June Drury - another Australian Open title

June Drury was non-playing captain of the Australia team that reached the 2012 World Cup final at Royal Meath but the three-time international open winner is a fine player in her own right as demonstrated by her impressive triumph at the Australian Open. June gave us this delighted reaction after her November 22nd success at Canberra International.

  • Your last Australian Open victory was in 2009 although you have gone close a number of times since. Did you believe you could win again?

I always go into the competition believing I have a chance of winning but I start off with a touch of nerves. Yes, I’ve come close a number of times but I was thrilled to have another victory at last.

  • Did you think Sandra Hutchison was going to run away with it after her first round of 53?

Sandra had an excellent first round. It was a hot humid day and there were television cameras to make us nervous but Sandra coped with the conditions much better than I did. I was 6 shots behind at the end of the day and really I didn’t think that I had any chance – I needed to  play well and hope that Sandra’s level would drop.

  • Give us some of the details of that superb second round 51?

The weather was not quite as hot on the second day and, thankfully, the putts started to drop. As all players know, a couple of good putts at the beginning of the round dramatically affect the confidence for the rest of the round – suddenly my putts were falling . Sandra had a few missed shots and then the situation looked much better for me but Beryl, the other lady in our group, was still playing solidly and was also in contention.

  • Was it an advantage or a disadvantage to not be playing with Helen on Sunday?

Under normal circumstances, the groups would be changed so that the leaders play together for the final round but, because of Covid-19 the field was very much reduced and the groups were not changed. It’s impossible to say whether this made a difference. Certainly, the players in my group were comfortable and used to playing together. It maybe would have helped Helen to be see what we were doing.

  • Did you have any idea how Helen was doing during the final round?

No, I had no idea how Helen was doing. Helen was leading by one shot going into the final round and had had a second round of 51 also. All I could do was try my best in the last round but I was very nervous going into the clubhouse to see whether Helen had had a good game.

  • Did you feel under any pressure from Beryl during the last eighteen?

Pressure is maybe the wrong word. I play with Beryl often and know that she’s a very solid player and a lovely lady and very capable of winning but, on the day, I managed to just stay ahead.

  • Was the heat a factor at the Australian Open?

Yes, particularly on the first day. I realized that I should have been drinking more water – it’s so easy to become dehydrated and lose concentration so I  corrected that on the second and third day.

  • Has Pitch and Putt in Australia been impacted by the pandemic?

Yes but, thankfully, not as much as other sports. The social aspect of the sport was affected: no shot gun starts, groups start at specified times rather than everyone turning up and congregating in the club house at the same time; and after the round, leave rather than socialize over coffee and results. No taking the flag out of the hole when putting – some foam on the bottom of the flagstick so that the ball doesn’t fall to the bottom of the hole and no need to ever touch the flagstick. These rules are being relaxed a little because we have so little Covid-19 in Australia now. Travel interstate has been difficult this year, especially to Victoria – planned trips to Phillip Island and Wagga Wagga had to be cancelled.

  • What is the current state of ladies Pitch and Putt in Australia?

This is a difficult question, the APPA Committee would have more information. Of course, Australia is a huge country so it’s harder for players to travel, especially players who are still working. I know the committee have been trying to encourage other courses to join APPA. There are fewer ladies than men playing the game but all competitions have ladies’ and men’s divisions.