There will be no shortage of nerves in the final few groups of the Worrell’s Women’s NSW Open when round three gets underway at Dubbo Golf Club tomorrow.
Of the top 10 players on the leaderboard, only three have ever won a Ladies European Tour event – and two of those belong to teenagers.
17-year-old Thai sensation Atthaya Thitikul has two LET wins (her first coming at the age of 14) while 19-year-old Indian left-hander Diksha Dagar has one win to her credit.
Camilla Lennarth, who is part of the group sitting in second place two shots behind Belgium’s Manon De Roey, owns the only other win, the 2014 Ladies Slovak Open.
Experience plays a funny role in golf and dealing with being in contention is something players can’t practise.
They can only learn how they respond (both physically and emotionally) by riding the roller coaster that is being near the top of the leaderboard late in a tournament.
This week’s event holds particular interest as the stakes are especially high for players at this level of the professional game.
For most in this week’s field money is a genuine concern and victory will be as important financially as for the confidence it will bring.
On paper, the two teenagers look to have an edge on their more experienced counterparts, and in particular, Thitikul who is almost universally expected to be a top 10 player in the world sooner than later.
However, as we saw at Bonville less than seven days ago, past performance does not always guarantee future success.
In that instance, the World’s 34th ranked player was in the final group Sunday for the third week in a row and – given her status in the game – it would have been sensible to assume she was the favourite.
Instead, 19-year-old amateur Steph Kyriacou rewrote the script with a performance for the ages and bested the highly regarded Ayean Cho by eight shots.
Tournaments can’t be won on Saturday, but they can be lost. The narrow fairways at Dubbo Golf Club will test the nerve – and patience – of every player in the field on day three, and for keen observers, it will be fascinating to watch.
The leaderboard seems likely to look completely different on Saturday evening than it does Friday. It’s just a matter of seeing how much different.