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THE 4744KM ROADTRIP
After I played most of this summer in America, I was looking forward to 3 tournaments in a row on the Ladies European Tour. I always enjoy playing there, I know most courses from previous years and the atmosphere among the players and staff is always very relaxed.
Normally I always book my flights quite far ahead, but after I had placed myself for Evian after the British Open (the last major this year) I decided to change my plans to come back to Europe from America and play these 3 tournaments in Europe. It was a bit last minute for me to book flights and thanks to my great sponsor Audi I thought it was a fun plan to drive to those tournaments. That’s what I thought…
After another great sponsor day on September 3 of Audi at the annual Audi Quattro Cup on the Lage Vuursche I got in the car for the first part of my European road trip. 1188km to Golf du Medoc in Bordeaux. The tournament was moved to a different course I did not know but soon I got a good feeling for the course, my game felt good and I was really looking forward to the tournament.
After rounds of 69 and 67 (-6) total I went into the weekend as T4 and 5 strokes. I expected a good weekend from myself and that I would participate for the victory. Unfortunately, that weekend did not work out at all and I fell back to 30th with scores of 73 and 74.
You can safely say that I was very disappointed. I felt that my game was getting better and better, but my approaches the greens were just not good enough this weekend and I was not happy with that at all.
After 760km in not the best good mood I arrived in Evian. Last year I played this major for the first time and played incredibly poorly. The course is very difficult. The rough is high and the greens are extremely slopey and fast. I still had a feeling about how badly I played here last year. But after 3 very relaxed practice days together with Nicole (Broch Larsen from Denmark) and my coach David and putting coach Donal I was very confident walking towards the first tee.
After the first round of 72 (+1) I was somewhat relieved, but I was particularly pleased with how much better my game was now compared to a year ago. Every day I started playing better and I got more and more confidence. Round 2 in 70 (-1) and round 3 68 (-3), I entered the top 30 on Sunday and expected nothing else than a round lower as 68 on day 3 for the final round.
Unfortunately, I started badly on Sunday with +4 after 8 holes, I remained calm and confident in myself and after a super birdie on hole 16 I managed to come back to +1 for the day. The finish with a double bogey on hole 18 was something that I was really bummed about, as it was a disappointing ending to a great week of golf.
Fortunately, there was 875km to go from Evian to Sitges, Spain. In the car I thought about the last 2 weeks. In Evian I had worked very hard with David on my wedges and short irons (where I lost my weekend in France during the first week). I saw more of my good iron and wedge game in Evian, but in particular how I hit it off the tee. Evian is a tricky course of the tee. Many narrow tee shots and the rough is high. This year I hit a lot of fairways and I was very happy how easy my driver game felt that week. Unfortunately, my putting was too variable to have a top finish in Evian. I have hit a lot of good putts but also way too many 3-putts. No less than 9 (!) in the entire tournament. If you remove those 3-putts, I would have finished in 8th place. I think that puts in perspective how good my long game was that week, but also where I still have to improve a lot.
I took Monday off to relax and give some rest to my body. We played the Estrella Damm Open last year at Golf de Terramar (the same as this year). I remembered I played well there last year finishing T12.
When the draw came out I was very happy, I played together with Carlota Ciganda and Anna Nordqvist. 2 players that I always looked up to when I just came on the tour and I was really excited to start the tournament.
What I took from Evian; a lot of confidence from the tee, my iron game got better and better and my putting was in good condition I only needed better speed control.
Day 1 I started with a great drive down the middle of the fairway and an ideal wedge distance of 96m, which I almost holed out, and make a very easy birdie. From that moment on I was enjoying myself. Hit a lot of approaches close to the hole the first two days and my putting was very solid.
After two days of 64 (-7), I went into the weekend at -14. I was not nervous. I was ready. I knew that I had worked very hard in the last months and this tournament was just my tournament. But.. I knew that I could not think about that on the course until Sunday at hole 18.
My goal for the weekend was simple: stay as calm as possible, to trust in myself and to play hard.
Day 3 I started very well and I was already -6 after 13 holes. The last 5 holes were completely different. I hit a few loose shots. Luckily I could fall back on my short game and putting.
Looking back now I know that at hole 16 on day 3 I won the tournament for myself. After a somewhat poor chip I had 15ft downhill right to left over for par. That putt I roll straight into the middle of the hole without any tension. I never let go of that feeling I had after that putt.
Sunday came and I was so excited to play. Another round to show how well I was playing and I tried to win with as many strokes as possible.
Yet I knew that low scores were possible on this course and that I had to bring my best game that day. Full focus from hole 1 I started with 3 birdies on my first 6 holes. Exactly the start that I needed.
Even after my 2nd bogey of the whole week at hole 11, I stayed calm. I knew that even with not perfect golf here and there I was good enough and I wanted to finish in style.
Walking towards the green of hole 18, I realized that I had won. That is the best feeling I can feel as a golfer. Knowing that you were the best that week in a whole field, and it was a strong field this week. I saw my friends standing ready at hole 18 for the champagne shower but I wanted to finish in style. I knew that I was going to make my putt on the last one and that putt of about 22ft I stroked with so much confidence in the middle of the hole. The emotion came loose. I was so happy and proud of myself how I played this week and the scores I made. All the hard work of the last years came out in a week and that emotion at hole 18 was all there. Pure satisfaction.
In my winners speech I focused on the terrible death of Celia at the beginning of this week. I got emotional when I started talking about her. I know that all players played this week with her in the back of their minds this week. She also had as dream to play on the tour just like us. This win is also a bit for her knowing that she never got that chance and I am very lucky to play this sport at this level.
The last 1671km home were of course a party. I think the first 5 hours I was on the phone with my parents, sister, boyfriend and friends. The people who are always there for me, especially in time when I play poor and when things don’t work out, they are always there for me and then to speak to them at that moment was very special!
I am extremely proud of myself and my team. How hard we have worked in the last few months and how hard we are going to work in the coming months. Also I want to thank everyone for all the messages!
-26 in a tournament is insanely good and hopefully I will improve this score again but at the moment I am enjoying it and I am looking forward to everything that is yet to come!
It was all worth the 4744km in the car the last 3 weeks!
DISAPPOINTED WEEKEND IN FRANCE