US Women’s Open: Toy finally ready to live the American dream

Emily Toy hopes her first ever trip to America proves well worth the wait.

The England amateur international will tee it up this week at the US Women’s Open in Texas – 18 months after she booked her spot at the event!

Toy’s 2019 Women’s Amateur Championship triumph at Royal County Down earned her exemptions for two Majors – the Women’s British Open and the US Women’s Open – and a place at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Soon after her victory in Northern Ireland, she was able to take her place at the AIG Women’s British Open at Woburn Golf Club.

But the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has put her two invites to the States on hold  – until now.

This week she will finally get to play golf across the pond and can look forward to a trip to Augusta in April.

After waiting so long to reap the rewards from that win at Royal County Down, it is a major understatement to say the Cornish golfer is raring to go this week alongside 23 other amateurs competing in a stellar field of 156 players.

“With the year we’ve had it’s something to look forward to and to keep motivated for. I’m looking forward to it,” confirmed Toy talking on the first-ever England Golf podcast.

“It was a long time ago now (the win at County Down). It’s been nice as I had three exemptions for majors and Augusta and it’s been good to spread them out.

“It’s my first trip to America which is unbelieveable.

“First time and playing golf – it’ll be a whole new challenge with the grass and grains over the there. To tee it up with the greats of the game, though, will be incredible.”

Toy is joined this week by fellow England player Lily May Humphreys who is making her debut in a major championship at the age of 18.

At 23, Toy has more experience, but retains the same levels of excitement as her younger England colleague even if it’s not been an easy trip to organise.

She admitted: “Everything keeps changing weekly and it was difficult to arrange. I needed a Covid test between seven days and 48 hours before leaving and once there I go into a bubble system similar to LPGA, European Tour and PGA Tour.

“I get tested again there and if negative we stay in that bubble hotel, go to the golf course and back to the hotel again.

“I can’t wait to get out there and play.”

The field taking part at the Champions Club in Houston includes legends of the game including Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Annika Sorenstam.

There are nine former champions taking part and although the pandemic means there will be no spectators lining the fairways, Toy is not too disappointed.

“As amateurs we don’t play with crowds and it will feel normal,” added the member at Carlyon Bay Golf Club.

“My feeling anyway is that if I don’t know the people watching, I’m not bothered.

“It’s worse when I see people I know! If I don’t know them all good.

“If you think about a Major you think crowds and the pros talk about it, but coming from the amateur world it will probably suit me better.”

There will be some butterflies in her stomach, but Toy is using to turn that nervous energy into a positive.

She said: “I’ve played in majors already and I hope that helps when I get there.”

This year Toy played in a Rose Ladies Series event at Royal St George’s and came fourth in a field full of pros.

That has given her heart as did her run to the semis of the Women’s Amateur Championship at West Lancashire Golf Club in the defence of her title.

“The Rose Ladies Series this year was a great event and brilliant from Justin and wife Kate to organise,” confirmed Toy.

“It was my first event after lockdown and got me playing with top level players and that helped me make comfortable.

“I felt a lot better going to the Rose Series than I did playing at the British Open and Evian the previous year.”

In 2021, Toy has the Augusta Women’s Amateur in April and a chance to play for GB&I at both the Vagliano Trophy and Curtis Cup as well as in Home Internationals with England.

At the end of 2021 she may try and turn pro and go to LET Q school, but that’s in the future.

For now, it’s all about the US Women’s Open and two very different courses.

“I saw one is called JackRabbit – it sounds like a kids’ book!” joked Toy.

“I have a feeling that Cypress Creek might have water on it funnily enough.

“But they do look good on the flyovers. It’ll be an exciting week.”

Photography: Leaderboard