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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

On pro comeback trail, Michele Thomson opens up lead at Women’s Indian Open golf

Scottish golfer Michele Thomson is leading by three shots at the Women’s Indian Open in Gurgaon.

other-sports Updated: Nov 11, 2017 21:52 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times, Gurgaon
Michele Thomson of Scotland is leading at the Women’s Indian Open golf.
Michele Thomson of Scotland is leading at the Women’s Indian Open golf.(Getty Images)

Eleanor Thomson died when daughter, Michele, was 11. She is remembered all the time, and on Saturday, when Michele shot her career’s best score, an eight-under 64 (10-under 134 overall), for a three-shot lead at the Hero Women’s Indian Open, she wished her mum had walked the DLF Golf & Country Club.

Despite the early loss, Michele did not lose her way in golf and went on to become one of Scotland’s best --- winning the Scottish Amateur, representing Britain in Curtis Cup and being termed the Tiger Woods of women’s golf.

READ | Marianne Skarpnord breathes easy after opening round at Women’s Indian Open golf

She turned professional in the hope that the going would continue to be good. Used to the camaraderie of team events, being all alone on tour led to loss of interest, and she quit golf.

“I was too young to understand the rigours of that life,” said Michele. Father Graham even began working from their home in Aberdeen to be with her as much as possible, but being “alone and independent” on tour overpowered Michele.

She left and joined the police as a beat constable for two years. Her next assignment at a pro shop may have been boring but got her back on the golf course.

READ | Women’s Indian Open golf to be advanced in 2018 due to Delhi’s air pollution

Watching a ladies event on TV with father while at work, Michele realised she wanted another shot as a professional. They agreed that getting back would be tough, but the route to the Ladies European Tour’s (LET) Access Series (feeder tour) got easier by “sitting down and talking to the right people (friends)”. Not to forget father Graham’s unflinching support, to whom Michele owes her career.

Not much had changed, and “meeting the same faces and friends” when she had turned professional cushioned the setbacks on return. When she felt low, inspiration was nearby. Getting herself inked at 18, “Mum” on the right wrist and a four-line poem, in Eleanor’s memory, on the left bicep helped her persevere. She finally secured her playing rights on the LET, but the current season has been mediocre. After three missed cuts, Michele arrived in India in the hope that the sponsor’s invite would bring about a turnaround. The going so far appears to point that way.

READ | Aditi Ashok, Carlota Ciganda look to light up Women’s Indian Open golf

The bogey-free card on Saturday read well but Michele was nonchalant and attributed it to solid iron play and making putts. Her A-game on show, there was little to complain of. Regrets, if any, were about the previous round. Two-under 70, how she wished she had fared better on the other holes.

First Published: Nov 11, 2017 21:52 IST

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