Welsh amateurs make the most of chance to mix with the best
A group of the best amateur ladies in Wales enjoyed the chance to test themselves against the top golf professionals in Britain through the Rose Series.
The last Rose Series event before the finals included five players in the Wales Golf ladies squad, getting the chance to rub shoulders and compete with Major winners and some of the top professionals in the UK.
The event was won by former Ladies British Open champion Georgia Hall, Solheim Cup star Charley Hull was tied fourth alongside Welsh professional Becky Morgan.
Katherine O’Connor was the highest finishing Welsh amateur with an excellent tied 12th. Equally impressive was 17-year-old Vale Resort player Darcey Harry who was one shot further back tied 16th.
Newport’s Jordan Ryan, Newport (Pembs) Carys Worby and Wrexham’s Lea-Anne Bramwell all finished tied 34th in the 60 strong field.
“It was great fun, really nice to see the levels of the professionals and amateurs,” said Harry.
“The atmosphere was completely different to an amateur event, while it was an amazing course – the greens were lightning fast.
“I played really well, it was nice getting back ahead of an exciting August with the Welsh Faldo Series on my home course at the Vale, the English Women’s and British Ladies.
“I had a break from golf during lockdown, I worked hard in the gym and on school work, and I have been playing so much better since coming back.
“This is really good for my confidence and I am looking forward to the next few weeks.”
O’Connor was delighted to be competing up at the top of the field, enjoying the chance to play on the only Seve Ballesteros designed course in England.
“It went really well,” said O’Connor, whose day job is working for the European Tour. “I prepared pretty well ahead of what was my first proper event since lockdown, but it was amazing to get the opportunity.
“I was really pleased comparing my game to the pros, after working really hard on my game in lockdown.
“It was nice to play with pros on an unbelievable course, see what they do, see how they practice, and to know that what I am doing is very similar.
“I am happy as an amateur working in golf, but I want to be the best amateur I can be and play at the top level. This experience will hopefully help me going into the amateur events coming up at the end of the summer.”
Worby, aged 17, who is heading to college in Alabama in 2021, said, “It was really inspirational, it shows you can get to that level if you really want it.
“I played in the AIG Ladies British Open qualifier last year, but none of the big names were there because they had already qualified.
“It was insane to see Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Meghan MacLaren just walking around and doing their business. It was a great experience and I was happy with how I played, even though I didn’t finish well.
“What Justin Rose and his wife have done with these events has been a godsend, giving people something to practice for, and it is the same for us amateurs. It was nice to be out with a scorecard in your hand.
“This is my last junior year so it has been very disappointing to miss my last girls Home Internationals, last Europeans and so on. At least there are some big events in August for me to end my junior tournaments.”
Newport’s Jordan Ryan was also able to take a huge amount from the experience. “I was on the putting green with Dame Laura Davies and thinking, this isn’t the sort of thing that happens every day,” admitted the 22-year-old.
“It has been a summer where everything is on the backburner, like everyone else, so this was a great experience.
“I played with two professionals and was able to see how my game compares with that standard. The only area I struggled was the pace of the putts because the greens were really fast.
“I was watching their course management, the way they attacked pins and went for par fives, so I learned from that.
“I was planning to turn professional at the end of the year and go to Q-School in January, but everything is on hold at the moment.
“My last event was the Spanish Amateur in March, so it was nice to get back into a competitive round of golf after so much time hitting the ball into a net in the garden.”
Wrexham’s Lea-Anne Bramwell also enjoyed the opportunity to rub shoulders with the professionals, helping her to prepare for the amateur events which are re-starting.
“It was a great experience and the course was unbelievable,” said the 20-year-old. “It was nice to play in such a big competition, warming up with the likes of Laura Davis and Charlie Hull.
“Obviously it has not been a great summer for everybody, so it is nice to be playing again with some big amateur events coming up.
“I was hoping to go to Q School (Ladies European Tour qualifying) this winter for experience with a view to turning professional in a couple of years.
“This has knocked me back by about 12 months and that target has probable been put back to 2023 now, but I will keep doing what I am doing and working hard.”
There were three other Welsh professionals in action at The Shire, Becky Brewerton finishing tied 30th, Chloe Williams tied 34th and Hannah Bowen tied 43rd.