A win, 3 missed cuts, and the Coronavirus
I got back from South Africa last Thursday and it was the quietest I have ever seen Edinburgh Airport! Which would be great if it wasn’t due to the coronavirus pandemic. I was slightly apprehensive about travelling home but fingers crossed I haven’t caught anything and my flights went ahead as normal, so it was a relatively smooth experience. South Africa is only just starting to have cases of the virus, so during my time I felt as though I was escaping all the panic and mayhem that was happening back home.
I started my trip in Johannesburg 4 weeks ago, and I was travelling with two girls from the UK and we were all getting put up by a lovely host family at Ebotse Links. It was so exciting to be out competing again on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, where I had started my professional career almost exactly a year ago. After a few days adjusting to the heat and altitude I played my first competition, over the brand new 18 hole par 3 course at Serengeti Estates. Having never played a par 3 tournament before, it was a great new concept and lots of fun. It was also a pro am team event, where we played as team of two pros and two amateurs. After the two rounds we finished tied for the lead, and needed to play-off for first and second place. It was exciting to be involved in a play-off with a fair sized crowd watching, and I admittedly felt pretty nervous! Luckily for me, my partner holed a great putt on the 4th extra hole to crown us the Canon Serengeti Par 3 Challenge winners! It was a fantastic way to start my trip, and I finished in 11th place individually.
After that I had two more events in Johannesburg, the first was at Soweto Country Club. Soweto is one of the largest township areas in the city, and the golf course was recently upgraded and refurbished by the city. The course proved difficult due to the thick rough and bouncy greens and unfortunately I missed the cut by 2 shots. It was disappointing for me but I was optimistic about my golf by the following week at Glendower Country Club. I had a solid first round of 73 but after getting off to a bad start in round 2, I was battling to make the cut again. I dropped a couple shots at the end of the round and missed it for the second week in a row. I felt like my golf wasn’t that far away as I was striking the ball well, but my putter was costing me.
The tour then moved to Cape Town for the final event, the South African Women’s Open which is also a Ladies European Tour event. The field was strong with all the regular tour players over for it. My boyfriend also came over to caddy for me… and to see all that Cape Town offers! I felt a lot more comfortable in this environment than the previous year but there are fine lines in sport and again I missed the cut by 2 shots. I felt a bit deflated to finish my trip on a disappointing note, but I know I’ll come back stronger, I just have to keep working hard.
I had a few days to explore Cape Town before flying home, and it really is a beautiful city and part of the world. We went to Cape Point (the most southerly part of Africa), saw the penguins on boulders beach, went on a wine tour, explored the V&A waterfront and relaxed on the beach at Camps Bay. We had been planning to go up Table Mountain and hike Lion’s Head but there was a fire that broke out on Lion’s Head and the mountain was shut for the next few days whilst they tried to put it out, before eventually being closed due to coronavirus!
Now that I’m home, like everyone else I’m not sure what lies ahead. My next few events have been postponed until later in the year so at the moment the earliest I will be competing is May. However, I think it is highly likely that those events will also be cancelled or rearranged. I plan to use this time to rest my elbow injury which has been lingering since October, so I will be limiting my practice to short game over the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed we know more soon, and I hope everyone stays as healthy as possible!