Rose Ladies Series: Toy finds joy with golfing grind

Emily Toy has revealed her satisfaction at grinding out a score and admitted competing toe-to-toe against the best professionals in the land has whetted her appetite for the remainder of the season.

The England women’s squad player didn’t know what to expect when she teed it up in her first competitive tournament of 2020 on home soil at the Rose Ladies Series event at Royal St George’s.

After a two over par round of 72 earned Toy a tie for fourth place just three shots back from winner Gemma Dryburgh, the Cornish golfer was able to reflect on 18 holes which have given her great belief going into what is left of a topsy-turvy year.

“I’m really pleased with how I played in what was my first event back,” said the reigning British Women’s Amateur champion.

“I’ve played a lot of golf since lockdown eased, but playing against friends for a fiver isn’t the same as having a scorecard in your hand for an event like this one.

“You forget what it feels like to have to grind out a par and it’s good to have that competitive edge back again.”

Toy was no stranger to Royal St George’s having played Vagliano Trophy matches there in 2019.

“I drove the ball well and hit a lot of greens, but in tough conditions couldn’t get the ball close enough to the flag for many birdie chances,” she added.

“The short game is a bit rusty, but that’s to be expected.

“Overall, I was happy with my game. I didn’t see a scoreboard until the 12th hole and I noticed then that Gemma (pictured below) was in at one under par.

“I was level par at that stage but knew there was a tough run of holes coming.

“I wasn’t really thinking about pushing on to win, I was just in there competing. A bogey at 14 stopped any momentum and then I bogeyed the last hole.

“That was playing really tough – it was a par four into the wind and I couldn’t get up in two so a five was nothing too extreme.”

Toy had been gearing up for an exciting 2020 and started her season off with a month in Australia alongside other members of the England squad.

Having won the stroke play at the Australian Women’s Amateur Championship, the signs were good for a year that also include an invite to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

That event has been cancelled for the year along with other key tournaments, leaving Toy desperate to make the most of what is now left of an abbreviated campaign.

“I’m now looking forward to the English Women’s Amateur at Woodhall Spa later this month and then the English Women’s Stroke Play at Burnham and Berrow.

“After that it’s the British Am and at this stage these are the three main ones I’m focusing on – anything else that takes place in terms of Europeans or invites to other events will be a bonus.”

Toy is still aiming high for a career in the pro ranks, but accepts that planning too far ahead in the middle of a pandemic is largely pointless.

All things being equal, Toy would have enjoyed this year in the amateur ranks and then made an attempt to go to LET Q school.

That has now been cancelled for 2020 leaving Toy focusing on her amateur events this year and next before setting her sights on 2022 being a year for a potential step up.

“I had thought about trying to turn pro this year,” added Toy.

“But I want to do things when I’m ready and not rush in.

“This year I had hoped to play Augusta and make the Curtis Cup team before trying out Q school, but these now become goals for 2021.

“I don’t want to run before I can walk.”

The next event in the Rose Ladies Series will take place on Thursday at the JCB Golf and Country Club where more English amateurs will get the chance to show their skills on the big stage against leading pros.

Toy kept up the fine record of English amateurs in the Rose Ladies Series by making sure that for the fourth week in a row at least one England Golf player finished inside the top ten.

Lily May Humphreys, Annabell and Samantha Fuller and Mimi Rhodes had all previously earned high finishes.

For a report on the fourth event in the Rose Series, check out the video from Sky Sports Golf.