Women & # 039; s Open: Gemma Dryburgh & # 039; s unusual preparations for tournament debut

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The Women & # 39; s Open will be Gemma Dryburgh's second major – she finished 43rd in the 2019 PGA Championship

As when you play your first Open on one of the most prestigious courses in your home country, there are a few things to expect.

The roar of a partisans encourage you. Proud family and friends waiting to greet you on 18th green. Meticulous preparation months in advance.

But, as with so many athletes in recent months, Scottish golfer Gemma Dryburgh has learned to expect the unexpected.

The 27-year-old got into shape at just the right time for the Women's Open at Royal Troon – the first women's major of the year.

But perhaps the greatest moment of her undulating life so far will be met with almost silence. The event is being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic and even her biggest fans – her parents – cannot come and watch.

With golf clubs not reopening until May, some of them can have meticulous preparation in the backyard with the help of a duvet cover that hung over the back of a football net.

"It's still there in my yard," says Dryburgh of the lockdown training aid. "Hopefully I don't need it anymore."

The unorthodox training method has worked. Dryburgh enjoyed her best LPGA finish when she finished sixth in the Drive On Championship at the start of the month.

The world's No. 198 was in charge at one point at last weekend's Scottish Open. , but a round of 11 left on Sunday eventually left her 69th.

After also taking back-to-back victories in the Rose Ladies Series, she's ready to make a name for herself in her first home major.

"It's pretty special – this is the tournament I've always dreamed of growing up and I'm playing in Scotland," said Dryburgh.

"It's a shame there won't be any crowds and my parents won't be able to watch, but it's still going to be a special week."

Dryburgh praised Justin Rose's support for female players at the Rose Ladies Series and said she had felt "pessimistic" about women's golf before the event. was created.

In response to the BBC Elite British Sportswomen's finding that 82% of female athletes were concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on women's sport, she said additional costs were being incurred. caused as a result of the pandemic could force some players to stop playing golf.

Now she feels more positive and says Troon will host the Open four years after the club voted in favor. female members is another step forward.

"It's great – going in the right direction," she added. "It is good to see such clubs where the opportunity is and where they have to go further. It is quite cool that we will play the first Women's Open in Troon.

] "Even after the pandemic it looks very positive. We will see.

The Women's Open opens on Thursdays, with highlights every night on BBC Two.

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