Pamela Pretswell may still be a relative newcomer on the Ladies European Tour, having played her first full campaign on the circuit as recently as 2013, but she has clearly earned the respect of her peers in a short period of time. In a ballot for new board members at the end of last season, the Scot secured one of three spots up for grabs among eight candidates.
“I think it was one of the first times that a vote has been required, and it was nice to be elected,” said the 27-year-old. “I’ve been to a few meetings so far and I’ve really enjoyed it. It is interesting to see Tour life from a different perspective. I also feel I’m getting a chance to use some of the things I learned at uni (she gained an honours degree in business and management at Glasgow) into practice. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a distraction, but it’s been good to get my teeth into it.”
She’s also been planning for a summer wedding since last hitting a ball in anger in Dubai in December, having decided to give a trip to Australia for the start of the new season a miss on this occasion, but now Pretswell is ready to get her teeth back into playing golf. The Lanark-born player is off to China on Sunday to prepare for next week’s World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills and is raring to go.
“I must be looking forward to it as I’m even excited about the prospect of a long-haul flight,” she quipped. “The reason I didn’t go to Australia was that I felt I needed to take some time off in the winter. I’ve not had that since I was about 10. I’m starting the season with a fresher head, having been enjoying playing and practising at home – even in the cold. It was a good decision, especially as I only missed one tournament (the Oates Vic Open).”
Pretswell has been the top Scot on the LET Order of Merit for the last two seasons. “My breakthrough year was definitely 2015,” said the former Curtis Cup player, reflecting. “I didn’t have a bad week as such. My game was steady and I gave myself a few chances to get into contention. My goal was to finish in the top 25 so to actually end up 14th was good progress.
“Last year, I finished 21st but, to be honest, it felt like a disappointing season. I didn’t feel as though I pushed on the way I was looking to. But, at the same time, I had my best finish in the Czech Republic, where I was second. I wasn’t terrible the other weeks but not brilliant, either. If someone had said before start of season that I’d end up 21st, I’d have taken it. But it felt as though something was missing last year. This season I’ll be trying to put myself into contention as much as I can. I’ve had a decent amount of experience now and it would be nice to try and knock off that first win.”
She’s hoping that spending a lot of time in the company of Beth Allen, the Edinburgh-based American who topped the LET money-list last season, might pay off in that respect. “Beth has become a good friend,” said Pretswell. “I played quite a lot with her in tournaments last year and I was particularly impressed by her confidence. It’s there from start to finish, no matter whether she is playing well or not. She’s always in there fighting. That’s such a huge asset.”
Pretswell was speaking after playing a practice round at North Berwick with fellow LET player Vikki Laing. She’d spent the weekend playing in golf up at Nairn, been in Portugal for a few days before that and, prior to that, had her glad rags on to see Belle Robertson, the legendary Scottish amateur, receive a lifetime achievement accolade at the Scottish Golf Awards in Edinburgh.
“I’d managed to speak to Belle on a few occasions over the years and it was exciting to get advice from a legend like her. I certainly took that on board and it was great to see her get an award. It was a nice touch having her and (golf journalist) Jock MacVicar get them at the same time, having grown up together – it brought a wee tear to my eye,” she said.