Date: 20th April 2013
I was in two minds about going all the way to South Africa. Although I've been making some good progress with swing alterations, I felt it was too much of an expense to risk going. So rather than missing out on tournament play altogether, I decided I would enter the Roehampton Gold Cup. I played at Roehampton last year and came 2nd, it was my first paycheck as a pro. I like the course and it was a good opportunity to earn some pocket money and see where my game was at.
On Friday I met up with Charlotte Wild and Nat Lowe, a couple of good friends of mine for a practice round. To our astonishment, I started with 5 birdies! I don't think I've ever had a run like that, and it wasn't the day to be making a load of birdies! You can stop that right away, I told myself. It must have been the delight of putting on decent greens. The greenstaff had done a wonderful job at preparing them, I believe they were running at 11 on the stimp. It was a real pleasure to see the ball rolling on the line you hit it.
Saturday morning and I woke to a bright blue sky and sunshine. Which was more than they had in South Africa, apparently play had to be abandoned due to the amount of rain. The poor organisers! I was paired with Holly Aitchison and Rachel Drummond, another couple of good friends of mine. The golf wasn't sparkling but we had an entertaining day. Due to the miserable weather in the weeks leading up to the event, they had to have winter rules in place. This was great if you were on the fairways and greens, but if you weren't you couldn't guarantee a good lie, which made life very difficult.
I should mention that my brother Phil had promised to caddy for me. He was having to cycle 14miles to reach me, but there was no sign of him, and I was teeing off in 5 minutes. I got a message when I was on the 3rd hole to say he was running a bit late and would see me for round 2. Well, I was a little miffed as I was carrying my bag; thank heavens I hadn't brought my Tour Bag! I carded a 75 (+3) and rushed in for lunch, we had about 10mins before the afternoon tee off; talk about indigestion. I'm not used to this 36 holes business!
Still no sign of my brother. I wasn't going to carry again so I quickly grabbed a pull trolley and off we went for round 2. I had just made a birdie on the Par 5 2nd, when a scruffy figure appeared on the horizon. Could it be my long lost brother?! It was.
"Sod off!" I said with a smile, I couldn't believe he could be such a let down. Nevertheless it was lovely to see him.
I played similarly to the morning round. I had a few more birdies, but threw in a couple of yucky doubles. I finished with another 75. I didn't have my hopes up. I thought I'd thrown away any chance of getting into the prizes.
To my complete surprise, I was leading by about 3 shots! "That can't be right." I said. We sat down for some tea and checked the scores again. "You've won!" said Phil. I shook my head with disbelief. I was so pleased. I've always wanted to get my name on this beautiful trophy, and now I have. My first win as a pro too. A good days work and if my brother thinks he's getting a percentage of the winnings, he's got another thing coming...