IT’S little wonder Gemma Batty is the envy of many young golfers.
The St Annes Old Links junior got a close-up view of world No.1 Luke Donald’s magnificent victory in the recent PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Gemma, a student at Myerscough College, had the honour of carrying the scoreboard for the final pairing in the tournament, getting a close-up view of her hero.
Gemma said: “I can’t really put into words what the weekend at Wentworth means to me.
“On the Sunday, which is the final day of the tournament, I was lucky to be chosen to carry the scoreboards for the tournament leaders, Justin Rose and Luke Donald.
“The job involves walking with the two leaders, who always go out as the last pairing, and carrying a large board with their current scores on for the benefit of the spectators.
“It meant I had the very rare opportunity to watch two of the world’s best golfers up close.
“The most incredible part of the whole day was watching them perform at the highest possible level under extreme pressure.
“There were thousands of people following the two players for the whole day, and to watch how they handle that pressure is something that will stick with me forever.”
It has made Gemma even more determined to succeed at her chosen sport.
She added: “Luke Donald was so precise with every shot.
“He was deadly focused and professional at all times while out on the course.
“Every shot was simply breathtaking to watch.
“He just seemed so calm – it was almost like the crowds weren’t there, and he was just playing a practice round.
“I learned so much from watching how he manages the pressure, and I’m going to try to replicate his level of focus when I play from now on.
“Hopefully one day it will be me at Wentworth fighting for the title on the final day.
“If I ever reach that level, I hope to be able to handle the pressure the way they both did.”
The whole experience was memorable for Gemma, but the best was left to last.
She said: “The best moment of the entire weekend was walking down the 18th hole with Luke Donald as he approached the final green.
“There were thousands of people lining the fairways, in the grandstands and everywhere you looked, as he approached the green.
“He casually waved to the crowd and it was as if there was no pressure at all on him.
“When he sunk the final putt to win the tournament, I started to walk off the green to get out of the way.
“This was when Luke turned round and walked towards me.
“He thanked me for my hard work and gave me the ball he’d used on the final hole. That memento means a lot to me.
“I feel very fortunate to be given the experience.
“These opportunities just don’t happen anywhere else, so I feel privileged to be studying at Myerscough College where these experiences are made possible to students.
“Lots of people at my home course told me they saw me on TV, which is really strange, but shows how lucky I am to have been given that opportunity”