Augusta-bound Lily May has Georgia on her mind

Lily May Humphreys has admitted she can’t wait to tee off the 2021 season with an appearance in this week’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

The 19-year-old from Essex is one of four English women competing at the event which offers the world’s leading female amateurs the chance to compete for glory over the iconic Augusta National course in Georgia– home of The Masters.

For Humphreys – a member of the 2021 England women’s squad – it will be the second time she has pegged it up at the event having also taken part during the inaugural tournament in 2019.

On Wednesday, Humphreys will line up alongside Cheshire’s Bel Wardle, Cornwall’s Emily Toy and Annabell Fuller from Surrey dreaming of victory three days later in one of world sport’s most recognisable settings.

“I’m super excited about playing Augusta this year – I got the invite last year but due to Covid we couldn’t start,” Humphreys told the latest edition of the England Golf podcast.

“I’m not sure what expectations are – I’m probably one of the few who hasn’t been able to play many competitions leading up to it.

“The last competitions I played were the British Women’s in September then the US Open in December and now I’m rocking up at Augusta with no practice.

“It feels like ages since we played the inaugural in 2019. I’m excited to get going after a funny last year, this is a good start to 2021.

“It’s still quite a surreal experience to walk the fairways and look around the clubhouse and course and see the massive cameras, grandstands and scoreboards.

“For every golfer, Augusta is the ultimate place to go to.

“It’s like a dream come true for every golfer around the world.

“It is special round there – they did treat us really well in 2019. They do at most events in America.

“I felt like a top touring pro.

“It’s pretty nerve-wracking in a practice round as we know the history on all the holes.

“I hit the middle of the green on 12 and was proud. I hit an eight-iron and most were going in with a wedge.

“I feel like a two was ambitious, so I got my three and got out of there!”

For the first two days, competitors play at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Georgia before all players head to Augusta National for a practice round.

The top 30 players from the 36 holes played at Champions Retreat then carry their scores forward to decide the tournament winner with 18 holes on the hallowed turf of Augusta National.

For Humphreys, this could be her last year as an amateur as she looks towards Q School at the end of 2021 and taking her first steps into the world of professional golf.

The member at Stoke by Nayland Golf Club has already achieved a lot in her amateur career having represented England girls, featured in the women’s squad, played for GB&I in the Curtis Cup and Vagliano Trophy and Europe in the Junior Solheim Cup.

Individual honours have also come her way with tournament victories in Europe, England, Wales and Ireland –  including the 2017 English Women’s Amateur Championship (pictured above).

Humphreys has ambitions to win big in 2021 before trying to move to the next stage of her career.

When asked if she felt ready to look towards the professional ranks in 2022, she added: “I feel like I am – last year I’d have gone to Q school in a normal year.

“I’d have played Augusta, Curtis Cup and done most of what I’d have wanted in amateur game. I’d have gone to Q school and hoped for some status even on Symetra Tour

“I hope I can get a full season and work up to Q school this year.

“Ever since I took golf seriously at 11 I always wanted to be on the LPGA Tour and the ultimate would be to win a major.

“I’m excited for season ahead – I hope it gets going quickly. I feel like it may be similar to this year and all the events at the back end of the year.”

And as for winning again, Humphreys is content with progress so far, but would love to squeeze another victory from her amateur career.

She said: “Probably Augusta if I could or the US Women’s Open or British Ladies – one of the big championships would be nice to sign off with but you have to have a good week with such strong fields.

“One of those three would be the ultimate to sign off.

“If not, I’m quite happy with my career as it’s gone better than I thought it would.  That would be the cherry on top of the amateur career, really.”

 

The Augusta National Women’s Amateur takes place from 31 March-3 April at Champions Retreat Golf Club and Augusta National Golf Club.