Chloe Ryan from UCD, Dublin and Gemma Batty from the University of Stirling recently played in the Argentine Women’s Open at the Hurlingham Club in Buenos Aires, representing the R&A on behalf of all scholarship recipients. Gemma reports on their experience in South America.
Departing from London Heathrow on Sunday 27th November, we were greeted by soaring temperatures, reaching highs of 33 degrees, with perfect playing conditions and a beautifully manicured golf course set in the grounds of the Hurlingham Club. Boasting a stunning 18-hole golf course, both clay and grass tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool and several polo pitches, the club also provided us with accommodation close to the course, giving us the opportunity to practice whenever we wished.
Beginning the week with practice rounds on both Tuesday and Wednesday, we soon got into the swing of things, learning to adapt to the different style of grass and acclimatising to the Argentinian sunshine. Chloe started the tournament with a solid round of 72 (+1), however I struggled to get to grips with the grain on and around the greens, finishing the day with 77 (+6). We were both a little disappointed, but we promised ourselves that we would draw a line through any negativity and take as much as we’d learned into the second round!
With a pleasant breeze and welcomed cloud coverage on the second day of the tournament, we knew that we could perform better and rightly so. However, sadly it just wasn’t enough to retain the trophy against the Argentina team in the annual Argentina vs R&A tournament. With both scores counting, we fell 3 shots short with rounds of 72 (+1) again for Chloe and a much improved 73 (+2) for myself. With a final round still left to play in the tournament, we were determined to climb the leaderboard and finish on a high!
Making the most of our last full day in the beautiful sunshine, we finished well, Chloe climbing the leaderboard into 3rd place with a final round 73 (+2) with my best round of the week - a 71 (level par) – I moved into a tie for 6th place.
After a long and tiring week on the golf course, playing in testing conditions, we finally got the chance to experience some of the Argentinian culture in the Old Town of Buenos Aires. We shared a lovely dinner with employees of the R&A (Argentina) before making our way back to the hotel to get some rest before flying home the next day.The final goodbyes were said, thanking everyone for being so welcoming and helpful during our stay and made our way to the Airport before parting ways at London Heathrow to return to university.
Each year, The R&A invests more than £300,000 in student and university golf. Currently, The R&A supports golf programmes at 15 universities and awards 100 individual Foundation scholarships to players from all over the world.