Catriona Matthew and Kylie Walker could still be joined by a third Scot in this week’s Australian Open despite Pamela Pretswell losing her spot as first reserve for the event in Adelaide.
Sally Watson is now second alternate for the tournament, which starts tomorrow, after finishing fifth in a qualifier which saw Koreans claim the three spots up for grabs.
While delighted to have earned her slim opportunity, Pretswell’s promising position immediately below the cut-off line on the entry list was wiped out when the 26-year-old was forced to pull out of the 18-hole shoot-out at The Grange.
The back injury which led her to withdraw after just six holes in the final round of the New Zealand Women’s Open in Christchurch on Sunday is still troubling the former Curtis Cup player.
“I got up this morning and my back was a little better, but sadly not good enough to play so I had to withdraw,” said Pretswell, who was on a real high after getting herself into contention behind Lydia Ko after two rounds in the world No 1’s home event but has now been left feeling down in the dumps a few days later.
“I received some very good treatment from the tour physio this afternoon and he will be looking after me the rest of the week, so, fingers crossed, I should be back playing soon.”
Coincidentally, Watson had been forced to withdraw from the New Zealand event prior to the first round last Friday due to the same problem and had hardly been able to practise since then. In the circumstances, her 71 was a splendid effort, as was the fact she then came out on top in a play-off with England’s Alexandra Peters and Jade Schaeffer from France to become second alternate.
“The back felt much better today and I was really excited to be back playing. I think my general feeling of gratitude helped me to really enjoy myself out on the course and stay patient in the windy conditions,” said Watson.
“I also had no expectations given I hadn’t hit any balls in a week but the strike was pretty solid and I did a good job of managing my way around the course. It was nice to earn the second alternate space and my job now is just to get ready and hope that an opportunity comes along on Thursday.”
For Walker, who is exempt along with Matthew, the event marks the return to a venue where she made one of her last appearances as an amateur. “Being here is bringing back great memories as I played the World Amateur at The Grange in 2008,” said the two-time LET winner. “The course is brilliant with a good strong set up.”
Referring to a brace of missed cuts so far on her trip Down Under, Walker added: “I’ve played decent the last couple of weeks but just made a few too many mistakes, which was frustrating.
“There’s been good golf in there, though, and I feel I can do well this week and have a good start to season.”