Date: December 12, 2006
Author: Alistair Hogg

Combes to build upon solid year

By Alistair Hogg Despite finishing a respectable equal-fifth in the 2006 Dunes Medal, Kate Combes knows there is still room for improvement in her game. Inconsistent weather made low scoring difficult which was highlighted by the fact that the winner, Ebony Heard, claimed the medal with a score of 10-over par. Combes finished the tournament with 14-over but was never really in the hunt after poor scores in the opening two rounds left her too far adrift to mount a serious challenge. “I struggled with the putter,” Combes lamented. “I really struggled on the greens, I don&apost know what to say. The conditions weren&apost that hard really.” “The first two days were pretty windy. The final morning was good and the afternoon was pretty windy but I think it&aposs pretty easy to struggle with the putter at times. Putting is a crucial part in winning an event. If you putt well, you&aposll be up there.” The 23-year-old Victorian also took the time to recognise another element of her game that needs refining. “I&aposm also struggling to get off to a good start in a tournament. I sort of warm my way into it about the third round, so I&aposll probably work on performing well in the first and second rounds.” Combes shot an opening round 76 before a second round 78 put her well behind the lead group going into the final day which saw competitors play 36 holes. Solid scores of 73 and 75 saw her gain some ground on the leaders, but it was too much of a gap to make up on the unforgiving links course. Despite lucking out at the Dunes, Combes has had a stellar year, highlighted by a win in the Pleasington Putter, which is a British national selection event. Her score of seven-under the card set a new tournament mark at the Liverpool course and was her first major amateur title. She backed up her win at Pleasington with a second-placing at the Astor Salver in Berkshire before finishing sixth in the Ladies Irish Stroke Play tournament. “The year in general has been good,” Combes reflected. “I had some good results in the UK, I won a tournament over there, had a good result in the Australian Amateur and the WA Stroke Play. I got in the World Cup team which was also good. We didn&apost play as well as we&aposd hoped in the World Cup but it was a good experience. It&aposs been a very good year.”