednesday and top 36 will make the cut to play two rounds on Friday. It is ironic that the British Ladies Open is being held in perhaps one of the last clubs which exclude Women from holding membership; perhaps the organizers the Ladies Golf Union have a hidden card up their sleeve or just a simple message that we have entered the 21st century!
Bye for now…………Sana on the breezy fairways of Prestwick Old Links Course Scotland