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Aberdeen’s Gemma Dryburgh on the secret weapon which has made her Europe’s in-form player heading towards AIG Women’s Open

Gemma Dryburgh.
Gemma Dryburgh.

Gemma Dryburgh’s lockdown masterstroke was to stop penalty kick practice in her back garden and use the goal for golf.

The 27-year-old from Aberdeen may be the in-form player in Europe coming out of lockdown, winning back-to-back in the Rose Series of events that allowed women professionals and then following that up with her best-ever finish on the LPGA at their restart tournament in Toledo.

She’s back in Scotland for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open – and the much stricter health regime here – and for her debut in the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon next week, but the run all started in her parent’s back garden during lockdown.

She said: “We had seven weeks with golf courses closed, so I had a set-up in my back garden. I’ve got a football goal, so I just put a duvet sheet behind the goal and hit into that, and after a while moved to a proper net. I got the goal for one of my birthdays years ago.

“I love football, I used to play when I was growing up and had to stop when I was 15 and moved to America. I’ve always had a goal in the garden. It comes in handy for football and golf!”

Dryburgh won back to back events on the Rose Ladies Series.

On her fine form she said: “I’m really motivated. It’s a good opportunity these next two weeks, first this and then British Open next week, playing in Scotland as well.

“It’s a really good opportunity to raise my profile and hopefully get into the majors coming up, the ANA and KPMG as well as improving my World Ranking, as well, so lots to play for.”

The only downside has been that her short return to the US to play in the LPGA re-start event meant she missed two weeks of Rose Series events as she had to go through quarantine.

“The Friday before the tournament started they lifted the quarantine, but I’d already gone over two Mondays before and stayed with my college roommate’s parents near Detroit, just an hour-and-a-half from the tournament in Toledo,” she explained.

“We were able to practise which was good, as otherwise I’d have to go over a good three or four weeks before.”

The health safety plan at The Renaissance and tournament hotel here, however, is a bit different to the US. She added: “It’s definitely a lot more strict than last week in Ohio, which I think is a really good thing. It’s good we are in a bubble hotel this week, so we know where everyone’s been and we can kind of control it that that way.”

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