Woman of the Year: Two-time amateur champion Georgia Hall
Having already won the Girls’ Amateur last year at Tenby how exciting was it to win the British Amateur at Machynys?
I was really proud of how I played that week and especially getting my first hole-in-one – it was like it was written before I got there. Not a lot of people did what I did, whether that be the hole-in-one or winning both tournaments. I couldn’t believe it in the end. It was really good because it’s playing against six people in matchplay. You wake up so early, go through your routine and do exactly the same thing again the next day. You have to be mentally prepared for it to win.
At what point did you think you had a chance of winning?
I think the match where I won on the 20th against Hayley Davis. Hayley is a good friend of mine and I knew whoever won that match would go a long way in the tournament so it was really big for me to win that game.
What was it like going out to Australia to play in the Youth Olympics and winning two gold medals there?
To play in an Olympics is always massive, and if you go to Australia which is so far away then you know it will be massive. I also had quite a lot of pressure on me because I was named as the GB flag bearer. All the Olympians stood together for the announcement and they just said you know, golfer and all this and I was thinking oh my god that’s me! I never thought that they would choose me out of all of them. You’ve got 300 to pick from, I’m surely not that one person! Obviously it brought more pressure because everyone was going to look at me as the flag bearer and think ‘I wonder how she’s getting on?’ But winning two golds proved that I can play under pressure and handle it.
How did you find playing in two Majors at the Kraft and St Andrews?
They were big inspirations, just playing and seeing my idols play and practise. It was really big and the British Open was, I mean obviously because I made the cut there, it was a better experience than the Kraft, but that one was my first big tournament in America, so it was a massive learning curve too.
At one point you were one off the lead on the Friday at St Andrews?
It was really good to think that these are the best players in the world and I’m second and an amateur who is 17. It has to boost your confidence. Playing there made me think that the top players aren’t as good as people think they are. I finished somewhere in the middle and I didn’t play amazingly, I just played quite well.
To have actually been there with the winner, Stacy Lewis, and all those crowds, there’s not many times in your life when you could actually do that, but there you go. Was there ever a point where you thought you could go on and win?
In the first round I shot four-under and the pins were easy so four under was very scoreable there. I thought I had a shot at winning it. I did an interview with Lady Golfer afterwards and was asked, ‘where do you hope to come?’, and I said ‘well I want to win it’.
What happened with the presentation, they sent you home and then tried to call you back?
They made up some story that it wasn’t their fault. As soon as I signed my scorecard the lady came up to me and said ‘you’ve lost on countback to Lydia Ko for the Silver Medal.’ The airport
was two hours away and we were half an hour away from there when I got a phone call. They said ‘two amateurs drew for the Silver Medal in 1996 which means we have to draw. The presentation starts in 20 minutes, where are you?’ I had no time to go and collect the medal so they sent it to me at the Ladies’ Home Internationals.
How disappointed were you?
There wasn’t much excitement after what they said. To have actually been there with the winner, Stacy Lewis, and all those crowds, there’s not many times in your life when you could actually do that, but there you go.
What did you make of playing in the Junior Solheim Cup?
It was an amazing experience and to play as part of a team was great. Then we stayed to watch the matches and we could walk down the fairways with the players. I even played ping-pong against Suzann Pettersen was just like, ‘oh do you want a game?’ Karine Icher and Azahara Munoz won their match and me and a few other European girls were stood right next to the green to cheer them on and give them a hug – they’re all really nice!
How did it feel watching Charley Hull playing in a Solheim Cup?
I’m really good friends with Charley because she used to be my foursomes partner and we used to spend quite a bit of time together, so it was really good to see one of my good friends playing. But I was very jealous to be honest, especially because she’s the same age as me. She deserved every bit to be there because of what she’s done. She deserves all of it. It just made me think that I can do it even more.