Gemma Dryburgh felt ‘goosebumps’ over Lionesses but is glad she gave football the boot for golf

Gemma Dryburgh has had lots to smile about recently and that also now includes making the cut for the first time in the AIG Women’s Open. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

The 29-year-old Scot finished birdie-birdie in the second circuit at Muirfield to card a two-under-par 69 – one of the best rounds of the day – to progress to the weekend in the season’s final major.

“It’s nice to get that off my back,” admitted Dryburgh of achieving the feat after making early exits in both 2020 at Royal Troon then Carnoustie 12 months ago.

Referring to her consistent run of form on the LPGA Tour this season, she added: “It’s also good to keep my run of making cuts going.”

Out in the first group on the second day, the Scottish No 1 opened with four solid pars, birdied the par-5 fifth then went on a run of nine straight pars.

“My coach (Lawrence Farmer) reminded me that Nick Faldo won round here (in the 1987 Open) with 18 pars, so you can kind of plod your way round and make a score,” she said.

Her run was ended by a bogey at the 15th, but, after taking advantage of the par-5 17th playing downwind, she then signed off in style by hitting a 4 hybrid from 190 yards to three feet at the last and rolled it in.

“It was probably the worst I could have shot, to be honest,” declared Dryburgh, who, having opened with a 74, sits on two-over at the halfway stage in the $7.3 million event.

“I hit the ball really well and had some nice chances, but it was nice to get a birdie-birdie finish.

“I saw on the scoreboard that I was T73 playing the last and while I thought I might have been okay on three-over, you never know, so it was nice to birdie it.”

Growing up firstly in Aberdeen then in Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, Dryburgh’s main sporting passion was football and she enjoyed seeing England win the European Championship at Wembley last weekend.

“Hopefully that can be good for women’s sport in general,” she said. “It kind of gives me goosebumps as I remember when I was 14 or 15 that I had to choose between golf and football.

“At that time, women’s football was nowhere and I thought there would be more of an opportunity in golf and that’s why I picked it, though I think I would have been better at golf anyway!”

Louise Duncan joined Dryburgh in flying the Saltire in the final two rounds after following her opening 67 with a 73 to sit on two-under.

The 22-year-old described her second circuit as a “grind”, but it was mission accomplished in just her second event as a professional.

Playing in the same group as Duncan, North Berwick’s Catriona Matthew made three 2s – a rare feat on what is widely regarded as the best collection of short holes on any course in the world.

The 2009 winner was making a brave attempt to be around for the weekend as she covered the opening seven holes in two-under before having the wind taken out of her sails around the turn and also having to settle for a 73, which left her on seven-over, one ahead of Michele Thomson (74).

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