It wasn’t until 9 p.m. on Tuesday that Gemma Dryburgh found out she was in the field at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards, earning a late berth when Anna Nordqvist withdrew. While the odds seemed stacked against her, Dryburgh certainly rose to the occasion. After an opening loss to Cheyenne Knight on day one of group play, the 28-year-old Scot beat Chella Choi, 2 and 1, on Thursday and did the same to undefeated Gaby Lopez on Friday, finding herself in a playoff with the latter to decide who would move on to the Round of 16.
After Lopez came up just a hair short of the green, chipped it to 5 feet and missed the par putt, Dryburgh was left with a nervy 3-footer to move on to the weekend. She buried it in the heart of the cup to advance, something she wasn’t expecting at the start of the event.
“I had no expectations, to be honest, especially after losing my first match,” said Dryburgh who finished group play with two points total. “I was like, just try and make the most of it. But I knew I could still get into the round of 16 after two wins which I've done so I just kind of took that momentum. I think anything was a bonus. Getting into the event, I really wasn't expecting it so have to thank Anna Nordqvist for that.”
While she hasn’t found the form she’s looking for just yet this season, Dryburgh hasn’t missed a cut in six starts with a best finish of T21 at the Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America. She currently ranks sixth in Putting Average (28.78) and 12th in Driving Accuracy (82.61%), assets that are key around Shadow Creek and are sure to help her once again as she looks ahead to her match with Moriya Jutanugarn on Saturday.
“I've had a few low ones and kind of not strung four rounds together yet, but it's all been trending in a good direction,” said Dryburgh. “It’s the best start I've had to a season before, so just feel really confident.”