Who does England’s Alice Hewson remind you of? The answer, here, is a Dame Laura Davies when she was winning the 1987 U.S. Open. The 23-year-old was smashing her drives during the Scandinavia Mixed as hard and as far as a young Davies and, just as surely, she was hammering putts into the back of the hole. Certainly, they were not dropping politely into the cup as she followed rounds of 68 and 67 with a couple of 69s to finish third in the event that was sanctioned by the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour.
Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell, who won the trophy with a 17-under-par tally to Hewson’s 15 under, made off with €166,660, while Hewson collected a handsome €62,600.
By way of summing up her career ahead of last week, you would have mentioned her championship at the 2019 European Women’s Amateur and her three wins at Clemson University before suggesting she had still to settle after winning the 2020 South African Open. That, would you believe, was the first tournament she played as a professional. Thereafter, though, there was nothing so much as a top-10 to have Catriona Matthew, the Solheim Cup captain, keeping close tabs on her form.
My how that changed during her four days at Vallda Golf & Country Club in Gothenburg, Sweden. There is that old cliché about a ball not knowing who’s hitting it but, with Hewson, there is the feeling that the ball recognises her as a friendly attacker. In keeping with what Dan Abrahams, her psychologist, advised last winter, she does not permit any negative thoughts.
“It’s something I’ve really worked on,” Hewson said. “My caddie and I have a great time out there. We try to crack jokes all the time.”
They must be rather good ones, because when she wasn’t smiling she was laughing – and not least when she was asked to perform what was a novel task for her in signing some flags at the end of the day.
“It was fun to see myself climbing the leaderboard,” she said, in a reference to how the 12-footer she slotted for a second successive birdie on Sunday took her to 15-under par with two holes to play. She was all set to make a further move at the short 17th but her 15-footer ripped round the hole and, for once, refused to drop.
It came as no surprise when this exciting player-in-the-making said precisely the right thing in her post-tournament interview: “This has been an exceptional opportunity for women’s golf and I’m so happy to have been a part of it.”