Gemma Dryburgh hoping legs won't feel numb again on team return in Solheim Cup
Four years after being an excited spectator as Suzann Pettersen holed a testing putt to clinch a win for Europe in the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, Dryburgh is heading to Finca Cortesin in Spain as part of the Norwegian’s team for the latest transatlantic tussle against the United States.
The 30-year-old is just the seventh Scot to earn that opportunity, joining Dale Reid, Pam Wright, Kathryn Imrie, Janice Moodie, Mhairi McKay and, of course, Catriona Matthew, who played in it nine times before becoming a back-to-back winning captain.
Dryburgh, who has taken her game to a new level since landing a maiden win on the LPGA Tour in Japan last November, is excited about playing team golf again, having last done so in the 2014 Curtis Cup at St Louis Country Club in Missouri. “That was probably the most nervous I have been in my career,” she admitted, “but I’m sure the Solheim will top that.”
As will be the case on the Costa del Sol, one of Dryburgh’s team-mates on that occasion was England’s Georgia Hall while the American team included Ally McDonald, who is now Ally Ewing. “I couldn’t feel my legs on the first tee - they were numb,” added the New Orleans-based Aberdonian.
“Hopefully I can deal better with it this time. That was nearly ten years ago and my game has come on a bit since then. I have great memories of the Curtis Cup. At that stage it was the pinnacle in the amateur game. I am very excited at the thought of reliving that experience, obviously on a bigger stage.”
Dryburgh’s dream appearance will be as part of a side bidding to create history as Europe chase a third successive win, having only had that opportunity once before in a contest that started at Lake Nona in Florida in 1990 before its first staging on this side of the Atlantic at Dalmahoy two years later.
“Absolutely,” replied Dryburgh to being asked if her making the team is a dream come true. “It’s something I’ve dreamt about since I can remember, ever since I saw myself playing golf for a living. I’ve always loved team competition through growing up playing football. To be part of Team Europe is going to be amazing. It’s still giving me goosebumps just thinking about it and it probably won’t fully sink in until I get there.”
Has she allowed herself to dream about something special happening over the three days? “In the past it’s always been a putt to win the Women’s Open, now it’s a putt to win the Solheim Cup or to win your match,” she admitted. “It has definitely been crossing my mind and it’s good to visualise these sorts of situations so hopefully if I am in that position I’ll be more prepared for it.”
She’s also been seeking advice. “I spoke to Catriona Matthew and Kathryn Imrie this week and also I played with Georgia Hall,” she said. “All the girls who have been there before have said if you ever need anything, including my caddie Paul, call.”
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