Gemma Dryburgh’s masterstroke during lockdown was to stop penalty kick practice in her back garden and use the goal for golf.
The 27-year-old from Aberdeen might be the in-form player in Europe coming out of lockdown, winning back-to-back in the Rose Series of events that allowed women professionals and then had her best-ever finish on the LPGA at their restart tournament in Toledo.
She’s back in Scotland for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open – and the much stricter health regime here – and for her debut in the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon next week, but the run all started in her parent’s back garden during lockdown.
“We had seven weeks with the golf courses were closed, so I had a set-up in my back garden,” she said. “I’ve got a football goal, so I just put a duvet sheet behind the goal and hit into that, and after a while moved to a proper net.
“I got the goal for one of my birthdays years ago. I love football, I used to play when I was growing up and had to stop eventually when I was 15 when I moved to America.
“But I’ve always had a goal in the garden. It comes in handy for both football and golf!”
Her success in the Rose Series had raised her profile, and the intention is to go forward from there.
“I’m really motivated,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity these next two weeks, first this and then British Open next week, playing in Scotland as well.
“It’s a really good opportunity for me to kind of even raise my profile even more, and hopefully get into the majors that are coming up, the ANA and KPMG as well as improving my World Ranking, as well, so lots to play for.”
The only downside has been that her short return to the US to play in the LPGA re-start event meant she missed two weeks of Rose Series events as she had to go through quarantine.
“The Friday before the tournament started they lifted the quarantine, but I’d already gone over two Mondays before to the quarantine and stayed with my college roomate’s parents near Detroit, just an hour and half from the tournament in Toledo,” she explained.
“We were able to practise which was quite good, because otherwise I’d have to go over a good three or four weeks before.”
The health safety plan at The Renaissance and tournament hotel here, however, is a bit different to the US.
“It’s definitely a lot more strict than last week in Ohio, which I think is a really good thing,” she continued. “Last week we were able to stay wherever we wanted, but I think it’s good that we are in a bubble hotel this week so we know where everyone’s been and we can kind ofcontrol that that that way.
“That’s not to say it was a free-for-all last week at all, but I think the protocols this week are really good.”