Following on from Road to Pickala Golf the Finnish Ladies Open has been completed and I sit back, nursing my blister and reflect on a tremendously exciting time for me. It was a truly magical experience.
First things first though, huge congratulations to Carmen Alonso who, in her 19th season on the LET, won her first event.
Also to the organisers and greens keeping staff – the course was in great condition and everything (organisers and course) handled the temperamental weather exceptionally well. And not forgetting the local organisers who made sure the volunteers knew where they were supposed to be and what they should be doing.
I intend to write a follow up post on the skills of the players that I saw over the week. I am certainly not going to critique them but you often hear, certainly on Twitter, that their games are relatable to a lot of “guys” out there. I will let the bra-burners rage on that in the next couple of days. This post is all about the experience.
As mentioned previously I got a message that I could “caddy” for the full week. As it turned out Monday was not in play after all, but my week started on Tuesday with a 9 hole round & continued the following day with the 2nd 9 hole practice round.
My player for the week was Tvesa Malik. She was so, so kind to me. We met maybe half an hour before her round was due to start. I had been watching her balls in the range, but my old legs did not manage to catch up with her until the clubhouse.
Over the next couple of days I could “club” her but I did not offer any advice in this area, nor did not read any putts. I did the basic caddy duties of pushing the trolley, tending the pin, raking bunkers and fixing divots.
It was very relaxed and we chatted a lot about golf, life of tour and general bits and bobs. Tvesa played with her compatriot Seher Atwal who also had a local caddy 😀
In the competition rounds on the Thursday and Friday it did not really change. Teamed up with Billy-Jo Smith and Tia Teiniketo Thursday would end up being a long day. Thunder, and more importantly lightning was circling the area which meant there were couple of quite lengthy delays.
The first stop was on the 9th green, the second was on the 12th green – almost the furthest point on Park golf course. Interestingly we were told by the marshals to go to the nearest evacuation point, but the players insisted on going back to the clubhouse. This was a really good call as the first suspension was quite long.
Play continued until 10PM on Thursday but thankfully we were finished in plenty of time. There were many players that had to completed their rounds on the Friday.
Friday itself was smoother weather wise. The atmosphere and my general feeling of euphoria continued throughout the day. The golf by Tvesa through both days was super solid. No doubles and no great escapes required. The highlight? A hole-in-one on the par 3 third hole.
After the hole out for the next few holes she really started to stripe her iron shots, adding a birdie on the 5th hole. She got her score down to +1 for the tournament and I really thought she was in with a chance of making the cut.
An unfortunate flyer from the rough on the 7th would scupper things though. A bogey from the bunker over the green, then another bunker on the 8th to make a par left Tvesa in reality needing to eagle the final hole (the 9th on the day).
It was not to be and it was a missed cut. It was the end of an incredible four days for me that I will never forget.
The general excitement of a tournament being held on my home course and being able to get so close to the players was fantastic but I think that Tvesa added an extra dimension to the whole experience. What an incredible person – wishing her every success, health and happiness for the future. I hope we get to meet again some day.