Emily Toy’s Women Amateur Championship success means she has a trip most of us can only dream about: a date at Augusta National. But the England international is trying not to think about the famous fairways
The mere glimpse of Amen Corner on a TV set is enough to send most of us misty eyed with emotion. Imagine you’d won the right to play there, to stalk those fairways where the game’s greats have been. You’d be giddy for months.
Yet for Emily Toy, whose Women’s Amateur Championship victory at Royal County Down last summer means she’ll make that trip to Augusta National next April, the temptation to dwell on what’s ahead has been suppressed.
Toy’s amazing week in Northern Ireland, culminating in a one-hole victory over Amelia Garvey, booked a precious spot in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
She’s guaranteed a practice round at the Masters’ home as well as 18-holes in tournament conditions if she can survive a two-round cut.
But with a Curtis Cup spot to fight for, and a host of potentially pivotal early season competitions up first, the 21-year-old’s putting thoughts of Georgia to the back of her mind.
“Obviously, it’s such a good opportunity and, since winning the Amateur in June, it’s been amazing. There’s the US Open as well,” she said. “I’ve got two great tournaments to look forward to next year but I’m just head down and concentrating on my winter training.
“I’m fairly good at almost disassociating what I’m doing now with those big tournaments. I just concentrate on what I’ve got to do as if it was the same this time last year.
“It’s in the back of your mind when you’re concentrating while you’re holing out from 8 foot and 4 foot: what it’s going to be like to be at Augusta National.
“(But) I’m fairly good at putting that to the back of my mind.”
She added: “You watch it on TV and it’s ‘you’re going to be there in a few months’.
“There’s a little bit of golf between now and then and I’ve got to concentrate on getting those tournaments sorted, but that’s in the back of your mind – Amen Corner – and just being able to go there and play that course that so many people want to go to. It’s so hard to get on and (it’s about) just grabbing the experience and opportunity.
“We’ve got 36 before then (at Champions Retreat) and we want to make the cut and go and play it in competition.”
Toy’s already lived the high life since her Amateur success at last season’s Evian Championship and Women’s British Open.
Both of those big events, particularly at Woburn where she played a practice round with defending champion Georgia Hall, have given her valuable experience.
“That’s only going to be beneficial,” Toy said. “It’s going to be overwhelming for all of us that are going. I’ve gained experience and understanding of how these tournaments run. It’s going to stand me in good stead.”
Up first may be a New Year trip to Australia, with a trip of early season championships – the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian – to also consider.
The lure of the Curtis Cup, at Conwy, means Toy is determined to fly out of the blocks, insisting she is not a lock for the GB&I team.
“It’s slightly different to the men’s where they play the Walker Cup at the end of the season. Winning the amateur would probably get you in to that but, because it was midseason, I don’t feel like my position is dead certain.
“I need to get off to a good start and it’s a clean slate.”