Lottie Woad has reflected on another amazing week of learning after she finished tied for 13th in the Madrid Open on her Ladies European Tour debut.
The England girls’ squad player carded four sub-par rounds – two 69s and a pair of 70s- en route to a total of 278 (-10) at the tournament staged at Jaram-RACE Golf Club on the outskirts of the Spanish capital.
Modest! Golf Management – a fantastic supporter of the English Under 18 Championship staged annually by England Golf – offered Woad a spot in the field as a reward for finishing as the leading girl in last year’s inaugural event staged at her home club of Farnham.
And the Surrey golfer made the most of the special invitation to finish ahead of a host of well-known professionals and enhance her growing reputation as one of the game’s rising talents.
After an exciting week in Spain, the 18-year-old admitted: “I must say a huge thank you to Modest for working with England Golf to offer me this amazing opportunity.
“I’m obviously very proud to finish where I did with four rounds under par, but I enjoyed the whole event from start to finish and can take so much away from the week beyond the score.”
Mark McDonnell, co-founder and director of Modest Golf Management, commented: “The performance of Lottie this week underlines the exact reason why Modest wanted to work with England Golf on giving young golfers opportunities to play against the very best talent in Europe.
“Hopefully, the experience this week will further help develop Lottie and give her the belief and confidence to continue to grow.
“Well done Lottie on an incredible week.”
Woad showed little sign of nerves as she made her bow on the LET and got to experience life at the top level in Europe.
“The set-up for the tournament and everything that surrounded it was first-class,” Woad confirmed.
“There were good crowds on the weekend and a few people were asking for autographs and signed golf balls!
“That’s a first for me! I actually wasn’t sure about giving away golf balls as I didn’t know how many I had and didn’t want to run out!
“I had the honour of hitting the opening tee shot off the first hole on Thursday which was great and thankfully it went straight down the middle.
“I was happy with how I played and had some great pairings over the four days. I got to play with Gabs Cowley and I was able to pick up so much.”
Woad should be proud of her efforts which saw her drop just five shots in 72 holes and pick up 15 birdies in an event won by runaway victor, Spain’s Ana Pelaez.
With dad Nick on her bag, it was a family affair in Spain and Woad admitted that she has gained great insight into the levels required to make it at the top level.
“Apart from giving me the wrong crane to aim at in the distance on one hole where the tee had been moved from the practice day, we did pretty well,” joked the England international.
“In practice, the course was wet and the rough was up.
“But the rough was chopped back for the tournament and although still tough, the course dried out and scoring was good. The winning score of -23 was ridiculously good!
“I’m still thrilled to shoot -10 for four rounds in a LET event and can take this forward into the season back home.
“I definitely could have picked up a few more shots on the greens, especially on the final day.
“The leading players just make everything they look at – I can look to improve on holing the 20 footers and also my scoring on the par fives.
“I was up there with the field on the par threes and par fours, but was only a couple under on the par fives.
“It was my first full tour event and my first time playing in Spain. I haven’t had that much experience playing abroad apart from one or two times in Portugal and France.
“You have to learn about the greens and get used to taking three foot of break on six foot putts – not something you get a lot of on linksy courses back home.”
For Woad, the excitement of Spain must now give way to studying for PE, Geography and Biology exams before another busy few months of amateur golf ahead of a move to Florida State University in August.
However, the golfing education she enjoyed in Spain will also prove invaluable.
“I really enjoyed the week and am so grateful to be given the chance to compete against the best professionals in Europe,” confirmed the plus-five handicapper.
Main image: Leaderboard Photography