- Alistair Tait
Brewerton Back Where She Belongs
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
There have been many heart-warming golf stories these last 12 months. Becky Brewerton regaining her Ladies European Tour card at the LET Qualifying School is one of the best of the year.
While the world of golf was getting just a wee bit sentimental and over the top – how do you spell “lachrymose?” – about a 45-year-old man playing with his 12 year old son in a hit and giggle tournament, Brewerton was fighting for her career.
The Welsh player took one of the 20 cards on offer at La Manga after finishing T9.
(Quick aside: if the LET can stage a Q School in Southern Spain during this pandemic, with that circuit’s limited resources, then what excuse does the European Tour have for not staging one again this year? Many players hoping to either get their European Tour cards or regain them are just a wee bit perplexed.)
As always, the LET Q School final leaderboard threw up a number of great stories of players who either qualified to play the LET for the first time, or managed to claw their way back onto the circuit. (Use of the verb “claw” is apropos: many players need crampons to trudge through the five rounds of sheer hell that is the Q School.)
For the record, American Gabriella Then took the first card with a 12-under-par 349 total over the 90 holes. She won by four strokes over Sweden’s Lisa Pettersen. It was Then's first time playing in Europe.
Three amateurs earned cards at the school – Sara Kouskova of the Czech Republic, Germany’s Sophie Witt and Moroccan Ines Laklalech. They ranked 34th, 173rd and 202nd on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, proof of the strength in depth in the women’s amateur game beyond the Rose Zhangs, Ingrid Lindblads and Rachel Hecks, the three best players on the WAGR table.
Fellow Woburn member Meghan MacLaren fought back from heartbreak of missing out at the previous week’s LPGA Q School to finish T4. The two-time LET winner has a free pass to next year’s tour, which I hear will have more events and more money than this year.
Hazel Macgarvie finished T15 in her first trip to the Q School, just a few months after turning pro. She was one of two Scottish graduates along with Laura Beveridge, who took one of the last cards by finishing joint 19th with four other players.
There were the usual agony tales to go with those of ecstasy. Who’d have thought strong Northern Irish player Olivia Mehaffey would miss? Ditto for former Women’s Amateur champion and another fellow Woburn member in Lauren Taylor. Both came one stroke shy.
Amy Boulden, Brewerton’s fellow countrywoman, also failed to graduate. She won the 2020 VIP Bank Swiss Ladies Open but missed a card by 10 shots.
Boulden, and others, will hopefully draw inspiration from Brewerton. The 39 year old has shown it is possible to come back from the depths of despair.
Brewerton wrote a blog a few weeks ago all struggling tour pros would do well to read. The title gave little doubt as to what followed. It’s simply called “How did I become so bad at golf?” and recounts how she went from three-time LET winner, double Solheim Cup player and LET order of merit winner to waking up one day to discover that ...
“...somebody had removed my ability to play the game. That ability left me for nearly as many years as I’d had it. And the road back seemed like an impossible journey of misery and self doubt.”
It’s only a seven minute read, but worth all 420 seconds.
The following lines are almost incredible to believe given Brewerton’s career:
“Even when things were going well I used to get these little voices in my head telling me I didn’t belong, convincing me I was some sort of imposter that would be exposed one day.
"The reality is I’d been setting myself up for failure even during the time I was playing well. The constant thoughts of ‘I don’t belong here’ ‘I don’t fit in here’, being so uncomfortable with compliments I often had to walk away.”
Things got so bad Brewerton was denied the chance to play the second round of the Ladies European Open. An official told her she was ineligible because her score of 88 in round one was too high.
She had to take menial jobs just to take ends meet.
Contrast these lines with the euphoria of regaining her playing rights, and it’s hard to imagine a player of Brewerton's calibre could undergo such highs and lows.
Brewerton isn’t the first to experience the opposite spectrums of this frustrating game. She certainly won’t be the last.
Hopefully strugglers can take heart from her story. Her tale makes my list of great achievements in 2021, even if the majority of few golf fans haven’t even noticed.
Welcome home Becky. You’re back where you belong.
#JustSaying: “What helped me turn the corner and start to see the tiny glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel were the phenomenal human beings I’d been lucky enough to meet during my life.” Becky Brewerton
Photograph courtesy of the Ladies European Tour