Faldo Series Blog
Rochelle Morris - My Ladies European Tour debut
My week on the Ladies European Tour began on Monday 25th March, we flew out to Morroco from Manchester very early that morning which was only a 3 and a half hour flight.
Arriving at the airport late morning we then caught a shuttle to the hotel which was arranged by the LET. The sun was shining and it was warm, which was a change for the better from the snow we had left that morning in Huddersfield.
I then checked in, unpacked and got changed ready to go to the golf venue. Me and my dad met my coach John Eyre from Woodsome before getting a shuttle to the course, he flew out on the saturday with his family and was looking forward to the week just as much as I was.
When we arrived at the venue it looked great as all the tents were out and banners marketing the event everywhere, it all looked set for the week ahead. It was also very secure as guards were monitoring the entrance so only shuttles could go in.
We made our way up to the clubhouse from the car park and saw Georgina Simpson, an experienced pro who was from the same town as we were and who we knew vaguely. She was extremely helpful in directing me to the tournament office where I signed in and me, my family and coach were given passes in order to access the venue freely throughout the week.
We made our way over to the putting green where the scoreboards were up and ready and all the ropes were out, it all felt very professional. I practiced chipping on to the unfamiliarily quick greens compared to back home. I then worked on my putting which was what I was struggling with. My coach altered my set up for the better and I spent a while stroking putts in to the hole which increased my confidence.
We then made our way over to the range which had a constant supply of Callaway balls; they were flying further in the warmth which I noted. I felt I was striking it very well and my coach reassured me of this. I had a good practice session and was ready to go back to the hotel, where we took to the pool to sunbathe before going out for dinner and looked forward to another successful practice session the day after.
Tuesday came after a reasonably early night which left me feeling refreshed for the day ahead. It was pro am day so I was left to practice. My parents, my coach and I casually made our way over to the course and headed straight to the putting green where I spent a lot of time. My mum then enjoyed sitting in the stand on the 18th to watch the pro am in the sun as we moved over to the short game area which was great, there was a few bunkers with a huge green which meant lots of people could practice at the same time. Lots of chip and run shots were practiced as well as bunker play to adapt to the softer sand in comparison to home.
We then hit balls on the range and I was next to Ariya Jutanugarn. Her ball striking was superb and she was hitting the ball a mile, she stood out.
We made our way back to the hotel after a good practice session and again couldn't resist sunbathing before dinner. After an early night I was ready for Wednesday.
Wednesday was the official practice day so I again headed over to the club with my coach and parents. Today was busier and the more familiar faces of the tour were beginning to appear. I bought a course planner which was a big help as it was very detailed.
I had a brief warm up and headed for the first tee playing with Valentine Derrey. We were playing in the group behind Laura Davies. The course was in fantastic condition, the greens were great as they were a nice pace and had a true roll. Strategically I planned where about to land the ball and what distances I would leave in on certain holes. I was striking the ball well which put me in a good frame of mind and the girl I played with strook it similar to me which was very encouraging.
I enjoyed the round and we then went for lunch in the players lounge which was great. I went back out on the putting green and polished out my stroke ready for the 1st round the day after, I was confident for the competition day ahead.
Thursday came and my tee time was mid morning so I woke about 7 for breakfast and made my way to the course. I had my usual structured practice session of 1 hour 15 minutes which went well.
The wind was blowing a lot, it was a two club wind. I was excited stepping on to the first tee, my dad was caddying and had my name on his back, he was looking forward to the tournament just as much as I was and surprisingly I wasn't nervous. I was introduced to my playing partners Tara Davies and Eva Bjarvall. There was a few spectators but I felt comfortable playing in these conditions.
I felt as though tee to green my game was solid and this showed on the front nine as I was 2 over with 2 three putts but the back nine was different as a triple due to a hooked drive on a par 5 cost me and a few miss read putts meant I finished the day 8 over. I was interviewed after the round by a TV station which was great, it really felt like a professional tournament at that moment. The score was slightly disappointing but I took the positives from the day, I was striking it consistently well and after playing the course I had experience for the 2nd round the day after. The next day I was first out so I had an early night after dinner and would feel refreshed for day two.
Friday I woke very early determined to shoot a good score as I knew I was capable of a low number. I shortened my warm up in order to play within the times, I was teeing off on the 10th, the weather was still, the sun was out and the course looked beautiful, I couldn't wait to get out there.
I started well with a birdie as I put my second to 3ft. I doubled the 12th due to a ruling I didn't know about and I was penalised for this, this was something learnt. On the 17th hole I had an unlucky break after a great drive, my approach with a hyrbid was going nicely right of the tree 70 yards in front but clipped the widest little branch and shot left 50 yards in to the water hazard, this resulted in a double so the front 9 was solid as I struck it well with 3 birdies and 2 doubles. I eventually finished the round 5 over but felt very pleased with my game.
I had to take the positive of improving on the previous days score. After 2 rounds I finished on 13 over which I knew could of been better but I pinpointed my weak areas, my main weakness was putting which I knew could easily be improved. I was striking the ball as well as I'd ever struck it after a winter focused on the technique of my swing. Overall I was happy with how I played.
Over the weekend I took the chance to do a few hours practice on the fantastic facilities as I knew that when arriving back home we'd be seeing snow again. I focused on short game and was eager to work on my putting as well as bunker play as the sand was great but different to home which was good to practice out of incase I experienced the similar type again soon. We watched the final round and admired the fantastic golf of Ariya Jutanugarn who made the course look easy with her long drives and great approaches and of course in the end she won.
Overall the week was a fantastic experience, one not to forget and to learn from. Being able to experience playing on tour re affirmed that this is what I want to do week in, week out. During the week all the players and guests are treated so well by everyone involved in the event, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
I felt over the week I played better than what the scores reflected which was very encouraging for me. I know what things I needed to work on after playing with top professionals and I know I need to improve in order to compete at that high standard but I know I am capable of getting there with hard work and commitment.
I would like to thank Sir Nick Faldo, the Faldo Series team and the Ladies European Tour for this amazing experience. At my age only through the Faldo Series can doors be opened which are not possible for golfers like me otherwise. I will take away a lot of knowledge and confidence from playing on the LET and I cannot thank them enough.
From the great opportunity of playing on different tours through the Faldo Series Glenbrae are now my clothing sponsor. I am really looking forward to being a part of their team and representing them.