Which player will be next to add to Scottish golf’s success story in the opening few months of 2019?
So far, David Law and Stephen Gallacher have recorded European Tour victories, and there have been title triumphs on professional circuits around the world for Michael Stewart, Kevin Duncan and Jane Turner and, in the amateur ranks, Euan Walker.
Don’t be surprised if the next winner turns out to be Carly Booth because, after a barren spell since she won twice in the same season on the Ladies European Tour in 2012, the Comrie woman is back firing on all cylinders. She has finished fourth, 12th and fifth in her last three events, putting a spring in her step heading into the inaugural Jordan Mixed Open, which starts today.
“I’ve actually been playing quite well for some time now,” said Booth, who was Britain’s youngest ladies’ club champion when she claimed the Dunblane New title at the age of 11 before entering the record books again at 17 when she qualified for the LET.
“I made an equipment change and a few other things have gone the right way for me, too, off the course and I think I’m playing with a little more freedom than I was before. I think the relaxed feeling out on the course has really helped me to enjoy the game a lot more.”
The 26-year-old is among 40 players representing the LET in the 54-hole event at Ayla Golf Club on the Red Sea coast. The groundbreaking event will see them lock horns with the same number of players from both the Challenge Tour and Staysure Tour, the branded name for the European Senior Tour.
Kylie Henry and Kelsey Macdonald are also flying the Saltire in a battle of the sexes, as are Scott Henry, Calum Hill, Ewen Ferguson, Craig Ross and Duncan Stewart.
Booth added: “I just have to keep enjoying it and keep working hard. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s the truth.
“I want to be back in the winner’s circle. I had one or two events where I got a little closer last season and this season I’ve started off quite well, too. So hopefully a few things fall the right way and I’ll be holding another trophy soon.”
Booth is no stranger to playing golf in male company, having cut her teeth in the game in the company of older brother Wallace. “That was very helpful in my development as a golfrer,” she said. “He was an outstanding amateur golfer and played a lot of top events on the European Tour as well.
“When you grow up with a brother with that much ability, it makes you even more competitive and pushes your own game forward as well. He is big inspiration as to why I have been out on this tour for the last 10 years.”
Also starting today is the season’s opening major, the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage in California, where Georgia Hall is looking to reproduce the form that saw her win the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham last season.
“This is my third time playing in the event and I love the golf course,” said the English player. “My long game has improved. I’m a lot more consistent on my bad shots, getting them to the edge of the green instead of the rough. That’s my main strength at the moment and I just need to get more confidence on the greens. That is key this week.”