Date: August 20, 2009

Flood blog: Reflecting on a Major experience

Rebecca Flood qualified for her first Major championship at the first attempt when she made it into the field for the 2009 RICOH Women&aposs British Open. Now back home in Australia, she reflects on the experience. I decided to stay a little bit longer after our AIS UK trip concluded to compete in the qualifying rounds for the British Open. Getting into the Women&aposs British Open was difficult. I had to enter two qualifying stages, the first being held at Berkshire Golf Club on the 13th July. I shot even par which left me tied 7th with the top 25 and ties qualifying for Final pre Qualifying. This was held two weeks later on 28th July a few kilometers away from Lytham and Saint Annes at Fairhaven Golf Club. It was links style golf course, similar to that of Lytham and Saint Annes. After reading about the last couple of qualifying scores for the previous years I knew i had to shoot even par or better to give myself a chance. I worked extremely hard leading up to both qualifying rounds and felt comfortable with my game at both stages. I went on to shoot even par, birdieing the last. After a little nervous wait it turned out to be enough to comfortably qualify for the 2009 Ricoh Women&aposs British Open. It was a very exciting moment. My first MAJOR. I couldn&apost believe it! I went straight around to register and collect all my passes and information for the week, and most of all my &aposCompetitor&apos badge! It all became so real when I was in the players lounge with the likes of Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis and Morgan Pressel walking past. My boyfriend Geoff and I spent the remainder of the day organising flights and accommodation as Mum and Dad packed their bags and jumped on a flight to share the experience with me! Tuesday and Wednesday were practice rounds days and the opportunity to get myself familiar with the running and surroundings of the event. I had the opportunity to play one of my practice rounds with Marianne Skarpnord. I was able to watch and learn different things from her, as she is the leading money earner on the Ladies European Tour. Geoff was caddying for me for the week, we were able to do some good work on the course and take some great notes. He met some of the other caddies on tour, some who happened to be Aussies as well, who gave him some valuable information both on and off the golf course. Luke Ringrose from the Gary Edwin Golf Academy arrived on the Wednesday morning to spend the week with me and help me prepare for the Open. On Thursday morning I had a 10.10am tee time. We arrived at the course a little early so that I could have a comfortable breakfast in the players lounge and than able to go through my normal pre-round routine. The wind was up early, and leading to very tough conditions on the course. Standing on the first, a par 3, with the wind blowing strongly from right to left, Geoff and I were discussing what was facing us. Then I heard my name called: Rebecca Flood from Australia. My heart began to flutter and I took a few deep breaths and before I knew my first major experience was underway. I made a good up-and-down on the first for par, and was settling into a day of very strong wind, facing a very tough links golf course. Having missed two great birdie opportunities on 5 and 6, I went on to turn a couple over through 9. I went on to struggle a little in the tough wind on the back 9 to finish total 11 over for the day. The scores weren&apost low on the day with the course playing extremely long in the wind. I must say that it was the strongest wind on the toughest golf course i have ever played. But what a great experience and what fun it was grinding out there in the conditions! I was due to tee off at 2.55pm on the Friday. I went to the golf course in the morning for about two hours and spent some time on the range and putting green with Luke Ringrose, just to get the feel for the day. Than we headed back to the motel, to relax for a while and get ready. We had lunch back at the club again and than began my usual pre round routine. The wind had dropped a little from yesterday, and I knew that I had to shoot around 3-under for the day to give myself a chance of making the cut. I played quite well all on the day but just didn&apost get anything to go my way. On links, you need just a few bounces to happen for you to help the momentum but that didn&apost happen for me over the two days. Walking up the 18th at 9pm at night, I was finishing my round with the crowds having died down at this stage, understandably, but it was amazing, just the whole thought of the Major experience was overwhelming! I finished 6-over for round, which gave me a 17-over total. The cut was eventually made at +9. Geoff, Mum, Dad and I spent the next couple of days over the weekend following Karrie Webb, Lorena Ocha, Paula Creamer and the leading groups on the Sunday. The wind droppped for them over the weekend and it made for some great golf to watch and many birdies being made. It was an experience I will definately take plenty away from and draw on in the future. I would like to pass on a big note of thanks to the AIS and Golf Australia, Luke Edwin and Luke Ringrose, Mum and Dad for making a quick dash from Coonabarabran to England to support me, and to Geoff for taking on the daunting task of the caddy job for the week!