Turkish Ladies Open, Belek — They say you drive for show and putt for dough but a pro golfer knows you have to do both to survive. Just ask Rebecca Codd, the Irish tour pro who’s been battling to make the grade for 11 years.
With a two year old daughter at home and her husband Shane away caddying for a Colombian on the LPGA Tour, it’s a hugely difficult balancing act for the 34-year old Carlow native, who sometimes takes little Kate out on the circuit.
But she admits it’s also a wrench to even contemplate leaving the camaraderie and the competitive battleground of the Ladies European Tour as it battles for its place in the sun in the modern sports landscape dominated by football.
This week Codd is in Turkey for the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, which is running from Sunday to Wednesday for the firs time in an effort by the Ladies European Tour to attract live TV coverage at the time when there’s no men’s golf on TV.
Without live television, the LET has no chance of succeeding and Codd is convinced it has to work, even if she is miffed after seven three-putts mean she’s missed the cut by a single shot after rounds of 75 and 77.
So what if the Sunday-Wednesday starts mean some of the US based European stars can’t play.
“If we want this tour to grow, we can’t be worrying about people coming over from the US to play in a few events,” Codd says. "We have to do it with what we have got. The Ladies European Tour needs this exposure to grow the tour.”
It also needs characters like tournament leader Melissa Reid, the bubbly Scottish blonde Carly Booth, who is six behind, or 51-year old legend Dame Laura Davies, who fell nine behind Reid after a 77 yesterday.
As for Codd’s demise, it came down to one thing — putting.
“Putting was as struggle,” she sighed. "Pace putting. That's the way it goes, unfortunately. It's hard work. I’ve been on the LET for …. this is my 10th season and I’ve been a member for 11 years. I do enjoy it…. not so much today but I do love it…
"After I had my daughter Kate I thought I wouldn't play on tour again but after three or four months I felt I could tee it up again so I did. It takes a while to get back into the swing of it. The biggest mistake I made was taking pretty much a year off and getting back into competitive mode again was tough because you have fallen quite a bit behind.
"Diana Luna has two kids with her this week, one of them two and a half months old. But the competitive thing never goes away. After having Kate, I took a totally different outlook on golf. You don't want to miss cuts but before you got totally wrapped up in it all and you'd be absolutely livid. Now it is's like - it is what it is, just get on with it. I'm a bit more chilled."
Rebecca, now 34, is hugely grateful for sponsorship support from financial advisors SmartChoice.ie but with yet to be renewed, it's a precarious existence in a business where you need at least €30,000 to meet expenses before you even start.
Far from the stars of the PGA Tour, the vast majority of LET players pay for their own gear, though they can get decent discounts of up to 30 percent.
"A lot of the top players are not getting paid to use equipment and only a few might be getting bonuses," she explains. "Fifteen to 20 years ago they were paid to use equipment but not now, It seems crazy."
Titleist/Footjoy look after Rebecca for balls, gloves and shoes, which is a huge help but while it's tough to keep going, Rebecca admits the game holds its power over the players.
"It's almost like gambling, there is always that next game, that next event, that's what we all live for."
Leaving her two year old daughter Kate at home is the toughest aspect of the game but like most struggling tour players, she admits she's not being clinical enough on or around the greens.
"I am not converting enough," she says. "And then on top of that making stupid mistakes... Well not stupid but when an ordinary shot goes to 40 feet on these massive greens, you have a lot of really tough putts."
A total of seven three-putts over the first two rounds finally took its toll, leading to a missed but by a single shot.
"You end up grinding out pars and that's now how you want to be playing," she says.
The course clearly favours the long hitters, who are going into the greens with nine irons and wedges rather than six irons that are bounding on and running way to 40 feet or off the green for the shorter hitters.
"it was never my strength and I have worked and worked and worked but never pressed on. I have tried everything and different ways of practicing. It's the same story every week. Maybe it something in my head."
The presence of 39-year old Gwladys Nocera or 51 year old Laura Davies at the top of leaderboards tells Rebecca that age does not have to be an impediment to success. Men excel from 28-30 years of age but then they fade way by 40. With girls it's the opposite, the excel quite young and may be gone by their 30s. Others go on forever.
Keeping going is not a problem for Codd but she needs motivation and it's surprising to learn she's heard nothing from Olympics team leader Paul McGinley, possibly because at 673rd in the world, she's well behind world No 104 Stephanie Meadow or No 141 Alison Walshe, who is expected to declare for Ireland.
"I've love to play in the Olympics but I had a good start to the season last year and didn't seem to improve my world rankings," she says. "It's got me baffled."
Playing for Ireland with Hazel Kavanagh in the World Cup of Golf in South Africa remains the highlight of Codd's career and she's keen for more.
As for the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, she sees the Sunday to Wednesday schedule as a brilliant idea as it earns the tour live TV exposure on the Golf Channel and Sky Sports, which is the key to its survival.
Players like Melissa Reid are exciting to watch and she kept her overnight lead and moved three strokes clear of Scotland's Pamela Prestwell at halfway.
After opening with a career low, eight under par 65, she had a shaky start to the second round with a double bogey on the par-3 13th hole at Carya Golf Club, but she quickly recovered with birdies on the 14th and 17th holes. After a bogey on the par-3 second, she then stormed home with five birdies in her last six holes to post a 12 under par total.
After signing for a second round of four under par 69, Reid, who won the event at National Golf Club in 2010, said: “I just short sided myself on the par 3 13th and I misjudged the chip, so I was a little bit frustrated, but at the same time it gave me a kick up the bum.
"I played okay. I didn’t play great this morning, I feel fine now. I tried to stay patient because I knew that there were birdie opportunities out there. I knew at the start of the day that I wanted to get to 12 under so that was my goal the whole day.”
Reid’s opening round on Sunday was the first time she has played the course and the four-time LET winner revealed that the last time she skipped a practice round, at the Prague Golf Masters, in 2012, she won the tournament.
“I just rocked up to the event the day before, didn’t have a practice round and won, so it’s not turning out to be too bad,” Reid said. “I knew that on this course, it wasn’t necessary to have a practice round. You can’t play certain courses like Morocco without a practice round, as you need to try a few shots, but here, it’s all in front of you. It’s pretty wide, so you’re fine.”
Pretswell matched Reid’s opening round of eight under par 65 for the lowest round of her three-year professional career and moved into solo second position.
Ranked eighth on the current order of merit, Prestwell is on a roll after three top 10s and a top 12 from her first five LET tournaments this season and she had eight birdies in her flawless second round.
“Yesterday I played well but didn’t get my putts. Today I played some really solid golf and made quite a few birdies out there,” said Pretswell, whose father William is her regular caddie.
The 2012 GB&I Curtis Cup winner continued: “This is my third year on tour now so I feel a lot more settled and a lot of parts of my game have got a lot stronger. The last couple of seasons I’ve not been able to put four rounds together.”
A stroke behind Pretswell, Gwladys Nocera lies in outright third place on eight under par after registering a three under par 70, despite playing with a painful ankle injury.
Booth and Rebecca Artis are tied for fourth on six under par with the Scot thrilled after completing identical opening rounds of 70.
“It’s funny because both days I’ve had the exact same stats: 11 fairways, 14 greens and 30 putts,” Booth said. “I’m playing very steady and there were a lot of missed chances for birdie out there as well, but I’m hitting good putts.
"I think the course suits my game a lot. I’m feeling confident with my golf swing at the moment, I’m visualising the shots a lot better and the course suits me.”
Lucie Andre and Amy Boulden are tied for sixth, with last year’s Slovak Open winner Camilla Lennarth in eighth place.
Dame Laura Davies, who was a stroke off the lead after the first round, slipped back into a share of ninth place on three under par with nine other players after a second round of four over par 77.
Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, Carya Golf Club, Belek, Antalya (Par 73)
134 Melissa Reid (Eng) 65 69
137 Pamela Pretswell (Sco) 72 65
138 Gwladys Nocera (Fra) 68 70
140 Carly Booth (Sco) 70 70, Rebecca Artis (Aus) 69 71
141 Amy Boulden (Wal) 71 70, Lucie Andre (Fra) 71 70
142 Camilla Lennarth (Swe) 71 71
143 Georgia Hall (Eng) 72 71, Stacy Lee Bregman (RSA) 73 70, Chloe Leurquin (Bel) 70 73, Isabelle Boineau (Fra) 70 73, Vikki Laing (Sco) 73 70, Lynn Carlsson (Swe) 72 71, Beth Allen (USA) 72 71, Laura Davies (Eng) 66 77, Sally Watson (Sco) 72 71, Tonje Daffinrud (Nor) 75 68
144 Titiya Plucksataporn (Tha) 71 73
145 Liz Young (Eng) 71 74, Malene Jorgensen (Den) 70 75
146 Kylie Walker (Sco) 72 74, Melissa Eaton (RSA) 72 74, Lina Boqvist (Swe) 73 73, Marianne Skarpnord (Nor) 72 74, Klara Spilkova (Cze) 77 69
147 Virginia Espejo (Esp) 73 74, Nanna Koerstz Madsen (DNK) 72 75, Fabienne In-albon (Swi) 73 74, Lauren Taylor (Eng) 71 76, Laura Jansone (LVA) 76 71, Holly Clyburn (Eng) 73 74
148 Patricia Sanz Barrio (Esp) 74 74, Florentyna Parker (Eng) 73 75, Ursula Wikstrom (Fin) 72 76, Ssu-Chia Cheng (TPE) 75 73, Bree Arthur (Aus) 76 72, Emily Kristine Pedersen (DNK) 75 73, Csilla Lajtai-rozsa (Hun) 74 74
149 Maha Haddioui (Mar) 74 75, Daisy Nielsen (Den) 76 73, Ann-Kathrin Lindner (Ger) 76 73, Louise Stahle (Swe) 76 73, Maria Balikoeva (Rus) 73 76, Christine Wolf (Aut) 75 74, Caroline Afonso (Fra) 76 73, Caroline Martens (Nor) 69 80
150 Monique Smit (RSA) 75 75, Nicole Garcia (RSA) 75 75, Holly Aitchison (Eng) 75 75, Hannah Ralph (Eng) 74 76, Martyna Mierzwa (Pol) 73 77, Steffi Kirchmayr (Ger) 73 77, Miriam Nagl (Bra) 74 76
151 Marta Sanz Barrio (Esp) 78 73, Linda Henriksson (Fin) 72 79, Emma Westin (Swe) 78 73, Nina Holleder (Ger) 79 72, Sophie Sandolo (Ita) 74 77, Diana Luna (Ita) 75 76, Nicole Broch Larsen (Den) 80 71, Noora Tamminen (Fin) 69 82, Lien Willems (Bel) 72 79, Emma Goddard (Eng) 78 73, Stacey Keating (Aus) 77 74, Alex Peters (Eng) 75 76, Marion Ricordeau (Fra) 74 77, Stefania Croce (Ita) 77 74
Missed the cut
152 Sophie Giquel-Bettan (Fra) 74 78, Laura Murray (Sco) 72 80, Bonita Bredenhann (Nam) 74 78, Rebecca Codd (IRL) 75 77, Carin Koch (Swe) 79 73, Mireia Prat (Esp) 73 79
153 Elisa Serramia (Esp) 75 78, Amber Ratcliffe (Eng) 73 80, Sharmila Nicollet (Ind) 77 76, Mathilda Cappeliez (Fra) 77 76, Kelsey Macdonald (Sco) 77 76, Margherita Rigon (Ita) 75 78, Alexandra Vilatte (Fra) 73 80, Becky Brewerton (Wal) 80 73, Caroline Rominger (Swi) 76 77, Rebecca Hudson (Eng) 77 76, Connie Chen (RSA) 74 79, Anne-Lise Caudal (Fra) 77 76, Whitney Hillier (Aus) 74 79
154 Anna Christina Kindgren (Col) 79 75, Anjelika Hammar (Swe) 77 77, Minea Blomqvist (Fin) 73 81, Carmen Alonso (Esp) 79 75, Rebecca Sorensen (Swe) 76 78, Sophie Gustafson (Swe) 78 76, Anne Van Dam (Ned) 76 78, Louise Friberg (Swe) 76 78, Sarah-Jane Boyd (Eng) 77 77, Valentine Derrey (Fra) 77 77, Anais Maggetti (Swi) 77 77
155 Celine Herbin (Fra) 81 74, Sahra Hassan (Wal) 78 77, Paula Hurtado (Col) 78 77, Jade Schaeffer (Fra) 77 78
156 Heather Macrae (Sco) 77 79, Marika Voss (Fin) 77 79, Louise Larsson (Swe) 78 78, Linda Wessberg (Swe) 78 78, Eleanor Givens (Eng) 78 78
157 Linnea Strom (Swe) 77 80, Leigh Whittaker (Ger) 77 80, Isabella Ramsay (Swe) 80 77, Nina Muehl (Aut) 76 81, Emma Cabrera-bello (Esp) 78 79
158 Hannah Burke (Eng) 78 80
159 Charlotte Ellis (Eng) 76 83, Melanie Maetzler (Swi) 76 83, Laurette Maritz (RSA) 81 78, Stephanie Na (Aus) 82 77, Josephine Janson (Swe) 80 79
160 Georgina Simpson (Eng) 76 84, Trish Johnson (Eng) 72 88
163 Sena Ersoy (Tur) 86 77, Cathryn Bristow (Nzl) 81 82
164 Elina Nummenpaa (Fin) 83 81
169 Henni Zuel (Eng) 86 83