Date: Feb 12th - 17th 2013
Sahra and I left Christchurch very early Monday morning, flying via Melbourne and eventually landing in Canberra at lunchtime. We had qualifying the following day at Federal GC for the Women's Australian Open so we headed straight there to walk the course. It had already been a long day, so playing it wasn't really an option. We arrived to find that they had run out of course planners, so it was important to make some good notes and map the greens; Jake had his work cut out! By the time we got back to our hotel it had already been a 16hr day, we were exhausted. I was in bed by 9pm!
I was first out at 8 o'clock, so I hoped to make the most of the fresh greens. There were 55 in the field and only 4 qualifying spots. I'd already decided that I had nothing to lose, so I went out with the attitude that I didn't want to leave anything out there. I wasn't the most consistent off the tee that day, but my irons were solid and I holed some good putts.
I was -3 with 3 to play. Unfortunately I bogeyed 16 and 17, I knew that if I was to have any chance of qualifying, I needed 1 more birdie. Thankfully I found a good swing, hit my 7i to 2ft and it was just a matter of waiting for 2 hours to find out if 70 was good enough. It was! I couldn't believe it! I was playing in my first LPGA co-sanctioned event against the best in the world. Wow!
My day didn't end there. Tuesday was the last day of practice at the Championship course, so Pamela Pretswell (another qualifier) and myself were whisked off to Royal Canberra. What a stunning place, a real LPGA course; manicured, tight and long. I loved it, it really suited my eye. They had some interesting wildlife too, Kangaroos, Cockatoo's (noisy buggers they are!), and colourful Parrots!
It had been another long day, I can't remember the last time I played 36 holes in one day. I know Jake (my caddy) was feeling it, especially carrying a 20kg Tour bag! I was looking forward to my bed, that was for sure.
Wednesday was Pro-Am day, so after a good nights sleep I had time to work a little more on my game. I found myself on the range with the likes of Yani Tseng, Stacy Lewis and Jiyai Shin. It was quite a surreal moment for me, the realisation that I'd earned my place to be competing with these girls. Definitely one of the highlights of my career so far.
The first round was great fun, fully enjoying the experience and soaking up the surroundings. I had my loyal fan club drive down to watch me again, Gina and Dixie followed me round, it was fantastic. I drove the ball beautifully all day, long and straight. Occasionally hitting it 270y plus! I was disappointed to finish over par, as I felt I'd played a lot better than that.
The scores were very good so if I wanted to be here at the weekend I needed to be under par for round 2. It wasn't until I 3 putted the 7th that I got the bit between my teeth. I walked to the Par 3 8th hole with a look that could kill. I told myself that nothing but birdies would do from now on; I made a 2 and never looked back. I made 3 more birdies, finished -3 for the day and -1 for the tournament. I was so pleased, I'd given myself the best chance. Now another waiting game, it was going to be close. At 8pm I finally got the news I'd been waiting for, I'd made the cut! The most extraordinary feeling, I was ecstatic. What an opportunity!
Well my excitement soon turned to heartache. I had one of the most frustrating days on the golf course, nothing seemed to go right. I found numerous bunkers, had no rhythm and I was beside myself. It was tough to take. I had some lunch then went back to the range, tomorrow was another day.
My confidence had been knocked slightly but I was determined to finish on a positive note and enjoy my final round. I closed off with a level par 73. Much better.
It was a long and eventful week, of which I learned a great deal. Just to be involved in such a prestigious event has been truly inspirational. It's been a huge boost to my confidence and an experience which will stand me in good stead for the future.
Our last day of the trip was spent going round Sydney, not a bad place to kill some time before flying home.