Coming off a maiden victory on the LPGA, many players would take some time off to enjoy the victory. But not Gemma Dryburgh. Last week, the Scot become a Rolex First-Time Winner at the TOTO Japan Classic and has since made a more than 14-hour journey to play in this week’s Pelican Women’s Championship presented by Konica Minolta and Raymond James. There’s no sense in cooling down if you’re hot, she believes.
“A lot of the girls asked me already, are you still going to play? I said, yeah, definitely, because I feel like I need to run with the momentum,” Dryburgh said on Wednesday. “Obviously still a little bit tired from the jet lag. Played nine holes yesterday and played in the pro-am today. Good to see the golf course… fresh course for us. But looking forward to it and if it's windy, I'm sure I can deal with that hopefully being from Scotland.”
For Dryburgh, the victory in Japan seemed like a long time coming. Even before her win, the 29-year-old said this was her best season on the LPGA Tour but one moment in particular stands out as a turning point. Her T5 finish at the 2022 Bank of Hope Match-Play Presented by MGM Rewards, where she got in as the first-alternate after a last-minute withdrawal, was that moment.
“Looking back at that it was kind of a season-changing kind of result, because I think that got me in The Open, the (AIG Women’s) Open, and got me into a few other things. Kind of bumped me up the CME quite a bit,” she said. “Obviously the start of that week I wasn't even thinking I was going to get in. I wasn't even going to maybe travel because it's such a limited field it's kind of unlikely that someone would pull out, so I'm so glad I did. That probably helped me get into Asia as well, that result. So might not even have been in Japan if I had not gone to Vegas. Who knows.”
Entering her last two events of the 2022 season as a first-time winner, Dryburgh doesn’t feel different. Though she expects she will when they call her name on the first tee when play begins at Pelican Golf Club.
“A couple of the players said, ‘Be prepared when they announce you and say LPGA winner when they announce you on the tee.’ That's going to give me goosebumps I think,” Dryburgh said. “I think I get a Rolex, too, which is pretty cool. Very excited for that.”