R&A: AIG Women’s Open Pro-Am

HAPPY DAYS: Maggie Whitehead (second right) with Jessica Korda (left), R&A chief exec Martin Slumbers and BBC Sport’s Eilidh Barbour, who kindly took the photograph

Maggie impresses American star at Carnoustie

R&A: Wednesday, August 18th

England prodigy Maggie Whitehead has already achieved plenty in her young life but yesterday possibly got a taste of what lies ahead long-term as she partnered World No 14 Jessica Korda in the AIG Women’s Open Pro-Am.

The 15-year-old Close House player was invited to join a team led by R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, her dad Andy helping to set it all up.

Also in the fourball was BBC presenter Eilidh Barbour and it is fair to say the England international impressed the American star.

“She (Jessica Korda) filmed quite a few of my shots,” said Maggie, who was two under for her round at Carnoustie. “After one drive she said I was ‘hitting bombs’.”

The three non pros in the team played a form of stableford greensomes – they used Maggie’s drive on all but two of the holes – although at times the plus four handicapper had to give shots to her illustrious teammate.

“I know Elididh and I were playing off tees that were slightly forward but it did feel a bit strange that when Jessica and I both got a two on one of the par threes, she got three points and I only got two.”

The England U-16s champion also gained a lot of confidence seeing one of the world’s best close up and not feeling overawed. In May Maggie grabbed national attention when she just missed out on winning the professional Rose Series event at The Berkshire.

“I have obviously played with pros before but I was talking to my dad afterwards and we were talking about how I am not that far away.

“I’m hitting the ball as far as them…I guess they are just that little bit more perfect. Their misses are slightly better than mine.”

The Northumberland ace also got the chance to watch some of Open hopefuls practice and was grateful to England Golf for giving her permission to miss this year’s English Women’s Strokeplay Championship at Wallasey so she could play at Carnoustie.