Batemans Bay golfer McNeill keen on Thailand return

DESPITE a “not very good start,” Batemans Bay teenager Hayley McNeill recovered well over the final two days to finish 15th in her age group at the recent Thailand Junior World Golf Championships.

“I was happy with how I played over the last two days but my scores on the first two days changed my placing significantly,” McNeill said of her efforts at the Royal Hua Hin Golf Course, near Bangkok.

McNeill shot a disappointing opening round of 93 (21-over par), but improved significantly from that point on.

The teenager posted a score of 83 on day two, before finishing with rounds of 79 and 77 to end up in 15th place in the girls 15-17 years category.

She also took part in the teams championship, in which she finished fourth overall with Australian teammate Shelly Shin.

McNeill was justifiably pleased with her efforts, considering it was her first overseas experience.

“I can’t expect too much with it being my first overseas tournament,” she said.

“It was a great experience – I got to meet new people and see what other players from around the world are like.”

When asked just how talented some of her competitors were, McNeill replied: “They were really good! Most of them were from Asian countries.”

The Royal Hua Hin course was “really nice, but different to Australian courses”, McNeill said, but the assistance of Thai caddies made the event a bit less daunting.

“It was a long course but the Thai caddies were very helpful and they helped us around the course,” she said.

“My caddy was the same for that last three days. We got to know each other pretty well and that was great.”

The Carroll College student won’t have to wait long for another shot at the Thai courses, as she will be heading back in March to compete in the World Schools Golf Championships at the Banyan Golf Resort.

“I’m very excited to go back. I’ll be less nervous and I’ll know what to expect this time.”

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