• Piers Manktelow

We speak to Gemma Dryburgh after earning her LPGA card for the 2019 season.

So you have just qualified for the LPGA Tour in 2019 after 8 rounds at Pinehurst how does it feel and how were those 8 long rounds?

It feels fantastic to regain my card for next season. It was a long two weeks. I just thought of it as a marathon and took each round at a time so if I did have a bad round then it didn’t worry me as I had so much golf to play. Although, I was very excited when the last day came as I was excited to finally be done as it was a long two weeks.

You qualified last year as well, how would you sum up your rookie season?

My rookie season was a learning experience. I had a great time even though I didn’t have the best results. Everything was a step up from my first two seasons so it took some adjustments to feel comfortable again. I will be taking all of that experience into the 2019 season.

Your best result came in your last event of the season at the Cambia Portland Classic, what do you put that down to?

I think I finally relaxed and accepted the consequences of not playing well. It was the first tournament I really didn’t mind how I played. It sounds weird, but I think I finally was able to relax and just play golf. I will be trying to take that attitude into next season.

What are your goals for the 2019 season?

My main goal is to qualify for the British Open and the Evian Championship next season. I haven’t played in a major yet so that would be a big goal of mine. Also to finish in the top 80 of the LPGA money list is another goal of mine.

You ranked 33rd in putting on tour, that must give you confidence heading into 2019?

Yes, that does give me a lot of confidence, I have been working a lot on my putting so I am happy to see the stats show that. I went back to my old putter for Q series and that gave me so much confidence, so I will be using that for next season.

What was your favorite event/course of the season?

My favourite event was Portland, probably because I had my best finish, but I also loved the course and had a great week with my host family. I also loved Kingsmill too, one of my favourite courses of the season.

The LPGA through some great events before and during tournaments, what was your favorite experience? kicking a field goal or something else?

Kicking a field goal and getting to run around at the Michigan stadium was definitely a highlight. I still show people my field goal now because I’m so proud of it. Hopefully I can go back next year and do the same thing! Getting driven around the Indy 500 track was also very cool!

There seems to be a great comradery among players on the tour, do you have good friends on the tour?

Yes, I have a lot of good friends on tour. They are all girls I knew either from college or Symetra tour and some from the Ladies European Tour. I have also met a lot of new girls over the year which has been fun. Everyone gets on really well and you end up feeling like a family as you travel from one tournament to the next.

What is a typical week on tour like for you?

Sunday night or Monday morning would be for travelling depending on where we are going next. I sometimes play 9 holes on the Monday and then I’ll play 18 on the Tuesday. This season I wasn’t in the Wednesday pro-ams so I would just have a practice day. If I wasn’t able to play on the Monday, I sometimes play an early 9 holes before the pro-am on Wednesday but that means getting up very early so I try not to do that if I don’t have to. Once the tournament starts on Thursday, I typically do a bit of practice after the rounds but not too much as it is good to get some rest.

What is your greatest golfing achievement so far?

Playing on the 2014 Curtis Cup team is a big highlight for me. Qualifying for the LPGA last year was a huge goal of mine so to do it for the first time was an amazing feeling.

How often do you practice?

When I am at home I will practice from Monday-Saturday for around 4-6 hours depending on what I am working on.

What area of your game needs the most work?

My pitching is a big focus, it has improved a lot over the last year, but it can still get better.

Favourite practice drill?

One of my favourites is a putting drill with 8 tees. The first tee is a par putt and then the next one is a birdie putt and alternating from there. You have to get to 5 under to finish the drill.

How old were you when you started playing golf?

4 years old

You moved to Florida aged 15 to join the IMG Academy, how would you sum up how that experience helped you in golf and life?

It helped me tremendously, I was able to play golf everyday so just that helped a lot but also receiving amazing coaching was a huge help with my development. It also prepared me well for college as it was a similar schedule with half of the day playing golf and the other spent at school. Also, being surrounded by other young aspiring athletes was a great environment to be in.