McNeill learns great deal after capital test

BATEMANS Bay teenager Hayley McNeill may have narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Australian Women’s Open last week, but she insisted she learned a great deal from the experience.

McNeill shot a three-over par round of 75 at Canberra’s Federal Golf Club to finish fourth out of all the amateurs that played and 17th overall in the field of 61 players.

“I was pretty stoked about that,” she said.

“And we played off the men’s tees, so that made it a bit more difficult.

“It was a good course and my coach helped me a lot. I hit the ball really well but none of my putts went in for me.

“I did have even or a few under (par) in mind but if a few of my putts went in, I would have.

“I played pretty well and I managed to drop my handicap to scratch while I was up there.”

When asked what the toughest part was about playing at the Federal Golf Club, McNeill replied: “Probably the distance because I’m not a very long hitter and so having to hit off the men’s tees was quite a challenge.”

The talented Catalina Country Club member played a practice round last Monday before the qualifying round on the Tuesday and said that helped to get rid of some rustiness. 

“I actually played terrible during the practice round,” she said with a laugh.

“So maybe that helped.”

McNeill had two professionals in her playing group, but they proved no match for the Carroll College student.

“It was a good experience playing with all those better players,” she said.

“I played with two pros in my group and beating both of them built my confidence up a lot and I’m very happy about dropping my handicap.”

McNeill will be playing at the NSW Golf Club on Monday for an open women’s event before district championships at Mollymook and another trip to Thailand next month.

The teenager returned to Canberra with her mother over the weekend to join the large galleries at the Royal Canberra Golf Club watching the Australian Women’s Open.

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